This is a big mistake of many cyclists including myself in years gone by, if you don’t have a clear idea of your goal then you will not know how to achieve it or more importantly when you achieve it!
Setting realistic and specific goals will help you plan your training sessions so every training ride will be focussed and working towards them.
Make sure your goals are SMART
Specific – “To lose weight” or “ride faster” are not specific enough so try making it goal specific such as “To lose 5kg” or “Go under the hour for a 25mile TT”. This will help you know when you have achieved it.
Measurable – “Be better at Time-Trials” is not measurable so needs to be quantifiable. By saying “Hold a constant power output within 5% for the entire TT” would make this measurable.
Agreed – Once you have set your goals then agree them with important people in your life whether that be partner, work colleagues etc as they may affect all parties. At the very least write them down somewhere so you can remind yourself of them.
Realistic – Although goals should be challenging they also need to be realistic so if your best 10mile TT time is 27min saying that you want to go sub 20min would be un-realistic thus leaving you feeling disappointed which will not help your morale. Giving a figure of sub 24min would be much more realistic.
Time based – This should coincide with an important event that you may have planned so there is a fixed date rather than just saying “next season”.
Process goals or outcome goals?
So whats the difference then? Well an example of an outcome goal would be “I want to win the Club 25mile TT Open race on the 1st June 2019”, which although it adopts the SMART process, to achieve it depends very much on the opposition on the day. Whereas a process goal would be “To reach peak power for the Club 25mile TT open race on the 1st June 2019 maintaining an average of 340watts which should produce a sub 55min ride”. You see the difference that this goal relies on no-body else and totally in your own control.
When planning your goals you should aim for some larger long term goals, i.e. 6-12months away along with some smaller short term goals along the way around i.e monthly. So if your target is to lose a stone in weight before the start of the season then brake this down to 3lb per month to make it more manageable thus knowing you are on target. Its important to also have your goals wrote down as this makes them more real.