Plan now for Summer's Challenges
Set some goals and make them SMART
Setting goals is the best way to keep you on track and ensure your training has a purpose and structure. When setting any kind of goal, there are five criteria that need to be met, and conveniently, they spell out SMART so you’ll never forget them. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive.
They should be;
- Specific: Make sure your goal is specific. The more specific it is, the easier it is to plan for and the easier it will be in the future to know if you’ve succeeded. Here’s an example of a non-specific goal; ‘I want to be a better rider’. How can you quantify what ‘better’ means? Does it mean faster? Better technique? Producing more power? There’s no way of knowing if you are a ‘better’ rider. Compare that to a specific goal; ‘I want to ride the X Gran Fondo in under four hours’. In this example, it’s clear what achieving the goal looks like, completion of the specific event in under four hours.
- Measurable: You need to be able to quantify your goal. Instead of saying, ‘I want to ride a lot this month’, make the outcome something you can measure, ‘my goal is to ride 500km in June’.
- Attainable: It’s great to have goals but keep your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds when making them. Creating unrealistic goals is setting you up for failure. ‘I’m going to take the KOM on Mt. Ventoux’, is an extreme example of such a goal but you get the idea, instead, try and make it something that is at the upper limits of your ability so it’s a challenge, but not out of reach. E.g: ‘I’m going to knock 30 seconds off my best time up my local climb’.
- Relevant: Make sure your goals align with each other and are relevant so the direction and purpose are consistent. Having a goal that isn’t relevant to the destination will take you off track and further away from achieving your objectives. ‘I’m going to bench press 100kg before the end of the year’ is a great goal for overall fitness and upper body strength but it’s going to do little to help you climb that hill any faster. It’s also going to take significant energy and time to achieve it, which, will pull energy and time from your other goals.
- Timing: A goal without a timeline is just a dream. Your goal needs to have a deadline to give you something to work towards. Only with a set time can you create structured plans and work towards something. If your goals are long term ones, then consider setting smaller, more manageable goals to tick off along the way.You may have a six-month plan to prepare for an event, so the best approach is to break it up into smaller, weekly goals that you can tick off along the way, providing reassurance that you’re on the right track. For example, ‘by the end of Sunday I want to achieve X amount of km or vertical gain’. If you set yourself a six-month long-term goal, and create smaller weekly goals, by the time your event comes around, you’ll have achieved 26 small goals that will have you well on your way to achieving your big goal.