Most triathletes are planning their seasons for next year. With that, it’s a good time to take a good look in the mirror, which can be a difficult task as it requires absolute truth. Unfortunately, many athletes fail to do this. What’s ultimately possible may differ from the work and/or time some athletes can, or be willing to, put in. Oftentimes goals are lofty compared to the actions required to meet them. Think of a training plan; if it isn’t followed a vast majority of the time, then it can’t be blamed for not meeting expectations/goals. I like to take stock by thinking of everything as a class. To get an A, to have a fair shot at accomplishing my goals, I would need to do my homework and study hard. This doesn’t just include doing the workouts, it includes how well I followed them; if I cut them short, added to them, did them too hard or too easy, etc. To obtain the best grade in class, homework would also include eating well, sleeping enough, getting proper rest and recovering seriously, as well as doing anything prescribed by doctors or pt’s. And to top it off, I’d have to have a great mental attitude with training and racing too. Like in a class, I can’t expect an A, or even a B, if I miss quizzes, blow off some homework, skip class, etc. That being said, its pretty rare to nail all of these things, which is why it’s crucial to set realistic goals. Far-reaching goals are good to have, but don’t let them be the only ones you set or you may never be satisfied with race performances. Most triathletes are hard enough on themselves even when they perform great, so don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting unrealistic goals. Start with a high-reaching goal, then set something slightly out of reach. Also set up monthly, weekly, daily goals. Breaking down a plan into steps helps with motivation as there are always goals to chase and having set many, you are sure to reach several of them. This is a great confidence booster and helps keep your head in the game, especially when it’s a long season.
Keep in mind, you’re the only one who really cares about your goals so if you want a C, so what? Yes, you may be physically capable of more, but if you don’t have the time, discipline, nor work ethic, then your goals should be different. I know several people who could race much faster. They just aren’t willing to put in the work, have too many life demands, they won’t follow a plan, and/or they simply don’t care. Whatever the case, ensure you use absolute truth in planning whatever your goals may be.