Coaching, Training, Camps.

Goal Setting for 2023: A Different Approach
by Coach Sarah Portella

It’s a New Year!  You’re reflecting on last race season and you have either signed up for your 2023 races or you’re still fine tuning your race schedule.  You for sure have an idea of what you want to accomplish during your races, but how are you going to get there? We all know that you need to set goals, right? It’s been pounded into us. But do you find that mid-way through the season, you’ve lost sight of those goals? Things are fuzzy and you might not know how to get back on track.

Something I’ve been doing with my athletes is having them list out both “intermediate” goals and “overarching” goals.  Once they have determined their goals, I use the Goals function in Training Peaks so we can hold each other accountable. Am I as a coach helping my athlete meet these goals based on the workouts that I prescribe? Is my athlete doing the workouts that are designed to help them meet these season goals? We have it listed in Training Peaks to keep us both accountable and honest in our planning and training. I have my athletes use SMART goals to stay on track.

We follow the SMART system of goal setting:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Timely

We start the process with the overarching goal: What is the main goal(s) they want to achieve for their A race(s)? Once that is established, we break it down into intermediate goals. These are the goals that are going to keep them on target to reach their overarching goal.

Intermediate goal one is Base Phase goals. The Base Phase is the start of the training cycle. Remember in this phase that training is mainly aerobic as we work to build endurance and aerobic capacity. This phase may last 4 – 12 weeks. Here, I have them create goals that are in line with the type of training that happens in the base phase. The goals set here are important as this starts their journey to their overarching goal. We talk through their goals (I have them list a swim, a bike, and a run goal) to assess if these make sense. Then we start the work!

Intermediate goal two is Build Phase goals. The Build Phase is the start of intensity/race specificity training. In this phase more tempo and threshold type work are introduced as training becomes more specific to the race. This phase may last 4 – 12 weeks. Here, I have them build on the goals they set in base (for swim, bike, and run) once we have determined they’ve hit their base phase goals. Again, we talk through these goals to assess if they make sense.

If goals are being met throughout the season, then it is a big encouragement that their overarching goal(s) are in sight. I’ve found this boosts confidence throughout the training cycle as we have small benchmarks to tick off throughout the season instead of just one big goal looming off in the distance. If you need help with goal setting you can reach out and I’d be happy to answer your questions. If you have a coach, I encourage you to talk with them about setting up both Intermediate and Overarching goals for the 2023 season.