Spring feels like it is finally just around the corner, and several of us are getting ready to kick off a new racing season!
Maybe you have already eyed up a few key events, or you are are even signed up for an “A Race.” Even if you’re still looking for your main event, the time to start considering goals for the season is now!
So, where do we start when thinking about what a season’s goals could look like?
First, I like my athletes to get the big picture view of what they’re hoping to achieve over the season. This might take the shape of something like “I have three races I want to run.” It could also sound like “I want to finish my first Ironman,” or “I’d like to become a runner so that I can maintain my health and keep up with my kids.”
Understanding why you want to reach your goals, and the deeper motivations behind them, will keep you focused on actually achieving them.
Here is an early version of one of my season goals: “I want to train for, and complete Ironman Lake Placid in 2021.”
My initial goal isn’t a bad first start. You might even be familiar with the “SMART” framework and I feel like the way I wrote that goal checks off a few of these boxes...
That means adding two more elements to the SMART framework. They are, “Exciting” and “Risky.” Here’s why that’s important. Setting goals is easy, achievement them is hard.
If your goal isn’t exciting to you, you’ll be much less likely to stick with it when things don’t go perfectly, or you get stuck in the “messy middle” of working toward achieving it.
You want to be able to imagine how awesome it will feel to accomplish!
So, how did I apply the extra “E” and “R” to my Ironman goal? I decided that it wasn’t exciting enough to just say “I want to finish my Ironman.” I made it exciting by first picking an iconic race in a pristine location (Lake Placid). Additionally, I chose a race that I knew I was already coaching several athletes and friends for. Racing with them makes the whole event even more special.
And what about making it risky?
It would be easy to say something like “I just want to finish,” or “I’ll be happy to come in with the middle of the pack.” That’s playing it safe! On the flip side, I could also said something like “I want to qualify for Kona, or make the podium,” but honestly for me (right now) that’s beyond risky. In fact, calling out a Kona qualifying goal for this race would violate the the “A” (attainable) in the SMARTER frame work.
To make it risky, I looked at my current thresholds (swimming speed, biking power, and running pace), and did some race planning based on those numbers. I found out where I though my current time would put me in my age group. I then thought about where I’d realistically like to be in my age group. With an aggressive training plan, I’m estimating I can finish in under 11 hours and 30 minutes, or in the top 30 of my age group (which will be top 10%).
Realistic? Yes! Easy? No! Risky, for sure! This doesn’t leave any slack in my training plan.
All said and done, my final SMARTER goal reads “Train to complete Ironman Lake Placid, on July 26, and finish the race in under 11:30, within the top 30 of my age group.”
What is your SMARTER training/racing goal for the 2021 season? Tee it up, write it out, and get back to me!
Join us on one of our upcoming Athletes Round Table Zoom calls to share your goal, or ask for a little help in refining it.
As always, if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask!
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Ken Presutti is a certified ChiRunning instructor, ACE Personal trainer, Spinning instructor, and coach. This blog is a mix of new articles and posts from his original blog, Overkill is Underrated.