After months of training hard and racing harder, it's tempting to quickly switch into offseason mode and turn your attention to new activities.
But before you pack up the bike and put away the swim fins, you owe it to yourself to thoroughly review what happened (and what didn't) during the race season. This allows you to build on your recent experiences and create an even more rewarding, faster and successful triathlon season next time.
The trap that many triathletes fall into is focusing on just the race results. Win or not? PR or not? Allowing your success to be determined solely by the finish line clock or your ranking is not fair to all the effort and time you invested. You deserve more credit than that.
Here are nine critical, but often overlooked, steps to effectively evaluating your triathlon season—or more accurately, to evaluating yourself during your triathlon season. These nine questions will help give you additional insight and help you to realize more of your potential going forward.
NOTE: Answer these questions in writing. Be very honest. Get specific in your points.
1. In hindsight, were your season goals clear and attainable?
Did you achieve what you set out to do at the start of the year? Knowing what you know now could you have aimed higher, or were you somewhat unrealistic in your expectations of your time, commitments or the physical skills you needed to develop? Use hindsight as a barometer for thinking ahead to next year and create goals that push you and inspire you to go for it.
2. What were you most proud of this season?
Was it the improvement you saw in your swim, bike and run splits? Or your dedication and ability to balance your other responsibilities around the sport? How you overcame setbacks and still performed at a high level? Think of the big things and the little moments that you look back on with pride and delight in what you accomplished.
3. What would you like to duplicate next year?
Perhaps it's working with the same coach or training plan, continuing to do a variety of races and taking on big challenges that excite you and motivate you to train consistently. Of the things that you really enjoyed, what would you like to be sure you experience again?
4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?
Did you struggle to see consistent improvement in your speed? Fail to summon your determination when things got hard? Were you unable to overcome nagging injuries? What concerned you and took some of your energy away from the positive things?
5. What do you not want to happen again next year?
Were you unprepared for some races and found you performed better in training than in racing? Did you take yourself and the sport too seriously, forgetting to have fun along the way? Look for insights from question four—things that you need to avoid in order to be at your best. Put emphasis and focus on things that you can control or influence.