We are all setting goals for ourselves, sporting or otherwise and whether it is to complete a 5 or 10km race or to go under 8 hours for an Ironman. You are much more likely to reach your goal if you plan how you are going to achieve it and execute that plan
Like New Year resolutions its all too easy to lose your way if all you decide is that that you are “going to do something”. Goals are best divided into Short, Medium and Long Term goals. each of which ideally improves the chances of reaching the others. Adding accountability of achieving those goals increases the chances of success
An example of a short term goal would be to “complete a specific training session or block of sessions as prescribed or planned”.
A Medium goal might include a race as a stepping stone – “to complete a 5km in 35 minutes before 1st June”
Your long term goal might be your target event or even longer ” to qualify for Kona by 2020″
Anyone who has come within 100m of a management consultant or who has run a business is likely to have come across a “SMART” goal and it’s variants – which are many!!
If you are not familiar Goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timed.
It also helps to think in terms of “What, How, and When.”
As an example I am aiming to complete IM 70.3 Weymouth within 5:30 or less (5:00 would be brilliant but I have to question myself as to whether this is “Attainable” this year) so we have:
Specific: IM 70.3 Weymouth
Measurable: 5:30 target
Attainable: This represents going about 20 minutes faster than last year and would put me higher up the Age group rankings but not the winner in my AG so its within possibilities with consistent training. 4:30 is sadly beyond my capabilities!
Relevant: This is more applicable to interim short and medium term goals, so diving to 10 metres would not help the main goal while competing in an Olympic distance Tri would.
Timed: I have to prepare to do this by 23rd September 2018.
How do we do this? This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but hopefully contains some good ideas.
PLAN! You will need a training plan, from a coach, from the Internet, from a book etc. Most importantly in my view work training times into your life, not the other way round and select a plan you can achieve. Coaches will do this for you, be careful with generic plans as continually failing to complete sessions is demotivating and could damage your chances of success. We have recently helped a young lady who was trying and consistently failing to keep to an unsuitable training plan sent out by a race organiser. Rather than her stressing about getting further behind we got her to look at where she is now and redrew the plan in a more achievable way.
Put training into the diary to set time aside for it, liaise with other family members or employers where possible to keep to your allotted times. If there is a set time you are much more likely to complete the session.
Be flexible as your goals may well have to shift during a season to adapt to changes in your availability, injury, illness, or other factors outside your control. There is nothing to be gained by stressing about something you can’t change so adapt, reset and go forwards again!
Make your goals public and the specifics of them too. Tell your friends, family, social media. “I’m going to complete an Ironman” is easily lost and forgotten and has an unsaid “sometime”. “I’m going to do Ironman Bolton on 18th July” is not. Accountability is a wonderful motivator.
Be realistic, completing an Ironman as your first ever triathlon is possible but not the best way to go about it, you will need to set aside large chunks of time and if you don’t have it or a solid endurance base already then you may be dooming yourself to failure.
Know HOW you are going to go about it and what you need to do. Does your chosen event have cut off times?That should be your first focus. So swimming must be better than 3:30 per 100m for a Half Iron Distance race – suddenly you have a medium term target! You will need to cycle at least better than 13mph on average over 56 miles, if you can’t do that yet then there is a focus to work on. you need to be fit enough to complete a half marathon in the time left after everything else.
A more experienced athlete can look at specifics. Where can improvements be reasonably made and what are your “limiters”?
Build enough rest and recovery into your training blocks, you need to allow yourself to adapt to the training, and to be able to complete later training sessions competently.
Train with others where possible, especially those slightly faster than you. again accountability and peer pressure can help you stick to the plan. Choose carefully however as not keeping up with others can also be demotivating.
Be “present’ and focussed on training not your iPod, work problems or what you’re having for dinner. have a goal or purpose for each session and try not to waste time and energy on “junk miles” just because you think you should be doing more, but, don’t stress about the odd missed or curtailed training session as they don’t matter in the long term, however it is important that sessions are completed where possible.
it is likely that you will suffer illness and injury along the way, don’t try to train through it as the chances are that you will have to take more time off as a result.
I recently heard this analogy from the great Malcolm Brown who worked with the Brownlees amongst others.
“Training is like building a brick wall, you need to focus on placing each brick while not losing sight of the end goal of building the wall in the shape you desire. It doesn’t matter if the odd brick is missing or misplaced but too many missing and the wall will fall down”
1st February 2018
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