Multi-level Goals

During the 2013 Sydney Marathon, as I was sitting down between the 27th and 28th km trying to calm down my breathing at an aid stop, it dawned upon me the importance of multi-level goals. Here I was, with another 14kms to go in a Marathon, no chance of hitting my target goal of a PB, so what was I running for? I asked the aid worker what my options were… I’m not sure if I fully comprehended his response, but I think it went something along the lines of walking to the nearest bus stop. Thinking that getting PT (Public Transport) back home from Centennial Park was probably going to take about the same amount of time as finishing the race, I plodded on. I ran/walked the rest of the way, reluctantly grabbed my finisher’s medal and t-shirt. 

Looking back, it’s still my slowest marathon time but I learnt a very valuable lesson from the experience. From now on, each race that I run, I set a series of goals. The danger with having one sole goal is that if the goal becomes unobtainable during the race, you still need something driving you to finish. At the end of the day, finishing any race is at the end of a day a massive achievement. The longer the distance, the greater the risk that something won’t go right, could be the weather, could be your body, could be something completely out of your control.

For example, for my next marathon, my goals will most likely look like:

  1. PB
  2. < 4hrs
  3. Finish the marathon, collect the medal and the t-shirt (you bloody paid for it)

Even obtaining goal no 3 is important for me, as my next marathon will be my 6th one, a number I definitely didn’t think I would even come close to. So next time, when setting your goals for a race, have a think about setting multilevelled ones, to avoid disappointment on race day!


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