5. Write down your goals
Once your goals are set, they should be written down in a place where they can be seen daily. By having your long-term goal in front of you every day, you can focus on your daily and weekly training and racing plans, knowing they are taking you a step closer to your goals.
6. Develop goal-achievement strategies
Goal-achievement strategies are the road map to your training and racing season. For example, focusing on drill work in the swim during the off season is a strategy to achieve a goal of lowering your 1.5K swim time by one minute.
When setting your goal-achievement strategies, it's important to be flexible. Rather than saying that you will swim on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it's better to say that you will swim three days a week. If you have to adjust your schedule to get your swim in, you will still achieve your goals.
7. Foster individual goal commitment
Goals are impossible to achieve without commitment. You must be focused on the direction that you're heading and put forth a solid effort to reach your goals. If you're going to take the time to map out your season, you need to be committed to each step of the process in pursuit of your goals.
8. Provide goal support
Having the support of others (coach, spouse, training partners etc) is paramount in helping one achieve their goals.
Having a coach in your corner helps maintain direction, a spouse or partner provides someone to share the moments with and training partners can help get your motivated for that long run on a cold and wet winter's day.
9. Provide for goal evaluation
Goal evaluation and feedback are essential if goals are going to effectively change performance. Once you have your specific goal set and strategy mapped out, you need to have a tool in place for evaluation.
For example, if one of your specific goals is to reduce your stroke count per 25 yards from 22 to 20, you can chart your average stroke count from your daily workouts. If, over a period of time the count is not decreasing, you can adjust your strategy to better achieve your goal.
If you achieve your target stroke count, it's time to check off that goal and move on to another. If your training is interrupted by an injury or illness and you can't train as scheduled, you need to set new goals that can be accomplished (e.g., pool running rather than regular training if one has a stress fracture).
Goal setting helps us transform our desires into our reality. With the New Year just around the corner, now is the time to break out the pencil and paper, jot down a few goals and map out a strategy to achieve them.More: 4 Rules for Setting the Right Race Goals
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