Juliet Hochman, Olympian, ITU/70.3 Champion, and Triathlon Coach
With the calendar turning to 2019, you’re probably considering your training and racing goals for the new year. Here are four steps to set you up for an enjoyable and successful season.
Step #1: Set goals for yourself and clearly define those goals. If you don’t clearly define a goal, you won’t be able to set an intentional plan to achieve that goal. Your goals might be achievement related - finish your first sprint triathlon or stand on the podium at the World Championships - or a personal metric - run a sub-20’ 5K or break 5 hours for a 70.3. Consider goals that are achievement-oriented but also define how you want to approach the season as an athlete. Include goals that involve trying something new or feel risky, or touch on your attitude about training and racing. I try to include specific performance goals as well as how I want to approach the season as a whole. It’s a reminder of why I train, who I want to be, and what I’m working for this year. Be sure that you are passionate about your goals. Support from friends and family is critical, but external motivation rarely results in spectacular performances. Only you can do the training. Be excited and completely embrace your goals as yours alone.
Step #2: Write them down and commit. Once you’ve defined your goals, write them in your calendar. Sign up for the events. Write your goals in sharpie ona sticky note and hang them where you will see them daily. Declaring goals in written form gives you a timeline and drives accountability. Don’t wait. Write them down. Commit and get started.
Step #3: Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Do you need to work on strength, endurance, or speed? Are your swim and run fine but your bike needs work? Do you have an injury or you’re strapped for time? Be honest with yourself; understand your limitations so that you can define the path it will take to address your weaknesses. Set up a swim lesson and then follow up with weekly drill sessions to practice new swim technique. Line up a Thursday night babysitter so you can attend a group track workout. Retain a personal trainer for a month to learn a strength routine to address your individual weaknesses. Find a weekend bike group to help you get in the long winter base miles. Figure out where you need help and find solutions that will reduce your limitations.
Step #4: Map out a plan and get to work. Now that you have your goals and you’ve identified and addressed your limitations, map out a plan for training that works for your schedule. For endurance athletes, frequency and consistency are critical to long term success. Create a program that works for your schedule. Retain a private coach to help you plan or find a training plan online. Be consistent within the time you have allocated for training; even if you have to cut a session short, better to do half of it than none at all. But most of all, get to work. Tackle each workout with the same level of urgency with which you approach your season goals. Keep those stickies in mind. Enjoy the journey and good luck!
With many thanks to Shawn Bostad and Juliet Hochman of Best in the West partner, Steelhead Coaching, for this article. For more information, please visit www.steelheadcoaching.com.