So you have big goals, huh? Forget them!
It’s already May, for most in my circle, we’re all well into training and race season is just around the corner. It seems like ages ago that I sat down and wrote out my 2016 goals, some I’ve already checked off the list, others are a work in progress, the types of goals I need to stay on top of on a weekly basis. Many of my goals this year are different than ones I’ve set in the past, they’re smaller.
I imagine by the title you’re wondering why I would make such an absurd suggestion. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, I’m a huge fan of big goals. I’m pretty vocal about mine and they’re big enough that I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there that don’t think I’ll achieve them. You know the goals I’m talking about, I want to finish in XX:XX time, I want to podium in my AG, I want to qualify for a World Championships, I want to win an Ironman etc etc….
What I want to get across though is don’t focus on them and don’t dwell on them, you have far better things to do with your time. Let’s stop and think for a minute what is going to help you achieve those big goals? Are those on the goal list? We don’t usually achieve big goals without accomplishing many other smaller goals along the way, better known as process goals.
Last year was my first year racing as a professional triathlete. My goals were majorly focused on where I placed. I got away from things that made me successful as an amateur and when races didn’t go as planned it left me feeling really down on my performances. After a couple bad performances at Ironman Mont Tremblant and Ironman 70.3 Silverman I wanted so badly to call it a year, my wife Jenna convinced me that I had to get back out there and try to close out the season with a good race. I had one left on my schedule, Ironman Arizona.
I took a step back to figure out what was going wrong. It became pretty clear that I was focusing on all of the wrong things. I wrote down the steps I needed to follow in order to have a great swim, have a great bike, have a great run and to show up on race morning feeling fresh and ready to crush it. Some of the goals looked like:
- Wear wetsuit for swim warmup in 3-4 pool sessions in two weeks prior to race (as I wouldn’t have an opportunity for much open water training in it prior to race day)
- Treat all recovery sessions like RECOVERY sessions
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night
- Book an extra day off work race week to make packing and travel prep less stressful
- Follow pacing plan on the bike for training and on race day
- Have meal plans for two days prior to race day
I know, not your typical goals; however, these types of things can have a major impact on race day. These goals were very specific for a short period of time; but there’s no reason why you can’t employ the same tactic for your season. Goals like focusing on recovery, using appropriate pacing during workouts or working on improving your race day nutrition plan are things that are all easily overlooked and neglected but can really make a difference come race day.
The reality is there are so many factors on race day that are out of our control: conditions, our competitors, flat tires, even local wildlife! One of my teammates missed winning her AG by 2 secs largely due to the fact that she was stopped by an official mid marathon for 2 minutes while they waited for a black bear and its Cubs to get off the course. You never know what’s going to happen, all you can do is focus on preparing the best way you can for race day and executing to plan. Even if the “Big Goal” doesn’t happen, if you know you did everything you could chances are you will feel a lot more satisfaction about your race.
If you’re wondering about my race, I had the best swim, bike and run of my life; however, a mechanical on the bike cost me 15 mins and at least 6 positions in the men’s race. Despite the end result I was pumped with my performance, I nailed my prep and left it all out there on race day, what more can you ask for!