Setting Realistic Goals: Advice for Triathletes

by Cherie Gruenfeld August 15, 2016 3 min read

Setting Realistic Goals: Advice for Triathletes

There are few people on the face of the planet more goal-driven than triathletes.

Triathletes set a rigorous training schedule: swimming against a clock, doing bike time trials and running intervals, always striving to beat a previous time or a competitor.

You’d think triathletes would be experts at goal-setting, however sometimes athletes —especially when competing in races—don’t set very realistic expectations or race-day goals. This not only sets you up for disappointment, it could actually be holding you back from reaching a realistic goal that could be accomplished with the right training strategy.

Below are some helpful reminders for athletes when it comes to setting challenging, yet realistic, race-day goals and executing a plan to accomplish those goals.

Plan the Race You’ve Trained For

When you start the journey towards a triathlon, every athlete has an idea of a finishing time they’d like to accomplish, even if it’s only in the back of their minds. Gearing your training to that goal can work well. However, until the training is behind you, it’s impossible to know what you’ll be capable of on that big day. So save the actual goal-setting exercise for the last couple of weeks before race day when you’re tapering and you have all the necessary data.

Executing the Plan on Race Day

A triathlon race day should be viewed as three separate events: swim, bike and run.

You have a goal for each and that goal should not be dependent on how you performed in the previous event. For example: Your swim goal is 1:10 and you swam 1:20. Do not make an on-the-fly adjustment and take off on the bike like a bat out of hell to make up the 10 minutes you lost on the swim. Put the swim behind you and move on to the bike/run and the next goal. The same can be said for the opposite scenario; if you came in under your time in one event, don’t let yourself rest on your laurels going in the next event. Always keep pushing and look ahead to the next goal.

Necessary Adjustments

Is there a place for mid-race goal adjustments? Yes—when conditions that are out of your control prevail. For example: Your bike goal is 6:00 and it’s pouring and the roads are slick. It’s not only reasonable, it’s prudent to immediately change your goal to 6:15 or 6:30, depending on how bad the conditions are. However, do not simply toss out the goal and just look to get to the finish line. You still want that driving force that a goal provides, so make a reasonable adjustment and know that all other smart racers are doing the same.

Maintain Your Goal to the Finish Line

As the marathon miles tick down and the fatigue digs deep into the bones, every athlete is tempted to throw out the run time goal and just put one foot in front of the other. This will eventually get you to the finish line, but the key word here is, eventually.” One thing is for certain: With this strategy, you’ll get to the finish line later than you’d planned. This is the point in the race when you have to reconfirm your commitment to the goal you’ve set out for yourself. Giving up now would be cheating yourself for all you’ve prepared for—and remember that you have prepared, so you can do it!

While you train, give your body some extra support. BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino™ contains the eight amino acids the body needs to support and maintain its muscular, skeletal, enzymatic, and hormonal systems. These essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and the formula in PerfectAmino is made up of the ideal proportions for maximum utilization by the body.*

It’s supposed to be hard! If it were easy, what’s the point. Great accomplishment is about extending above and beyond what you have already mastered. Winners are those who set very tough goals and will persist through failure after failure until the goals are met – and then start the process again with even tougher goals.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Cherie Gruenfeld
Cherie Gruenfeld

Sixteen Ironman Age Group Wins Worldwide Nine-time World #1-ranked Amateur Ironman Triathlete. 2000 WTC Female Age Grouper of the Year 2001, 2007 USA Triathlon Female Grandmaster of the Year. Multiple-time USAT All-American Team (#1 Rank) "Everyday Champion" featured on Wheaties Energy Crunch cereal box. “My first triathlon was a Half IM in ’92 which qualified me for the IM World Championships in Kona. In ’92 in lived in Santa Monica, but now live in the Palm Springs desert with my husband, Lee, who is my biggest fan and supporter. He also writes and takes photos for the World Triathlon Corporation at many of my races. At the end of 2015, I announced my retirement from Ironman racing and am now focusing on 70.3s. My 2016 goal is to win the 70.3 World title in the W70-74 and setting a new course record.” For more information: http://www.cheriegruenfeld.com/


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