Pro-Tips is a series of articles directly from the pros. Tips from the mouth of the athletes who have reached the pinnacle of the sport. With tips of every kind, this article series is intended to help enlighten everyone on what it is the pros do that help set them apart.
Miles Batty on Setting Goals
Miles is from Sandy Utah and went to Jordan High school. Miles is an NCAA Champion and NCAA Indoor Mile record holder. He was also 8-Time All-American while at BYU and went to the Olympic trials in the 1500m. He currently is sponsored by Asics Shoe Company. In order to accomplish so much he relied on setting goals and working towards them.
1. Why do you think goal setting makes a difference in your running?
The two primary driving forces that we have in our lives are fear and desire. We should always try to be motivated by desire and not by fear. By setting measurable goals, we are essentially communicating our desires to ourselves and allowing those desires to motivate us. If we do not set goals for ourselves, we are either a) allowing ourselves to be motivated by nothing at all or b) allowing ourselves to only be motivated by the goals other people have for us (family, coaches, teammates, etc). Being motivated by the goals that other people set for you often leads to fear of disappointing them, and fear is a bad motivator. I think that setting goals is essential so that we can focus on achieving what we want to accomplish rather than just avoiding failure.
2. How do you decide what a realistic goal is?
To me, there are goals and there are dreams. I have always dreamed of accomplishing many great things since I very first started running (like running in the Olympics or becoming an All-American.) But to me, a goal is something that you truly believe is possible and you are willing to commit yourself to. It is something that you know that you can do as long as you do everything necessary and everything falls into place. I had dreamed of winning a National Championship, but I never actually set that as a solid goal until about two months before I did it. Up until that point I had too many other goals that I felt I needed to accomplish (breaking 4:00 in the mile and making BYU’s top 10 list) before I could consider winning a national title. Dream big, but keep your goals within your reach.
3. How do you keep focused on that goal while training?
I am a big day-dreamer. I believe that the best way to stay focused on a goal is to visualize yourself accomplishing that goal as often as possible. When I’m out on a training run, I often start thinking about races that I’ll be running. Before I know it, I’m playing out the race in my head and just pretending that I’m accomplishing exactly what I want to do. (Just be careful because your pace will almost always speed up!) Also, only envision yourself accomplishing good things! Never think about yourself having a bad race or starting to get passed.
4. Do you set smaller goals to work towards a bigger goal?
Absolutely! Anytime I set a big season goal, whether it be a time goal or a place goal at a championship meet, I also make a list of all the little things that I know that I will need to do if I want to achieve my goal. I always think of the things that I know that I can be doing better (such as stretching more, doing more core, eating healthier), and I write them down next to my main goal. Doing this helps me to see that doing the little things will help me to achieve my big goals.
5. Do you have any current goals that you’re working towards?
I always have goals that I’m working towards! However, as I explained before, I think its important to be motivated by your own expectations for yourself and not the expectations that others have for you, so I don’t think its a good idea to share all of your goals with others. Sometimes I feel that doing so makes you more fearful of not accomplishing your goals rather than filled with desire to accomplish them! But a goal that I have every season is to set PRs in my main events. Since becoming a professional runner I have also made a goal to use all of my time to make sure that I am constantly and consistently doing things that will help me to become a better athlete.
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