Updated: Apr 21, 2022
You've made it to the off season! Congrats! You've finished your big races and are now soaking it all in. At some point, you will be ready to think about next season. What races do you want to sign up for? Do you want to get faster on the bike?
It all starts with your goals!
One tool that I have begun using with my athletes is using the SMART system for identifying the specifics of their goals. We examine each goal with these in mind:
S - Specific M - Measurable A - Attainable R - Realistic T - Timely
Setting SMART goals and writing them down will provide you with a virtual road map to your goal.
I'll show you how the SMART system works by using my own example. As both a coach and an athlete, I made a SMART goals list for myself at the end of the 2016 season to find out if I was truly ready to train for the half Ironman that I had my eye on. I had the broad goal of doing IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder but that was it. So I began asking myself the following questions:
Is it specific? Yes. I wanted to do the Boulder 70.3 on August 5th 2017.
Is it measurable? Yes. I knew exactly where I was in terms of training and fitness and exactly what was required for the goal. I knew how much training and coaching it was going to take to get me there.
Is it attainable? This one was a little tricky. I did not quite have enough confidence to say “Yes, its attainable.” In this case, it is best to gain the objective views of outside knowledgeable sources, such as a coach or a fellow triathlete.
Is it realistic? Once I knew that the Boulder 70.3 was attainable, I also knew it was realistic. You might ask what the difference is between attainable and realistic. The answer lies in what YOU truly feel is doable. For example, if you are physically fit and show no signs of present (or early signs of chronic) injury, you may say that a goal is attainable. However, if you have an 80 hour a week stressful job and three children at home, you might say it is not very realistic right now. It is different for every person.
Is it timely? Yes, it is definitely timely. I had a goal for next season and sufficient time to train. Now, if I had made a goal of a half Ironman if one month, that would be too soon. Similarily, if I had made the goal to do a half Ironman in 5 years, that would be too far away.
As you can see, using the acronym SMART for your desires helps you devellop each one into a much more achievable goal. I encourage you to write out your SMART goals for the year!