Goal Setting & Progress

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As I approach my first big multi-sport race of the season, I want to take a moment to do two things. First, I want to talk about setting goals, and what a difference it makes. Second, I want to talk about good coaching.

It took me a few years into my working career to come to understand the importance of setting goals the right way. I did what many people did when they set goals. I made non-specific, and non-measurable claims about things I want to do. “I will lose weight” or “I want to get a better paying job.”

I don’t need to spend a long post on the process, as there is plenty of content out there on how to set goals in the right way, but I will at least endeavor to give the high level summary.

Goals must be specific and measurable, they must be yours, they must have a expiration date, and they much be achievable.

When I started my training for this season, I had one big goal: to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in the 40-44 age group. It’s very specific, measurable, mine, and has a timeline. It’s questionable whether I have the talent to make it achievable, but I have the desire and I will work my ass off. There are sub goals that tie into that big one, and those have to do with progress on my training.

To that end, I hired a coach (actually, my awesome wife gave me a gift for my b-day of professional coaching for a year). Why? Because I don’t know everything I need to know in order that I could achieve my goals. I found a coach (or mentor, two sides of same coin) to help me achieve those goals. And it’s made a huge difference. While this is a physical training observation, it applies to anyone in their career as well.

With only a few big races this year, it’s been hard to have check points along the way about how things were going. I have had vague check points, but nothing measurable. Thanks to the power of the interwebs, Strava provides a set of tools that allow me to see progress on non race related training efforts.

The chart at the top is the testament to the progress that Ben at VO2Multisport has brought to my game. Those two efforts are on the same road, on the same bike. The only difference was the wheel set (though both were aero wheels), and the training plan Ben put me on for this season.

This 7.9 mile segment on Hwy 202 is pretty flat with only 217 feet of elevation gain. My HR was actually lower on the faster ride, and I was 25% faster just 5 months later. That’s confidence inspiring.

So thank you Ben. It’s been a season of firsts for me, some solid PRs, and I am anxious about toeing the line at the Honu 70.3 race in 2 weeks. There are some high quality races left in my season, and I hope I keep moving forward.