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GOALS: Part 1

Goals. What are they? You hear them all the time, whether it be in your circle of training buddies, your coach or even your family . We like to use the following “buckets” to better describe what we are talking about here:

Goals – examples under this bucket are: I will be ready to suffer through whatever is neccessary today (be it a race or training day), when the race is on I won't give up the wheel, I’m going to follow my team's plan until it is no longer possible, I’m going to follow my fueling plan throughout the race. These are better described as those items in which you have 100 percent control over.

Targets – some examples are: I’m going to folllow the first break, I am only going to follow moves that include (insert person here) or I will wait until mile (X) and give it all I have up that cllimb in hopes of seperation. These are items you have a bit less control over but are directly related to your training, experience/knowledge and in-race circumstances and therefore can be somewhat predicted. 

Outcomes – examples here are: Podium Placement (Winning), Category Update (Points), a victory for teammate, National Team selection, Continental Team Selection, etc. These items are those items that you have the least control over and are really just an outcome of the previous two buckets.

What you start to see when you look at goals like this is that priority should be given at the top and reduce as you work toward the bottom. Another way to look at this is in a series like this: Goals->Targets->Outcomes. Unfortunately most people tend to think about this topic in reverse, which tends to create improper strategies, missed goals, and disappointment. Ultimately, these people have a much tougher time reaching their race objectives and spend half of there season disappointed in themselves because they aren't finishing where they think they should be. This is an unhealthy mental pattern for cyclists (athletes) of all abilities.

Athletes tend to be the most upset about the bottom a.k.a. (Outcome) going wrong when they should more displeased when the top a.k.a (Goals) go wrong. When focus is given to the goals, what you find is that the outcomes are there as a result. Most athletes need to begin with focus at the top and slowly move toward the bottom as they develop as an athlete/racer and have mastered the top. The top items are those that you have complete control over; if those can’t be mastered, there is really no basis to give the bottom much thought.

Unfortunately, most people start by saying “I want to be a Cat 1, National Champ, or (Insert other large outcome here), what do I have to do to get there?” without even knowing if this is a reasonable outcome. That is, do they have the ability to be tough day in and day out through training, can they perform and deliver during races time and time again, and do they have the proper targets required to make that goal outcome a reality.

So, what can you do? First off, take the time to put pen to paper and write out from Top to Botton your Goals --> Targets --> Outcomes. If you have a coach, even better. Involve them in the process and begin to lay things out. Those athletes with a plan always have a leg up on their competitors that do not.


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