When your livelihood depends on winning races, setting goals becomes a way of life. But what about amateur athletes—those everyday folks who only race for fun and glory, not prize money?
Even amateur athletes benefit from setting goals, if it's done correctly.
Here are a few tips on setting goals and how they can help you shave some time off your next event.
Make it Quantifiable
Here are examples of two common goals amateur athletes might set for themselves. You pick the better one.
a) I want to run a 10K race this year
b) I want to run a 10K race in under one hour
If you guessed the second one, you're correct. Any goal you set should first and foremost be quantifiable.
This means you should avoid broad, general goals that are difficult to measure. Make each goal as specific and personal as possible.
Some amateur athletes fall into the trap of setting unrealistic goals. Sure you can probably finish an Ironman triathlon in less than 17 hours without ever competing in a sprint-, Olympic-, or Half-Iron-distance race first, but the cards are stacked against you.
Before you sign up for that infamously difficult big city marathon, do a quick gut-check.
Lofty goals can set you up for failure and will crush any motivation or desire to race again. Instead, set a goal that's challenging, but reachable like a 10K race completed in less than an hour, or to run a half-marathon without going out too fast.
More: 4 Ways to Train Smart