Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where Are You Going ?

It is February, have the February Blues got you down ? Those Intervals getting tougher to get through?

It might be time to go through and look at your goals again (or for the first time!). A big issue I see in athletes who are struggling for motivation or to improve is a lack of goals and/or a lack of goals that are fun/motivating. If we think about each day as part of a journey towards the top of a mountain (a goal) then the problem with having no ideal mountain to work towards becomes an obvious problem. We end up just walking around with no purpose/motivation/progress. Each day we are presented with many diverging paths (choices in training, nutrition, rest, stress). Any given path could take us closer to or further from a given Mountain. While two people may share the same 'mountain' no one can take the exact same path to get there.

So choosing/using the Mountain/path idea to Goal Setting:

1) Look At The Horizon: What Mountain(s) are you aiming for ?

So are your daily actions moving towards something? Do you enjoy what you are are doing? Try writing down what you want to happen in your life in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months ... what will make you happy ? Make sure you know when you reach the top, people don't always hand you a trophy at the top.

2) Then do some rough planning on the paths you think will help you get there. 

What does your event/goal require?
-Do you need to be fast for 5 hours ? or just 3min ? do you need to be leaner/less lean ? stronger ? More recovered ? More food/less food ?

What are your limitations right now in this event and what do you think will improve them?
- Do you need to get better at shorter durations? build a better muscular endurance capacity? reduce injuries? Improve recovery ? Eat better ? sleep more ?

 - Plan out a rough direction you think you need to go to move towards your goal on paper

3) Learn to Use a Compass often: Plan out how/when you will assess if your progress

If you are a health based Athlete then you are more in the feeling good and optimizing health factors like Blood Pressure, weight, blood profile, weight etc.

Athletes will be more into performance metrics like a Lab Test like FaCt Testing + a handful of 'field' tests they can cycle through every couple weeks on their own. I like to include a Ramp Test (see this post), a 3 Min Time Trial, a 20min Time Trial and a MaF Test (30min at a HR around LBP depending on a few factors = watch for change in performance over the 30min at stable HR).  Obviously the tests you do will depend on your goal event/outcome but they will give you a measure on whether you are moving towards the right mountain and whether you need to change paths before you end up on the wrong mountain!

Most of all enjoy the journey ... its the best part regardless of what path you are on!

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