In simple terms, a goal is a target of something we strive to achieve. In this sense, it’s a challenging endurance event; be it running, cycling or heading to the mountains, completing it is your goal. Now just using the Event as your goal can be a little too big to digest and so we need to break it down into more manageable chunks but before we do that I will explain the 3 types of goal.
- Outcome goals – these focus on an objectively defined social standard that we aim to achieve. For example, finishing top 10 in your event.
- Performance goals – these are focused on achieving a personal standard such as improving on a previous time
- Process goals – focusing on the process of cycling so breaking down the techniques into parts in order to progress the whole skill i.e. a 360-degree pedal stroke. or knee lift in running
You will probably be able to work out from the above, that we set our performance goal as the event itself as we can set ourselves a standard we wish to achieve within it, perhaps this will be to complete the event or maybe win the event?. This phase you will have already been through.
We can now break down the performance goal into smaller pieces that our mind can cope with… Our minds can take a large goal and make it negative, such as ‘I can never do this’ or ‘it’s too much’, ‘too long’ or ‘too difficult.’ It is really important to break this goal down quickly. For example, we look at a 100 mile, flat sportive: imagine you’re new to cycling, the furthest you have cycled is 10 miles and even that experience was tough. Your mind will be doing flips at the thought of the 100 miles, so your first goal now becomes dong a 20 mile ride then a 30 mile, 40, 50 and so on. Now, I am sure lots of you will already apply this approach and well that’s psychology! You are helping your mind deal with what’s ahead.
For the above, having structured training really helps the mental process and to see clearly how that big goal can be reached.
Let’s now look at process goals. You have entered a mountainous event and working on climbing technique will be a great goal. We can look at pedalling technique, as this is important so we engage all three major muscle groups while climbing. This can be measured by feel or, if you have access to a watt bike or vector power pedals, you can actually see how efficiently you are pedalling and so can work on the skill to improve it. If we are improving the skill of pedalling, then we can potentially climb better and then we are more likely to achieve our performance goal as well.
When taking on any challenge we always need break it down into parts and then build these parts back up as a whole. Most of the time you will find that these part goals have been set subconsciously but it’s what is done about these goals that’s important and how we work with them.
If you have any questions on setting your goals, then please feel free to email us.