Neil Featherby: Big or small... never underestimate the importance of a goal

Kathryn Hammond Sportlink

Kathryn Hammond recently completed her virtual Land's End to John o' Groats challenge. Picture: Kathryn Hammond - Credit: Kathryn Hammond

A good friend of mine who recently started a new job which carries a lot of responsibility, told me that he was struggling to find motivation with his running.  

“It doesn’t surprise me one bit,” I said. “You have just started a new job and your focus is very much on that.” 

However, I also went on to say just how important it is for all of us to have goals in life.  

With regards to his running, I told him to just be very realistic and whilst it would be good to have a long-term aim, he should also look to set himself weekly and monthly challenges which he knows he should be able to complete. 

Whilst real competition is thankfully now on so many people’s radars again, it also seems that virtual challenges are very much here to stay as well. 

They have been a bit of a life saver during the last year what with giving so many people an opportunity to focus their minds on what is in reality a mental challenge just as much as it is physical.  

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

Sports psychologists will always mention how powerful visualisation can be when it comes to future performance for which virtual racing has certainly helped people discover just what visualisation really is all about. 

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Our Kathryn Hammond at Sportlink recently completed her Lands End to John O’Groats Virtual Run whilst our Pete Johnson has signed himself up for what is the Route 66 Virtual Challenge. 

Kathryn, whose challenge of running 874 miles took her six months to complete, told me that having this imaginary goal was just what she needed to stay motivated and get out on the tracks and trails close to her home in Drayton.  

However, and here really is the best bit, she completed the last two miles of her journey with her 74-year-old mum which made it even more special for her. 

Pete, who just about every runner from within the Norfolk running community knows, has completed several virtual challenges which he has set himself since the first lockdown back in March of last year.  

This next one though will mean covering a staggering total of 2,300 miles.  

“I summoned up the courage to enter this challenge of what is known as the mother road in America finishing at Santa Monica Pier in California, albeit virtually of course,” he said. He has given himself 18 months to complete it and, in his words: “barring any setbacks, I should come in under budget.” 

If I know Pete, he will, but needless to say it is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to not putting yourself under any unnecessary pressure.   

We still have a way to go before we can all get back to what we can consider normality again, but one thing that is for sure, we must never lose sight of having goals and targets in our lives as that really is the key to staying motivated.