Carissa Liebowitz running the Boston Marathon earlier this year. (Courtesy Carissa Liebowitz)

As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019, many of us are busily plotting and planning the months to come. Instead of resolutions each year, I like to set yearly goals.

These are things that keep me motivated throughout the year and are achievable, but require work on my part. I set 10 goals last year for myself and manage to knock off 5 of them.

Some might look at that success rate and be upset, but I see it as a way to keep growing and challenging myself:

1) Think short-term

It might feel overwhelming to set a yearlong goal, so start with something you can work on in the short-term. If your goal is to run 1,000 miles on the year, start with the goal of running 20 miles per week.

It will feel far less daunting (and face it, more achievable) and you’ll have a lot more wiggle room.

My goal: Stair-climber or vertical runs 4 times per month through May

2) Think long-term

Long-term goals are great too, especially if your shorter goals help to contribute to them. It gives you something to chip away at and something to look forward to achieving throughout the entire year.

My goal: 2019 miles in 2019

3) Think fitness

As runners, we often neglect things like strength, cross-training, or even other forms of exercise to complement our running program. However, these things not only are great for bodies, but good for our minds as well.

Whether it is rekindling the love for an old sport or finally getting a stretching routine to stick, “other” fitness goals are important too.

My goal: 60 minutes of strength, stretch, or cross-training per week

4) Think nutrition

Plenty of us run to eat. We finish a long run or a race and immediately reward ourselves with calories. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t ever enjoy it and celebrate, but we should be mindful of how often we are doing it. The weeks I make better choices are the weeks I have a plan and prep ahead of time.

My goal: 2 meal-planned weeks per month

5) Think community

If you are busy training and racing, you might not have given it much thought to give back to the community that supports runners. However, we all have an opportunity to support new runners by welcoming them to group runs, volunteering at races, picking up litter along our favorite routes, or simply smiling at fellow runners.

My goal: Volunteer, pace, or crew 10 times in 2019

6) Think achievable

I like to think of this one as the freebie space. Your goals should be achievable. If you just completed your first 5K this year, it is best to follow the natural progression of races rather than to aim for a 200 miler.

Maybe you have a really soft PR in a distance you haven’t raced in a long time. Maybe you are already signed up to do the goal and now it is just time to execute.

My goal: Set a PR in a less-than-a-marathon distance + Everest Marathon

7) Think BIG

This is the stretch goal. This is the one that you have been throwing around in your mind that you would really like to do, but you’re almost a little afraid to put it on paper.

The fun thing about thinking big is how even if you don’t achieve it right away, you often find yourself a little more confident because you think it might be a possibility.

My goal: Finish a 100 mile trail race + sub 3:10 marathon

8) Think non-running

I’m the first to admit that most of my goals over the past few years have pointed towards running.

However, in the spirit of staying as well-rounded as possible, I’ve tried to throw in other goals that *gasp*, have nothing to do with running.

You can include professional goals, financial goals, personal relationship goals, hobby goals, etc.

My goal: Read 30 books

What are your goals for 2019? Which ones are you most excited about and which ones will challenge you the most?


Carissa Liebowitz has run the New York and Boston Marathons as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.


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