Determined to make 2015 your breakthrough season? Hoping to earn your ticket to Kona next October, record a marathon PR, or simply trying to make it to the finish line in your first ironman race this season? These sorts of goals tend take center stage as most athletes can easily point a finger at what specific outcome they will strive to achieve during the upcoming racing season. However, the exercise of setting goals is meaningless unless you take the time to strategically construct a plan detailing your path toward achieving that ultimate goal. In this early period of training, consider substituting out a workout for a goal setting session with your coach. A carefully scripted plan of attack for your 2015 season will contribute much more to the success of your season than an extra one-hour endurance ride.
Consider a pyramid, where your ultimate outcome goal is perched at the top (see the diagram below). This is the outcome you desire to achieve during the 2015 season. It is the reason you get out of bed and head to the pool at 5:00 AM. And it’s the reason why you hop off the bike after a 5-hour ride and lace up your running shoes to complete your brick. The ultimate goal keeps you motivated – it’s the inspiration that fuels your fire.
In order to reach your ultimate goal, you need to think carefully about what it will take. What specific training outcomes will help drive you toward reaching that ultimate goal? We refer to these goals as supporting goals. If you are able to achieve these supporting goals, you will be in the position where you have the best opportunity to reach your ultimate goal. Perhaps you need to improve your swim efficiency, increase your functional threshold power on the bike, and drop your race weight by 5 pounds. Your coach can work with you to help identify these supporting goals. The notion is that if you can achieve these supporting goals, your ultimate goal will be within reach!
NOW for the most important piece of the pyramid: the foundation. The foundation of the pyramid is defined by the process goals. The process goals are specific, measurable actions you can take on a regular basis, which will help you reach your supporting goals. How can you improve your swim efficiency? Work with a coach once a week or join a master’s swim team, commit to swimming 4 times a week in the base period with specific emphasis on technique work, etc. How can you drop your race weight by 5 pounds? Maybe keep a daily food log, limit desserts to 2 nights a week, or only eat out once a week? Choose process goals that are specific, realistic, and within your control. Spend time reflecting and creating process goals that you are willing to commit to, as they are they key to your success!
Once your pyramid has been built, you are ready to attack the 2015 season. The carrot of qualifying for Kona may keep you motivated, but you will need to turn to your process goals to keep you focused on how to turn your dream into a reality. Don’t just think about your goals — write them down! The simple action of writing down your goals will encourage adherence to following the plan. Post your goals in your training room, in your bathroom, on your refrigerator, or anywhere visible to constantly remind yourself of your season plan. Keep in mind that your process goals are fluid and should be re-evaluated on a regular basis to make sure they are driving you up the pyramid toward your ultimate goal. So take the time to reflect and establish your pyramid of goals for the upcoming racing season. This “workout” is a crucial first step if you are striving for a breakthrough season in 2015!
– Kim Webster
Breakthrough Performance Coaching