At the start of this new year, Saucony Hurricane Tom Marshall tells us about his success and why he feels that goals are an important part of training for anyone.
All athletes should set themselves goals. It improves motivation, and can fuel that fire through the difficult times (being British, that's very much all of the winter).
These goals should be both short term, and long term. An example of a short term goal for myself this winter, is to get through all 3 months without an injury or illness. It's a simple, yet effective short term goal that will aid my long term goals through allowing a better engine to be built.
These short term goals don't necessarily boost your motivation or confidence in a big way, but they're nice little check lists to tick off through the season.
Just as importantly then, there are your long term goals. I have 5. Admittedly, these goals have slightly changed over time, largely to make them more difficult, but they have not changed for around 6-7 years now.
For nearly 11 years I've been putting my body through its paces, pushing boundaries that become more difficult by the day, forcing motivation during the darkest of times and battling every element that nature can throw at me. All so I can achieve 5 goals. All so that when I retire, I can say that I gave it my best shot. All so that I can hopefully say, I achieved my goals.
Up untill December 2017, after 10 years of trying, I had achieved one. A sub 4 minute mile - a dream come true. There can be no doubt about that in February 2017 in Athlone, Ireland the emotions were there for all to see. When you achieve a goal that you have worked so hard for, it becomes overwhelming, but in an exceptionally good way. It makes it all worthwhile. All those hours, all the pain, all the lows.
That all changed in December 2017; I received the phone call that I had dreamed of. Achieving my second goal of wearing a Great Britain vest was on the end of the line. At 28, I was questioning if this would ever be the case, but it came, and once again, the emotions were clear. It made 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears worthwhile. I can finally say, dream number 2 achieved and long may that dream continue.
So here is my advice; set those goals, and keep pushing to achieve them. It'll make the sport that much more beautiful.
3 goals to go...