As you establish your goals for the next season, 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 next racing season.
1. 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 the next year, you should be planning your goals in November of current year. 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:
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.