Set goals and stay motivated this season!
The process of goal setting and the Steven Covey idea of “beginning with the end in mind” is the best way to approach the year ahead, but it is often in this process that the mistakes are made. Goal setting needs to follow some set principles. Establishing these principles right at the very beginning of a training program is fundamental to helping us achieve our objectives.
Short Term Goals
Short term goals are vitally important to maintain focus and give us small victories along the way. These should be developed with the longer-term goals in mind. This means that if the main objective is to compete in The Pioneer the year after, then it’s important to be a strong climber with great endurance. The key with short term goals is that you can and do achieve some success in completing them. I believe that success breeds success and so by completing and achieving the short term goals your motivation will be enhanced further still. Don’t go setting yourself some unrealistic time on the climb by looking on Strava and trying to beat the time of Cam Ivory for instance, as you might not be giving yourself a realistic chance of achieving that goal.
Medium Term Goals
Medium term goals can be considered within the next 6 to 8 months and should be a continuation of the skills and work you have done towards your short term goals. As with short term goals medium term goals could be to complete a sub 6-hour Marathon race, or, to complete a 6-hour ride without stopping. When establishing your yearly plan consider that there will be a peak period in the year when you might be in your best physical condition.
You should look to establish several races or events around the time of your main goal race or event. By doing so it enables us to use our fitness and condition fully and if something goes wrong in the goal race or event it provides a fallback plan and another chance to succeed. This is often where most athletes go wrong as by focussing on just one event in a year it can be easier to fail due to a puncture or classic bad day and it all feels like everything was for nothing. This inevitably leads to de-motivation and lack of desire to keep pushing on and setting a new goal to aim for. If you have another race in a couple of weeks it is then possible to refocus and go out and smash it.
Try not to do too many races and focus on too many goals, it is very difficult to have the highest level of arousal and performance for a special race when we have been racing every week for the past 6 months.
Long Term Goals
Long term goals are those things we would love to achieve as our ultimate goal. It’s still important to consider making these goals realistic and achievable and if the stars align your ultimate achievement. Long term goals inevitably drive us onwards after the shorter and medium term goals have been achieved for the year and add to the continuity from year to year. By establishing our long term goals, we can develop the processes, skills and physical condition while on the journey to the dream goal.
Dealing with speed bumps along the way
No matter how motivated you are there will be times you can't get up to go training. You’re in the best condition of your life, but suddenly out of nowhere you feel like you have lost your mojo. It is the culmination of many months and weeks of training and often occurs when the taper starts towards the big one. During down times I think it is great to draw on the motivation of others, teaming up with mates for rides can be all it takes. Sometimes just going out and riding your favourite trails experiencing the thrill of riding fast down some awesome singletrack will put the smile back on the dial.
I hope this has helped you start thinking about setting your goals and understanding what it is that motivates you for the 2019 season and beyond. Catch you on the trails!