I don’t know about you, but if your life is anything like mine, it’s probably been a while since you’ve raced or done any serious training outside of just starting to train or continuing to build and maintain your base.

I don’t mention this to imply that we’re lazy because we certainly are not, nor do I say this to take away from the fact that it is VERY important to take some down time and embrace the offseason so that your body can rest and heal. Not to mention as well how equally important it is to reclaim some free time and spend it with your friends and family. But I mention this because now that the New Year has come and gone, we all know what lies ahead of us. That’s right, whether you realize it or not, your race season is right around the corner which makes now, YES NOW, the time to start drafting and setting realistic goals. Challenging yet realistic goals, serve as your primary input into the races you ultimately choose and what your overall training plan will develop into.

When choosing goals, a good place to start is to think about last season and make a true assessment by asking yourself such questions as:

  • Overall, did it go well?
  • Where are your areas of improvement?
  • Did your season start out strong but weaken over time?
  • Did you struggle more with one of the three disciplines? (i.e., Your bike and run are flawless, but your swim is very weak in comparison)
  • Were last year’s goals too ambitious or not nearly ambitious enough?

Answer these questions honestly and try not to be biased. Personally, when I ask myself these questions each year, I often answer them as if I am someone else, reviewing someone from afar. If you identify areas of weakness and obvious areas that are in need of improvement don’t get discouraged because improving as an athlete ultimately means focusing on improving weaknesses and not just celebrating your strengths. I know it sounds elementary but, in the grand scheme of things no one can be the best at everything and their is always room for improvement.

More: Pushing through the pain: When is it good and when is it bad?

If you’re having trouble coming up with a list of goals, consider some of these, many of which have found their way on my yearly list in prior years:

  • Focus on improving your weakest discipline – such as, your swim.
  • Aim to win your Age Group in a race or at the very least place in the top three.
  • Revisit a race you’ve done before and improve your time
  • Try a new challenging distance or terrain. For instance if you only do sprint triathlons, challenge yourself with a longer distance like an Olympic or Half-Ironman
  • Or, if you typically do long distance triathlons, try a shorter distance, but race it hard!
  • Finish at the Front of the Pack-in the top third or top quarter of finishers in your Age Group.

Happy goal setting!

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