How to plan and set goals

Common questions athletes ask are related to which races to choose, what goals to set, can I do this?

Choosing races and setting goals is very important. Goal setting is one way of staying committed to the sport. Selecting races to help accomplish those goals is the next step.

I wrote a Blog a few years ago about how to set goals. Here is a look at some of the article.

Regardless of the level of competitiveness among different athletes, the commitment required to achieve success is very high for the sport of triathlon.

Their are three different goal sets to develop; Long-term goals, Daily training goals, and Competition goals.

Long-term Goals:
When setting the long-term goal, it is important to remind yourself why you enjoy this sport. Long-term goal setting needs to have both intrinsic and extrinsic elements, but long-term goals without the intrinsic components makes goals hard to achieve.

Example questions to ask yourselves:
- What do you enjoy about the sport?
- What is your dream goal, what do you want to achieve?
- What do you need to do in order to achieve your dream goal?
- Which athletic abilities do you need to improve in order to achieve this goal?
- How committed are you to this goal?
- What is your overall goal for the season?

Daily training goals:
After the long-term goal is set, focus on setting daily training goals that will lead you to achieving your dream or end of season goal.

When setting daily training goals be SMART about it.

S – Is it Specific?
M – Is it Measurable?
A – Is it Agreeable?
R – Is it Realistic?
T – Is it Time Limited?

When you are setting SMART daily training goals this helps guide behavior and attention and it helps foster confidence.

Competition goals:Just like training goals, each competition needs goals. Setting different goals for competition can include outcome goals, performance goals, and process goals.

Outcome goals can involve your placement in the race (winning the race, finishing top in your age group or simply making the finish line). These goals are great for your long term motivation but can cause pre-performance distractions and anxiety. Performance goals (running a sub-30 minute 5K) and process goals (maintaining form on the run) help to achieve proper focus in competition. Process goals can be set for each discipline and help to keep your mind from wondering to distractions.

Choosing "A" Races:

When it comes to setting long term goals and choosing your "A" races it is important to look at a number of things.

Athletes should have no more than 3 "A" races in a year, 2 is my recommendation. Make sure they are spaced far enough apart to allow for the proper training build up.

Location, time of year, distance, cost, weather, course, athlete strengths, goals of race - - all of these things play an important role when it comes to choosing a race.

If you are struggling with how to set goals, which races to choose, or determining what your strengths and weakness are we have a team of great coaches here to help. All of us are USAT certified coaches with years of experience. Feel free to contact us with any questions,