2 side by side pictures. Billy poses with Kirsten at Invictus San Diego, and Billy running his marathon.

How Billy Used Goal Setting to Crush the Chicago Marathon
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt & Kelly Sekulovski

It’s a new year, which means 365 days to establish and meet new goals that we set for ourselves. Whatever your goals may be: the simple act of setting a clear goal setting can help you achieve the results you are looking for. 

In this blog, we are going to talk about local Invictus athlete Billy’s success with accomplishing his goals in the Chicago marathon. But first, let’s talk about what to do and what NOT to do for goal setting. 

Common goal setting mistakes  

When you set a goal, are you being specific about your goal? Or are you generic in your goals, so that you can’t even tell if you accomplished them or not? 

Which goal sounds better and more measurable? 

a. I want to run faster. 

b. I want to run a mile in under 8 minutes by the end of next month. 

The obvious answer is B, the goal that established exactly how much faster, and the time frame that you want to accomplish this goal by. This gives you a concrete goal to train for, and therefore you are able to create a plan of how to get there. 

This is a great segway into introducing you to a SMART goal… 

SMART goals: the key to goal setting

When your goal is too broad to be useful, we can stray from the path to help us get there. This is why the S.M.A.R.T. goal format is used to set goals effectively. SMART stands for: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable 
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound 

Using our example from above, “I want to run a mile in under 8 minutes by the end of the month”, we can see if it is a SMART goal. 

  • Is it Specific? – Yes because we know exactly how far we are running and how fast we have to do it. 
  • Is it Measurable? – Yes because we can measure how far and how long it took us. 
  • Is it Achievable? – Yes, with 2 months to train and being in reasonably good shape beforehand, this is achievable.
  • Is it Relevant? – Yes, this will directly help you be a faster runner. 
  • Is it Time-Bound? – Yes, you have two months to achieve the goal. 

Let’s get back to Billy, as a great example for SMART goals. 

Meet Billy 

Meet Billy, who has been a member of Invictus San Diego for the past 8 months. Billy recently put up an impressive and inspiring performance outside of the gym, completing the Chicago Marathon in 2:43.43 (W-O-W!).

“It’s taught me a lot, and it continues to teach me,” said Billy when asked about what marathons have taught him about himself. “It sounds cliche, but your self-perceived limits can be overcome. Pushing the limits of my body and mostly, my mind.”

Billy’s Marathon Goal Setting

For most marathon runners, their goals are a great example of SMART goals. If Billy set out to train for his racing saying, “I want to run 26 miles in under 3 hours by my race in November,” this meets all the criteria for a SMART goal. Once Billy set his goal, he was able to create a plan to get him there, including his running outside of the gym and his training inside of the gym. 

Billy not only accomplished his goal, but his Chicago time qualified him for the Berlin marathon, one of the biggest marathons in the world. 

Use the FREE Invictus Goal Setting Guide 

Want more tips like this to help you set effective goals for 2024? Check out the Invictus Goal Setting Guide. It’s free and here as a tool to help you solidify your goals. Invictus Goal Setting Guide

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