Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goals and Targets - Kona

I thought I should share this email from a coach I work with in TrainingBible, but who also is one of my athletes. He sent this email out to his athletes this week, and I think he had some great things in it. He is fitter than he has ever been, and is ready to race Kona. I'm excited for him, but this email he wrote proves he has what it takes mentally, not just physically. And I believe the mental part is the key. Enjoy...

As another season comes to an end I have some athletes still gearing up for
their final "A" Races, while most have already started to consolidate their
victories and defeats from the year. Once again this season proved to be a
huge success for my athletes but also myself.

As to not let any one of my athletes feel singled out, I would like to
relate this to myself as some recent readings have really struck a cord with

I am traveling to Kona this week now to try to have the best race there I
ever have done. I know for a fact just looking at the numbers I am more fit
then I have ever been. Running faster, holding more sustained watts, heck
for the first time in my life I feel I am at an ideal race weight, down 7 -8
pounds from last year's Hawaii Ironman.

Additionally I am for the first time confident about my race prep and my
ability to do well. There is no doubt in my head I currently posses all the
tools to do what I want to do on race day.

I was relegated to a trainer session on the bike the other day and decided
to use an old Ironman video to help motivate me. What stood out to me were
the pros that had bad days. Here were athletes no doubt as prepared as I am
now, if not more, combined with more physical ability, and they blew up. My
first instinct was how much that would suck. Here were athletes that on
other years before and after had been in the top finishers, and this
particular year, were not as lucky. Point is, they are clearly not worse
athletes, worse ability, and more then likely just as mentally tough.

As life would have it, I decided to start re reading a book Magical Running
by Bobby McGee. The chapter I was on referenced goals and targets. The
author defined them differently.

Goals were less specific, and or not as based in outcome.

For example, you might want to figure out a way to be more confident while
running hills.

Targets were objectives you would like to hit if you are able to achieve
your goals.

Using the above example, you might have a hilly 10K or triathlon you are
targeting a specific time for. If you are able to be a more confident hill
runner, you will eventually be able to hit higher targets on hilly courses.

"Goals are who we want to be, Targets are things we want to do"

This is important and I have witnessed this exact thing in one of my own
athletes this year. I have an athlete that set MASSIVE PR's in all his
racing and absolutely became a much better cyclist this year. So much so
that they felt the pressure to deliver on everyone's new expectations of
what the community thought they were capable of at Ironman. When that target
started to become un realistic for the race that day, the mental approach to
the race fell apart and it resulted in a DNF and massive disappointment.

What this athlete needed to concentrate on was that the goals for the season
were in fact met. They wanted to become a better cyclist, and they were!
Races, group rides, solo training rides, etc all were better. This athlete
accomplished things on the bike this year they never have before. While the
target of the time at IM was still important, it didn't erase the fact that
this was a different, better athlete. No matter what the time was for the
day, it was MUCH better then they would have produced as their former

Back to myself.

What is important to take from this is goals are more process oriented. It
goes on to ask how many times you have set a goal then faced the
anticlimactic feeling when you do eventually achieve it. If your goals are
to become a better more confident person / racer, and your target along the
way is met, the goal is not over. You simply have to set new targets.

Hawaii this year will be one of my best races I hope. But whatever the
result it doesn't mean I didn't do everything I could have to be ready. I am
a better athlete today then I was in 2009 and I need to be proud of that, no
matter what the outcome.

If I swallow sea water and become sick, suffer a flat tire or 2, or cramp on
the run, I would be disappointed. However it is simply a missed opportunity
at a singular target. My goal has been achieved. This year I set out to be
more fit physically, metabolically, centered on a more specific goal, have
better nutritional practices, etc. The focus, or target, of those goals
right now is to do the best I can at Hawaii given the new achievements.

Good luck to everyone racing soon! If you are in your off season, I am
jealous! :-)

Coach Vance

No comments: