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Goal Setting

Goal Setting

Originally posted October 31st, 2018. Updated November 12th, 2019.

Goal setting begins the planning process towards your next season. Organizing your thoughts and creating a formal written outline of what direction you want to go with your training, fitness and competitive results is a key piece of the Mental Fitness puzzle. If you don’t know what you want to achieve… then how do you know what you need to do to get there or if you are making progress in the right direction along the way?

Going beyond simply thinking about what you want to achieve and further developing a strategy on how you are going to achieve is the process of setting goals.

The idea of setting goals is something many people are familiar with, but few take the time to formally address. It can be difficult for some athletes to write down goals. However meeting your goals is often more difficult if they are not written down in the first place. Once you have decided upon your goals, take it a step further and write out exactly how you plan to meet those goals (use a pencil here because you may change things a bit as you discuss with your coach or support structure). If you’re not sure of exactly how you are going to meet your goals, obtaining direction from a coach, or friend, can help you talk it out and make the right decisions. Knowing what you want is one thing, but outlining a plan that gets you from where you are now with your physical and mental abilities to where you want to be is what makes goal setting an effective tool in your mental fitness tool box. 

Goal setting is a multi step process that is extremely valuable for all athletes. The following are some helpful steps and techniques you can implement to help make your own goal setting more effective.

Long-Term Goal Setting

Long-term goals are goals for the more distant future. Think about not just your upcoming season goals, but goals for 1 year from now, 2 years from now, and 5 or more years from now. Think about where you would like to be in terms of your personal fitness level and competitive accomplishments. Be sure to make your goals challenging enough to push yourself while keeping them realistic and attainable. Be as specific as possible.

Long-term goals are often more outcome oriented. Thinking about specific results in events (ie. “podium at Nationals”), progress made in your fitness in terms of training volume or power measurements, and/or specific events to participate in (ie. World Championships). These are big-picture goals that give you something to work towards over the long-haul of your training program.

Then once you have your 1-5 year long-term goals completed, have fun and think of your “Dream Goal.” This is one that is set so high that achieving it is unlikely, but not impossible. 

Long-Term Goal Worksheet:

What would you like achieve this up coming season?

    1.  
    2.  
    3.    

2-4 years from now?

    1.  
    2.  
    3.  

5 or more years from now?

    1.  
    2.  
    3.  

“Dream Goal”   

_________________________________________

Short-Term Goal Setting

Short-term goals are goals set for as short as a week and up to a year in the future. These are the goals that really hold you accountable to your training and lifestyle. They are also the goals that fuel your daily training efforts as you put the effort in to attain these goals every few weeks. Short-term goals should be as specific and quantifiable as possible. Try to set goals that address your weakness(es) early in the training year and then more for dialing in your strengths as your season or priority event(s) near. As with long-term goals, make sure your short-term goals are challenging but not impossible to attain. 

Where long-term goals are more result oriented, your short-term goals should be more process oriented. You can’t control the outcome of events as easily as the process of which you prepared for and executed an event. Result goals (ie. “top-5 in an event”) or time goals (i.e. “finish event under 7 hours”) are difficult to control. You don’t know who will show up to the race, and you don’t know if the course or weather conditions might be different than you expected. Instead, focus your short-term goals on the process of improving your fitness and racing skills over the course of a training block or season.

Short-Term Goal Worksheet:

Use the following short-term goal setting template to help you get organized and focused. Start by writing down the first things that come to mind and then go back and edit as necessary. Don’t put a cap or sensor on your thoughts. Go with your true feelings and desires. The more honest you are with yourself the more you will believe in your goals and the harder you will work in attaining them.

> Short-Term Goals for first half of off-season Base Building training cycle, 

Dates: ________________________________

      •  
      •  
      •  

How to achieve above set Goals:

      •  
      •  

 

> Short-Term Goals for second half of off-season Base Building training cycle,

Dates: ________________________________

How to achieve above set Goals:

> Short-Term Goals for 1st half of Race Season cycle, 

Dates: ___________________________________

      •  
      •  
      •  

       How to achieve above set Goals:

      •  
      •  

 

> Short-Term Goals for 2nd half of Race Season cycle, 

Dates: __________________________________

      •  
      •  
      •  

       How to achieve above set Goals:

      •  

 

Summary

Now armed with your long-term goals, short-term goals, and a strategy for how you plan to meet your goals you should feel better prepared to select your racing targets, narrow down your next season’s event schedule, and then dig into your training. Also consider making copies of your goals to post around the house and office, as well as share them with your close friends and family so you know they’re all on board and ready to support you along your journey. Finally, don’t hesitate to review and adjust your goals and steps along the way. Things happen and your goals are not written in stone. Use them to help you keep motivated and put focus into your training efforts. Now good luck and most importantly, have fun!

 

 

Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach, and founder of Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Looking for help with your endurance sport training? Check out his Stock Training Plans, Custom Training Plans, and  Personal Coaching options created to fit your needs and budget.

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