5 SIMPLE STEPS FOR SETTING & SMASHING YOUR CYCLING GOALS
Posted on December 01 2018
1. Why are you setting the goal?
Your ‘why’ is your motivation. It’s not only going to help you identify your goal but also keep you motivated when the going gets tough.
Are you training because you love it? Because you want to lose weight? Because you want to get a sub-30min 5k? Do you know your ‘why’?
Behind every goal is a reason why. It's the thing that's going to keep you going when training is hard, when the weather is bad, when your bed feels too comfortable or the sofa seems irresistible.
Identify the why, and you've found the thing that's going to drive you towards achieving your goal. There are also all sorts of reasons and benefits to setting yourself goals.
2. Set a specific goal.
You may start off with a general ambition, such as ‘get fitter’ or ‘get better at riding’ for example, so then it's worth spending some time turning that ambition into something specific and measurable.
For example, rather than just say ‘get fitter’, set yourself goal to target, such as to be able to ride at 14mph consistently on the road bike or be able to ride for two hours at a time three days a week or feel confident to race X enduro event.
It doesn't have to be time or speed, skills based goals also work well, as do lifestyle goals. If you're feeling stressed at work, for example, your goal could be as simple as riding for fun with a friend once a week.
The goal gives you an end-point to aim at, and from there you can work out how you're going to get there in the time you have available — AKA a plan.
3. Set a realistic plan.
Planning for an event is all about understanding two things: what does the event [or goal] require physically and where am I in relation to these requirements.
You then have from now until the event to close that gap. The gap might be in endurance, upper body strength or sprint power. It may even be that improving your skills will make the biggest difference. Whatever it is, break down the time from now to the event to systematically develop your fitness until it meets the demands of your event or goal.
A realistic plan will incorporate your goal (e.g. target speed or time), the type of training you have to do, and how much time you have available. It's important to be honest with yourself about what's going to be achievable in the time you have, taking into account your other commitments.
You'll need to balance how much training you can do, without over training, with consideration for family time, work, friends etc. Some of these may need to be cut back while you're training, others can't be and you'll need to plan your training around them.
Work backwards from your goal, and give yourself milestones or smaller goals along the way so you'll be able to track your progress and monitor how you're doing.
Having a plan is also a great way of keeping you on track. Training for your goal without a plan of how to do it is an easy way to lose your motivation.
4. Keep track of your progress.
If you want to make sure you're progressing on schedule, then as part of your plan you'll need to track your progress. This is also a great idea if you've got a big goal you're working towards.
Your goal may seem out of reach or unachievable at first, but if you break it down into its parts and into a series of smaller goals it becomes a lot more realistic.
The quickest way to give up and lose motivation is when you feel like you're not getting anywhere, keeping track of your performance and celebrating the smaller improvements you make along the way.
Time your runs, keep track of your heart rate, keep note of the weights you are lifting, take measurements — whatever it is that suits the goal, track the progress and celebrate it!
A big reason to keep track of your progress is also for confidence and peace of mind. Yes, it's exciting to put a big goal in place, but without little goals it becomes easy to have freakouts as to whether you'll actually be able to reach that ultimate goal.5. Remember you're doing it. YOU!!
It's all to easy to compare yourself to other people, whether it's those who are faster than you in races, more skilled than you in mountain biking, or those who seem to be putting in all the hours through the lens of social media.
This can make you feel disheartened and demotivated, and this is when you've got to go back to the 'why', and remember that this is something you're doing for yourself.
Ultimately you need to do it for YOU and nobody else!
Remind yourself everyday how much you want it, and why you want it, and how it will make you feel when you achieve it! And the power of visualisation is a strong one when it comes to smashing goals. At the same time, enjoy the journey!
Once you've achieved your goal, bask in that feeling of a job well done, and you might even find you exceed your expectations.