I have a very good friend, who has trained faithfully for each of the 21 marathons he's entered over past 16 years. He has a chronic fault: by setting high expectations for himself on race day, he falls short most of the time and ultimately comes away feeling like a failure. Perhaps the lesson here is that a marathoner should actually establish 3 goals leading up to race day.
The first goal is a bottom-line result; for many, this means purely finishing.
The second goal is a time you would be reasonably satisfied with, based upon your current fitness level.
The third goal would be obtainable if all the conditions are favorable race day and everything comes together for a breakthrough effort. It could be a PB, or if you're a veteran of the sport, your fastest finish time since turning 40.
After months of valuable training, setting only one goal can put a marathoner in a no-win situation. Give yourself the opportunity to collect 1, 2 or even 3 goals on race day.
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