Setting running goals around specific running targets is a great way to ensure that you actually achieve them. Here are 11 milestones for runners to work toward -- from beginner to expert level.
#1 Finishing Your First 5K
A 5K is the best distance for your first race. Not sure how to begin training? We recommend using an app that’s created specifically for newbie runners called Couch to 5K. This popular program incorporates interval training for 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week over 9 weeks.
Related: Seven Running Tips for Beginners
#2 Your First Blister
Think of your first blister as a right of passage, in a sense. After your first one, you’ll likely take steps to keep blisters to a minimum.
One of the best ways to prevent blisters is to wear shoes that fit well. As you may already know, shoes that are too small can cause blisters. On the other hand, running shoes that are too roomy allow your foot to move around more than necessary, causing shear force or rubbing. According to LiveStrong.com, “When standing in your shoes, there should be a thumb's width of space between the end of your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. You should be able to wiggle your toes.”
ProTip: Keeping short, neatly trimmed toenails can also help you prevent blisters :)
#3 Your First Streak
A streak means running on consecutive days for a certain period of time, without a break, for example 20 or 30 days. Runner’s World often hosts streaks that you can participate in. According to their website, “to be considered part of the #RWRunStreak, all you need to do is run at least a mile day”.
Overall, streaks are also a great way to switch things up and challenge yourself.
Related: 10 Boredom Busting Tips for Runners
#4 Joining Your First Running Group
Running doesn’t always have to be about hitting personal bests. It can be a great way to socialize, meet new friends and get to know your community. You can check out different MeetUp groups or see if there’s a local running group in your area. If there isn’t one yet, then you could consider organizing your own club.
Related: 15 Reasons to Start Running Today
#5 Your First Pair of Compression Socks
As you start to get more serious about running, you’ll quickly learn the benefit of investing in the right gear to ensure optimal performance and prevent injury. Compression socks meet these criteria and then some. In fact, anyone can wear compression socks to promote recovery, reduce swelling, prevent leg fatigue and lessen the appearance of varicose veins.
The best part? You don’t have to go with drab and dull when it comes to compression socks. At Crazy Compression, we have lots of styles to fit your unique personality. You could be superhero in our Captain America socks, feel groovy with our Tie Dye Collection or show off your roots with our State Collection.
#6 Running Your First 10K
Now that you have some running experience under your belt, it’s time to level up! While training for your first 10k is certainly physically challenging, it can also be emotionally tough because your mental focus will be put to the test.
Related: 20 Motivational Running Quotes
#7 Achieving a Negative Split
A negative split the key to pacing a perfect half marathon or any race longer than 15 minutes. A negative split refers to running the second half of your race faster than the first. By conserving your energy during the early part of your race, you’ll be able to finish strong. We recommend wearing a fitness watch to track your speed and ensure that you’re not going out to fast at the beginning of your race.
Related: Five Books Every Runner Should Read
#8 Your First Trail Run
Unlike running on a flat road, nearly every foot strike is different than the last on a trail run, helping to prevent overuse injuries which occur due to repetitive micro-trauma to the tendons, joints and bones
In addition, running on uneven surfaces helps you to use muscles you might not normally engage such as your core and lateral stabilizing muscles.
#9 Running 30 Miles in a Week
If you’re ready to begin preparing for longer races, then you should aim to rack up between 30 and 40 miles per week. But, be sure to work up to this level. Always follow the 10 percent rule which means that you should never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent each week. This will give your body time to adapt and also helps you to prevent injury.
#10 Running Your First Sub-7 Minute Mile
Once you’ve become a consistent runner, the next step will likely be to focus on increasing your speed. Incorporating cross training into your routine is a great way to help improve efficiency, add more strength and become a faster runner. This is because cross-training allows runners to engage in “active recovery” -- easy to moderate level exercise such as swimming or indoor cycling that repairs the muscles so you can run better the next time you hit the pavement.
#11 Completing Your First Half-Marathon
Now that you’ve completed several 5k and 10k races, you might be ready to make the leap to half-marathon status. Our best advice? Set small goals. For example, instead of focusing on 13.1 miles all at once, breaking this distance up into more manageable chunks s e.g. two 4 mile runs and one 5.1 mile run. That way, you’ll feel less overwhelmed as you begin to prepare for this new challenge.
Now, it’s your turn! Let us know which of these running milestones you’ve accomplished so far and which ones you plan to achieve in the next 6 months. Leave a comment below or join or community Instagram and Facebook.