October 22, 2009 Leave a Comment
As an organizational development consultant and health care specialist, I have consulted with executives and managers for years on how to set organizational performance goals. But when it came to my own athletic performance, even though I’ve been a competitive runner forever, I was random and haphazard when setting race goals for triathlons. My only goal for my first race was to finish. Certainly a worthy goal, and yet, when I did finish, my sense was that I could have done so much better if I had been more thoughtful in planning my performance objectives – even though it was my first race.
So, working with Paul, my training buddy and Fitness Intelligence partner, we set out to create a more precise goal setting process, based on some pretty basic management tenants consistent with SMART objectives:
- Know your current state by benchmarking your performance in a race
- Understand your strengths and your weaknesses and set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound) target and stretch goals for each
- Align your training plan with your goals
It seems so simple – it’s Management 101. But many of us seem to forget these basics when it comes to setting goals for performance in triathlons.
For example, even though I now understand all this, I still made mistakes when setting goals for my first international distance race earlier this year. I only set one set of goals, instead of a target and a stretch set. I learned that for any new distance, it’s a good rule of thumb to factor in an extra 5-10% more time (depending on the race length), since you’re learning to race at the new distance. And I learned that while I knew my weakest area was swimming, I had not done any targeted training to improve in this area. Having a swim goal of not drowning and not being last out of the water is not going to place you in the top 5 of your age group, no matter how fast a biker or runner you are!
For 2010, I’m now thinking about not only what races I want to compete in, but how I want to perform in each of those races, both in terms of total time and for time by stage. Also, I’m going to develop a customized training plan to address not only my weaknesses (swimming and transitions), but to capitalize on my strength (running) and to build on my developing area (biking).
I’m so excited about Fitness Intelligence, and how we’re building a virtual community of athletes through our benchmark and goal Setting process. Watch this space, fan us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, for more updates on FI and what races we’ll be connected to in 2010.
Fitness Intelligence. Insight • Ambition • Performance