What a proud day we had yesterday with 6 Gold medals for Team GB
These athletes have spent at least the last 4 years assessing their performance levels and setting realistic short and long term goals that would take them into London 2012 Olympics at their optimum level of performance. The only difference between these athletes and the rest of us is that they have dedicated more time into achieving their physical aspirations. So if you want to achieve more all you need to do is adopt their strategies at your level.
As taught at Boot Camp your assessments can include anything from how long it takes you to walk home from work, how many press-ups you can achieve in one minute, a 10km best effort run or an Olympic distance triathlon time – without these assessments we can never monitor our progress. I continually meet clients who tell me they have been attending a gym for most of their lives but over the years have gained weight, lowered fitness levels and have no records of any assessments. By setting a long term goal we can begin to develop a training diary to suit our specific goals and lifestyle.
SMART stands for the five main areas that require focus when developing a specific goal linked to your training:
SPECIFIC â€“ Your training goal should have specificity in direction. It is no good saying to yourself that you are going to run and leave it at that. You may have specified what type of exercise you intend to carry out but you have not clearly identified how far, or how quickly, you intend on completing that distance.
MEASURABLE â€“ We are already half way there with this one as we know the distance is 10 kilometres or 6.214 miles. Now we need to decide what sort of time we want to complete the run in. This is dependant on your age, gender, current ability and amount of time you wish to devote to achieving your goal. We will discuss this further when we get to R.
AGREED â€“ Not only do you need to be in total agreement with the goals that you have set, you also need to be sure that you believe that they are suitable and achievable.
REALISTIC – I recently read an article where the author described goals being similar to an elastic band, ie your goal needs to stretch your ability but not break you physically or mentally. With this in mind, if you are between 17 â€“ 28 years old and already have a personal best (PB) then there is no reason for you not wanting to set a new PB. If, however, you ran a 10 km race when you were a teenager, competing at county level and you set a PB of 39.33 minutes but have not ran for 30 years since, the chances are that you will never achieve that sort of time in the next three months. This can be decided after the first month of training if you are getting into running for the first time, or have not trained for a while.
TIMED â€“ This is multi faceted in that your goal needs to have specific time line parameters as to when you intend on starting your training, how long it is before you expect to achieve your goal and, as mentioned before, the more specific time restraints you have put on your goal, such as performance time.
These are the five main components that require attention when setting your training goals, although these are not exhaustive. There have been several other elements to goal setting that sport coaches and psychologists have highlighted. It is important to adopt a series of goals that are not only outcome goals, like suggested above, but also process and performance goals. Process goals focus on the technique and could include breathing or gait for running. Performance goals are similar to outcome goals but are cut down into smaller manageable chunks like completing a 12 x hill reps in a session or to beat your previous 1.5 mile best effort.
A staircase strategy can be adopted where the bottom step represents your current ability and the top step represents your outcome goal. The series of steps inbetween represent a series of goals you have set that are progressively taking you from your current ability to your outcome goal. Other advice that has been offered to enhance the effectiveness of your goals includes writing them down and continually monitoring and evaluating them.
So there you have it if you want to get the most out of your training sessions this is where it all comes together. Whenever you start a training session, whether it be a spin class, weight training session, swim or run, you need to maintain your focus on your set goals and give every inch of effort in that training session. You will find that you begin to drive yourself harder as you have a reason for training with measurable outcomes determined by the amount of effort expelled.
As you push harder in those individual training session as like the athletes you have seen this week at the Olympics you will begin to achieve things you never though possible.