By Coach Nick Morrison
USAT and RRCA Certified Coach
Have you started thinking about what goals you have for the new year and in what events you want to participate? Most of you probably are making plans for the new year and that’s great to hear! As you look ahead, keep these tips in mind when making your goals.
Strive to make your goals challenging yet realistic. That’s often easier said than done. Try to use your past experience to project your future performance potential to help strike that balance. For example, we often use Jack Daniel’s VDOT calculator and race projections to help our athletes. Plug in your best times across various distances and see what VDOT the calculator gives and what times it projects for different race distances. You might find that your shorter distances like 1 mile or 5k project a higher VDOT than how you have performed in longer distance races like the marathon. A challenging yet realistic goal could be to run a marathon at the equivalent VDOT pace that your shorter races project.
Another way to strike the balance of challenging yet realistic is to make A, B, and C goals. If you’re making a time-based goal, break it up into 3 targets with A being the best performance, B being a little less, and C being a little less than that. There are so many variables outside of your control on race day, that it’s good to have A, B, and C goals so that you can still push yourself even if something like the weather doesn’t cooperate on the day of the event.
Make goals that are not timed-based/performance-oriented. So often as athletes, our first thought with regard to goals is I want to finish in X time or I want to place at a certain spot in the results. Those types of goals are great, but you should also make other goals that are focused on your growth as an overall athlete and include things like knowledge, skills, and enjoyment. For example, most triathletes that didn’t grow up swimming spend every workout swimming front crawl and only ever swim front crawl. Make a goal to learn other strokes or to get better at flip turns. Setting goals like this will not only help you get more enjoyment out of your training, but you will likely even find that it helps improve your performance.
Once you make your goals, the next step is to make a plan to meet those goals. What are you going to do in individual workouts that will help you reach your goals? How is your annual training plan structured to help you meet your goals? This is also where we can help as your coach. Make sure you coordinate and communicate with us so that we can come up with challenging yet appropriate goals for you and so that we can make a custom-fit training plan to help you achieve them. You’re going to do great in the new year!