As you establish your goals for 2022, view the process as an integral part of your annual training plan. The amount of effort you put into goal setting will influence the quality of your training, and therefore the success of your 2022 racing season.
1. Complete a Season Assessment
When setting goals, you want to look backward in order to move forward, so completing a post-season analysis is key. Look at last year’s goals (whether race-oriented or not) and summarize what you learned. What worked and what did not work? Examples may include race nutrition strategies or intervals you liked and did not like. You will be surprised by some of the themes you begin to notice that can be detrimental to your training process.
2. Conduct a Gap Analysis
Where did you land, and was it where you wanted to go? If you did not get where you wanted to be, you must ask yourself why and evaluate what barriers kept you from reaching the next level you aspired to achieve. Was it training issues, work stuff, trips? Were the causes in or out of your control? WKO is a great tool to validate your hypothesis with data.
3. Take The Time and Effort to Establish SMART Goals
Goal setting can be a long and arduous process, so start early. If your races are in the summer of 2022, you should be planning your goals in November. When establishing my own goals, I often do it in increments. In other words, when I find myself stuck or flustered, I walk away, let it resonate and then come back to my goals. Always apply the SMART principle to your goals. Your goal should always be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound. If it’s not, then reevaluate your goal and determine why it isn’t. Often it just needs to be reframed. Usually, a third eye (i.e., discussion with your coach) can give you a fresh perspective and a more straightforward goal.
4. Categorize Your New Goals
Group your goals into two buckets: performance goals and training goals. Performance goals are ones that have specific and measurable objectives (e.g., PRs, race results, completing a distance in an event, etc.). Training goals are ones you establish to achieve your performance goals (e.g., increase mean maximal power in zones, improve sub-threshold power at different durations, etc.). Determining how to fill that gap makes it a real goal.
5. Establish Milestones
Know the difference between a goal and an objective. Objectives are how you plan to achieve your goals. For example, a training objective is simply a statement about one of your limiters and how you will know it is corrected in relation to your mesocycles. For example, increasing your FTP during a base period is not an attainable goal or objective. When I help my athletes establish objectives, I categorize them into buckets, including physical conditioning, racing strengths, racing limiters, racing knowledge, and racing psychology.