With 2020 being a bit of non-starter in terms of racing for the majority of us we start to think about what events we will be targeting next year and what our goals might look like.
If like most, 2021 will likely be a cut and paste from what you planned for 2020 and all your goals shift by a year. However, should we just use the original goals we set or should we set new goals based on what we have learned through the last few months.
When thinking about goal setting we always hear the same - ‘The goals should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound) We often find this can often be difficult to define and we end up just focusing on the outcome goal instead of the smaller process goals.
If like most athletes your goals are dictated by a target time at your given event then we have some additional things you can consider to improve your goal setting
The first step is to determine what the goal looks like.
A lot of athletes often just say I want to be faster (never met anyone say ‘I want to be slower’) or the I just want to finish goal. (Anyone entered and event with the intention of not finishing?)
These are basic statements and not really goals, when an athlete says either of these the next question is usually - How much faster to you want to be or What time to you want to finish in?
When setting goals you should think of it like you are entering it into a satellite navigation system in your car.
🚕 You first need to enter the destination before it can plan a route.
🏠Ideally a post code with a house number the more details you enter the more accurate the route will be.
The destination you enter into the sat nav is your Goal(s) -
The finishing a marathon in under 4 hours 🏃♀️
Finishing an Ironman in under 17 hours 🏊♀️🚴♀️🏃♀️
Being able to swim 2000m in Open Water 🏊♀️
The aim of choosing a destination should be based on going on a journey that might seem a bit too far but one you're excited to make.
If your goal doesn’t scare you at least a little bit then you’re probably just planning to drive a route you already know.
This is the outcome goal. The goal that will be achieved if you follow all the right directions on the journey.
The next thing you need to consider is how will you get there?
You need to start working back from the destination and identifying when you will need to turn right, turn left. ⬅️➡️
- Each right and left turn are smaller parts of the overall plan that will get you to your goal and the types of things you’ll want to be able to do as you get closer to your destination.
Run a certain number of miles at MP 🏃♀️
Be able to cycle 100 miles or be confident in Open Water 🏊♂️
These are the process goals. The individual components required to achieve the outcome goal.
From here we continue to work backwards adding as much detail to where we need to be at each stage of the journey
Are you planning to make another stop on the way? (Other events) 🚉
What road works might you come up against? (Family or work commitments) 🚧
Will these require you to find an alternative road or will they just slow your progress for a period of time? 🕒
From previous experience of similar journeys are there likely to be pot holes on the road? (Injuries) 🏥
- What additional things can you do to know where they might be up ahead?
- Will you need to slow do for sections to avoid hitting one at 70mph (usually injuries have a few tell tales before they happen so learning to know what the symptoms are will help you slow down before you wreck the cars chassis that could lead to lost travel time or potentially stop you from getting to your destination completely)
Along the journey you’ll likely miss a couple of junctions that end up taking you slightly off course but it doesn’t mean you won’t still reach the destination by following a different route. Although the sooner you know you’ve ended up on the wrong route, the sooner you’ll be able to find the alternative one and sometimes the unplanned route get you to the destination faster than the original route would have. 🗺
Your motivation and willingness to train provide the fuel for the car to get you on the road and keep you heading towards the destination. Without the fuel the car won’t get far and you’ll never reach the destination so make sure the journey is one you are really excited to make and It’s a genuine goal that you want to achieve you won’t have to stop for fuel along the way. ⛽️
If you’ve not been doing much training due to not having an event in the diary and struggling to get yourself motivated. Now is the time to start charging the Sat Nav and start thinking about where you want it to take you. If you still can’t find the right destination just start putting some fuel in the car so when you find it, you can just jump in the car and start the joinery towards the goal!
One final thing to note, The journey is more important than the destination:
Even if the event doesn’t go ahead next year either, you’ll have gained more experience travelling on the journey and why its better to drive yourself there instead of relying on someone else to drive you!
So what goals are you driving towards in 2021?