Post by: Albert Binkley, Swiftwick athlete.
As athletes, we are constantly trying to improve and push our skills to the next level. But just like you should never go kayaking in the dark without any lights, you should never start a workout without a goal! Whether you’re a runner, cyclist or kayaker, an important part of progression is knowing what is needed to advance, and setting goals is an important part of this. Here are a few tips that help me set and achieve my goals.
Make a mental list. And make it specific.
Before I paddle, I think about at least three things that I’d like to focus on for that session. It is important to have a plan for your workout AND to make it specific. This applies to long-term and short-term goals. Instead of saying “I want to run more,” try “I want to run 5 days a week.” Instead of “I want to run faster,” say “I want to improve my time by 30 seconds.” It is harder to stray from goals that you set ahead of time, and focusing on them during a workout helps give you the motivation to get through it.
Put in the time.
Sometimes I find working on new or harder skills to be overwhelming. A good goal is challenging but realistic. A good goal has a time element, both during the workout and long-term. For the short term, I break down my time by working in fifteen minute intervals. I focus on one thing for fifteen minutes, then move to the next thing, and so on. In regards to the long term, it’s human nature to be motivated by a deadline. Set a date that you want to reach your goal by. Doing this helps you plan how to reach it.
Write and record.
There’s no better way to keep track of your goals than writing them down. This way, there is absolutely no shadow of a doubt what you’re aiming for, and you’re not able to cheat yourself either. Once I write down my goal(s), I put that note somewhere I will see it regularly. In addition, once I finish paddling for the day, I write a summary of what I accomplished. This is a good way to show yourself how you are improving and what still needs work. These logs are great to look back on during discouraging days when you feel you aren’t making progress.
Do you set goals for your workouts? How do YOU keep yourself on track?