This past Monday, the running of the 116th Boston Marathon was held. Unlike the race most years, this year it was unseasonably hot. a sunny day with over 70 degrees at the start line and temperatures climbed to mid-80s during the race. While this may seem like fine weather for a day at the beach, it is far too hot to run a race safely. Warm weather starts to become a factor in running performance with temperatures as low as 50 to 60 degrees.
The threat of heat stroke and related ailments was so high on this day that the organizers of the marathon urged people to not run. They even offered registered runners a deferment to run the marathon the following year—something they don’t normally allow. But most athletes who run the Boston Marathon don’t wake up one morning and decide to do it—they have trained for months, perhaps years for the event. So putting it off until the next year, or deciding to jog it instead of race it, is a tough decision to make.
Faced with these conditions, the vast majority—but not all—of the runners decided to give up on shooting for a personal best and simply enjoy the experience with the goal of finishing healthy. As I was reading their race reports, I found myself focusing on their decision-making process in taking such a risk and started wondering… how do we (or how should we) decide when stick to our goal and when to adjust a goal?