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Team goal setting 2020 - Ben

Following on with our series of articles on goal setting, here is Trail Running Scotland guide Ben’s goal planning.


I am very excited about 2020 and the list of races I am planning for this year! 

Races for 2020:

GBultras – Ultra Scotland 80km (May)
2560m total ascent

Seven Sisters Skyline Race Ireland 50km (August)
4000m total ascent

Salomon Glencoe Skyline Race Scotland 52km (September)
4750m total ascent

Garmin Mourne Mountain Skyline Race Ireland 35km (October)
3370m total ascent

Looking at this list, they all have a lot of total height gain, which immediately gave me a goal to aim for within my training; an increase in total uphill volume.  So from this, I decided to look back on the last 3 years of statistics to see how much I had done.  Below are my stats from 2017 – 2019:


Year Total Distance Total Time Total Elevation
2019 1,271.9km 149h 32min 29,190m
2018 1,385.8km 147h 38min 30,814m
2017 1,547.3km 147h 54 min 38,606m

Looking at my stats like this (which I think for me is good to do) made me realise how little I have actually done!  My yearly averages are: 1,401km, 148h and 32,870m.  This seems very little training effort, considering the total number of events I have completed over this time too.  But, working as a Mountaineering Instructor, doing big hills days carrying larger packs, has been a big addition to my training over the years.  However, continuing into the New Year with the races I have planned and specific goals in mind, this format of training won’t be enough!  So, with the above information laid out, how can I use this to create my 2020 goals?

As Ian has mentioned in his early write up, regarding effective goal setting, I can’t just say that “I want to be a better runner” in 2020!  I need to make my goals SMART.  So here goes!


As mentioned above I want to increase my total uphill volume for the year.  From averaging 32,000m a year, I aim to total 80,00m for 2020. Another goal for the year is to train to compete in the races, rather than training to run them. I would consider myself to be a mid-pack runner and have never really pushed hard to finish within the upper ends of a race. This year, I would like to aim for a top 20 finish in 1 of the races.  So, in order to do this I will need to incorporate more speed workouts and hill repeats in my training.


How to measure all this then?  Using a GPS watch and a recording platform, such as Strava, is a great way to keep track of mileage and volume. Within the next 5 months, I aim to have 30,000m height gained to be on track for the yearly target. 

To measure my speed, I have several running routes close to home that work well to keep track of times. To measure this further I have other stats for distances that I can aim to improve, which I have outlined below:

Distance Best time Time to aim for
1k 3:15 3:00
1mile 5:28 5:00
5k 19:12 19:00
10k 41:58 39:00
Half-Marathon 1:38.22 1:30:00


Is it all achievable?  Yes, I certainly think that improving my times for the above distances are but, gaining 80,000m for the year I’m unsure but, I am going to give it my best go and see how far I get.


Having a good base level of strength and power from the last few years of training and the experience and knowledge of how to train effectively, I feel that these goals are realistic for me.  The important aspect is not to do too much too soon!  Building up to higher mileage weeks and doing speed sessions/hill repeats 1 to 2 times per week will work.

I am excited about the challenges my goals present and want to dedicate myself to making it happen.


At present, it is hard to put specific times on the goals as I am often doing big winter hill days and fitting runs and training in between so, I will review my progress at the end of March and if necessary, restructure training to work for the lead up to my first race in May.

I wish you all the best on your goals for the year ahead and hope that you see the benefits from your SMART goal setting!


Read more about effective goal setting

Read more about Ian's goal setting for 2020 



Reaching your goals may also be easier with some training, we have a variety of courses available and also can arrange bespoke training to help you meet any goal.

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