As runners, there are many reasons why we all run; for fun, to improve our health or for competition. Each reason takes time and commitment. No matter what your expectations are for your running experience today, you should consider a plan. Planning can help you become a better runner because you learn how to set goals, create the steps to achieve them, and manage the time that it will take to get there. This can give you the opportunity to be better and try your best as you run. Thinking ahead is a huge part in accomplishing this success.


           There are many benefits to planning for the future. With planning, you will be able to schedule training runs, races, manage your time, and achieve your goals. All of these skills can make you a stronger runner. Being able to develop and utilize these skills can also help in your life. As a student, learning about time management and how to balance sports and homework are skills that are key to success in life, as well as your run.


            Joanna Zeiger, MS, PhD is an Olympic triathlete who initially thought swimming was her greatest athletic talent (she also qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon three times). However, over time she realized that swimming wasn’t the only sport she wanted to pursue. She dreamed of being an Olympic athlete. Through detailed planning, hard work, and determination, she made it happen by focusing on triathlons, something she was very good at. Zeiger also realized that she was a talented runner. This enabled her to achieve her goal and become a triathlete at the Olympic level.



         Zeiger planned, managed her time, and set goals to get to the Olympics. “Be prepared for anything and everything. Don’t sacrifice your academics for athletics. You can do both,” said Zeiger. She wants young runners to know that there may be roadblocks in your plans, but you can break through them.


         Setting goals and learning time management skills are essential for all athletes that want to strive for something bigger. “Being an athlete requires time, patience, and resiliency. There are lots of ups and downs and times when you think that the rough spots will never end – that is when perseverance and desire keep you going,” said Zeiger. “Every athlete who has accomplished a lot in their sport has stories about rough times.”


          These types of skills can also be an asset in your future. Planning goals today for a successful future tomorrow. You’ve heard that phrase, “Keep your eye on the prize” and that’s another way to think of sports. Remember your goals and never give up on yourself.


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