Half-Marathon Tip #17: Be a Perfectionist

Whether it's your first race or your 50th, this expert advice will help get you across the finish line faster, happier and healthier. Check back weekly between now and race day (April 3, 2011!) for a new installment.

MORE.com Health Editors
woman winning first place image
Photograph: TommL

Set Lofty Goals
If you want to race well, don’t settle for anything less than your best, say British researchers. They found that triathletes who set ambitious goals and strived to beat their competition completed an Olympic-distance race faster than those who set more conservative goals and/or just tried to avoid doing worse than their competition. The same held true over the course of a season, with the more aggressive goal setters achieving better results. In a follow-up study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, researchers said: Adopting a positive perfectionist attitude gives athletes an additional motivational boost to do their best, focus on performance-approach instead of performance-avoidance goals, set challenging personal goals and thus achieve better results. When thinking about an upcoming race, shoot for a fast finishing time, a high ranking and to do better than everyone else on the course.

Next Tip: Start Your Pre-Race Prep Early

Previous Tip: Speed Post-Run Recovery

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First Published March 21, 2011

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