Goal Setting Part Two: Engaging the Process
The first step in goal setting is to outline your Outcome Goals for the season which set out the desired performance result (see SMART goal setting). If the Outcome Goals are broken down into a series of steps, then the journey towards success is mapped out in a clearly defined and measurable way. In that way, even if a race day doesn’t end up as planned due to unforeseen factors (i.e. a flat tire or another disaster occurs) then there can be a lot of satisfaction in going through the process and knowing that there has been improvement.
Setting Process Goals is the next step in goal setting. These goals should reflect controllable development of fitness, strategy or skills on a shorter timeline. By focusing on improving these aspects of your racing you can map the route to achieving your Outcome Goals. To establish a Process Goal you must first set out the timeline for your Outcome Goal. Next, break this timeline down into smaller objectives with associated dates that lead you in a focused and purposeful way to the date you plan to attempt your Outcome Goal. For instance, if your outcome goal is to run 10 minutes faster for the run in a half Ironman race in July and you begin training in January, you have a seven month timeline to work with. Some ideas on how to break that Outcome Goal into Process Goals might look like the following. Keep in mind, these are goals to focus your running objectives within your overall run training program. On their own, process goals are not the training. They are simply goals that allow you to monitor and focus your training to maximize your potential success in achieving the stated Outcome Goal.
January – Build hip strength and stability through a focused strength program. Get up to three sets of ten one leg squats.
February – Complete a six week technical running course to maximize efficiency. See improvement in video by end of course.
March – Build up tempo running at goal pace. Be at 30 minutes comfortable at goal pace by end of April.
April – Start working on mental approach in training. Focus on thoughts during hard workouts and how to turn them to positive affirmations. Test this on tough workout days.
May – Incorporate tempo runs at goal pace with bike workouts. Complete 30 minutes at goal pace off the bike by the end of May.
June – Run a time trial at slightly faster than goal “off the bike” pace for 21km as a negative split.
July – Fine tune mental approach. Attempt your Outcome Goal at your key race.
Process Goals need to be measurable and realistic within a short time frame. This will help you to focus your attention, mobilize your effort, maintain your persistence and develop your strategies for race day.
By specifying and monitoring Process Goals, you can celebrate smaller improvements as you build towards your Outcome Goal. If you look at all your training days as small opportunities for achievement, or even as mini process goals, these small achievements will one day add up to a big one.