5 Exciting Running Goal Ideas That Aren’t Races

crop unrecognizable sportswoman stretching legs in gym

Since the start of the pandemic, most races have been canceled. I used to use races as my main motivation for running. I would sign up for a race, create a training plan for myself, and training for the race would help me to stay on track with my runs. Once COVID hit, all of my races were canceled and I had to quickly get creative to find new ways to keep motivated and set some new running goals.

What I have come to learn is that I don’t need to have a race on my calendar all the time to stay motivated to run. There are many other ways to keep running fresh, exciting, and fun!

Here are a few of my favorite running goals that aren’t races:

Run a Mile Without Stopping

This is my favorite goal for beginner runners. When someone starts running for the first time, this is the first big goal that can be easily attained. Once a newbie achieves this goal, it becomes much easier for them to add distance and achieve bigger goals.

I am currently coaching a few brand new runners, and helping them to achieve this milestone has been extra exciting since we all have to cross this first hurdle (which sometimes feels impossible for brand new runners!)

Run for a Charity

I love the idea of running for a greater purpose. Helping other people who are less fortunate is a great way to stay motivated to run. Rather than focusing on a race, you can focus on raising money for the cause. Knowing that you are running for a special cause will make your runs so much more meaningful and special.

Here is a list of mental health awareness charity walks and runs!

Do a Run Streak

Run streaking is becoming increasingly popular. Run streaking means running every day for a set period of time. The goal could be to run at least 1 mile every day for a month, or something similar. The thing that I like about a run streak is that it’s really good for creating a consistent running habit.

The thing that can be a bit trickier is making sure you’re not over-exerting yourself. I am a big advocate of rest days and I think they’re important. If you are doing a run streak, you should be sure to keep some of your runs very easy, make sure you’re resting between runs, and make sure you don’t overdo the mileage.

Run a Faster Mile

For the more advanced runner, a fun running goal could be to run a faster mile. The mile is short enough that it shouldn’t take too long to trim a bit of time off of your mile PR (personal record).

You can do this by practicing interval training, building endurance, and increasing stride turnover. You could also add more strength training to your routine or practice running hills to improve your mile time.

Aim to Do a Certain Amount of Miles in One Month

Another exciting running goal that you can aim for is doing a certain amount of miles in one month. This gives you some flexibility about how many miles you run at a time, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.

Depending on how many miles you typically run per month, you can add 10%, which should be an attainable and healthy goal. Example: If you usually run 50 miles per month, you can set a goal to run 55 in the next month!

Run in New Places

Running in new places can make your runs more fun and interesting. I love exploring new places when I run. Running in new cities is one of my favorite things about going on vacation.

You could set a goal to try running in a new place each week. This will help you to spice up your runs, keep them fun and interesting, and also explore new places in your city or town!

What are your favorite running goals that aren’t races?

You May Also Be Interested In:

How to Start Running When You’re Out of Shape

Advice for Running Your First Half Marathon

How to Make Treadmill Running Less Boring

5 Exciting Running Goal Ideas That Aren’t Races


  1. Whew, I’m glad run streak isn’t what I first thought! Great post!

  2. I’ve also had to get creative and find other ways to stay motivated this past year! I did a run streak last October which was fun. I’e also done some training for shorter distances and run them virtually.

  3. These are all great goals!

    I have definitely found a few new places to run. I’d love to find even more!

    And that’s one good thing about virtuals — raising money for charities.

  4. Running for a charity really does make a difference!
    I’ll be starting a 10k training program with the Garmin virtual coach soon. I did the 5k distance last year using it and it’s great fun.

  5. Really great tips! I have had running mileage goals and that has worked well for me in these pandemic times! I haven’t tried a streak in years, but they are so inspiring!

  6. I have definitely had to get more creative the past year. I most likely won’t have a real race until September. I have been enjoying challenging myself to get more miles in the past few months. It feels good!

  7. I do like to set a monthly mileage goal–last year it was 100 miles per month. I haven’t done it this year–I guess I need to get on that, lol

  8. Great suggestions…you just gave me the idea to (maybe) do 1-mile time trials on a weekly basis. I don’t have any major races on the calendar at the moment, and won’t be starting my 26.2 training until June. Why not have a little fun in the mean time ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Yes, we have to be creative! My husband did a run streak during the pandemic and it really helped his running a lot. He just did an easy mile on days that he normally would have taken off, and it got him used to exercising more.
    These are all great ideas!

  10. You’re so right! Running in a pandemic has forced us to dig deep and get creative without the usual races to keep us motivated! I think I should try running a faster mile time! I haven’t tried that in a long while!

  11. These are great ideas. I have done all of them since last March except for the timed mile. Might have to try that one soon. I love your posts!

  12. I love all these great goals! While races are fabulous, there are so many ways to challenge ourselves!

  13. Mileage goals have always worked well for me, especially since I prefer mileage over speed. Although I did run a timed mile during the pandemic which was fun!

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