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Get SMART with your race training

THIS week's slice of advice is about setting goals for ourselves. With the Flora Women's Mini Marathon, it's quite simple. There are 13 weeks left until the big day. That means there are 13 delicious little slots that you can divide out into different stages of your goal.

People who run businesses, carry clipboards and eat their lunch at their desk are most likely already familiar with S.M.A.R.T. For your benefit, and mine let me explain. SMART goals are a method of creating goals that are:

* Specific

* Measurable

* Achievable/


* Realistic

* Time bound

SpecifiC: There's no point in blithely saying: "Someday I'll run a marathon." Without going all Oprah Winfrey on you, you need to decide exactly what it is that you're planning on doing.

For instance: "I'm going to eat healthier at least once a day and I'm going to go mini marathon training three times a week" is a damn sight more specific than: "I'm going to look like Giselle on 2 June."

MeasurablE: Do a nice chart (colour-coded if you like, just to remind you of making study charts when you were in school!). Decide week by week with the help of the training plan on the official website, just how far you will be able to walk/jog/run each advancing week.

Achievable: If you haven't put on runners since your first year in school, you are not likely to be able to do 10km without breaking a sweat. You'll also get disillusioned quickly and give up. Find a friend who wants to do the race too and encourage each other on those days when the lure of the EastEnders omnibus on the couch is just too strong.

Realistic: If you don't have a spare minute in the day, there's no point in saying you're going to turn into Britney Spears and do 2,000 sit ups a day.

Time bound: NOBODY PANIC! It's only 13 weeks away and there are loads of training guides and trackers on www.florawomensminimarathon.ie. Check out the Training section for more tips and tricks to help you prepare for the big day.