GOALS- From www.Tri-Magazine.com 8/17/11

Many of my athletes ask me, “Jim, how do you stay motivated when you are training endless hours, day after day, week after week?”  I think this is a common question that resonates frequently within our sport.  We do not partake in a sport that provides constant action or quick bursts of greatness.  Our sport requires long, drawn out training that takes more mental strength than anything else.  Anyone can physically go out and walk/run 26 miles, but to have the desire to do it and the drive to get faster each time you do it takes a great mental capacity as well.

So how do I stay driven? I can answer that question in one word, GOALS.  You must have goals that you can visualize within each training session that will get you through that session and on to the next.  Those goals will also give you the drive to want to get better with each session.

The reason I got into triathlon in 2005 was because I did not have any goals.  I had retired from professional ice hockey, I had moved to California, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself.  Sure I had a job, but I knew there was more out there for me.  I was going to the gym and lifting, but I had no reason to lift.  I had no drive.  I was improving my beach body, but I found it hard to get to the gym with no real reason to go.  I was soon introduced to triathlon. I scheduled my first race, and a fire was lit once again.  I had something to look forward to and something to drive towards.  I didn’t want to show up at my first triathlon unprepared to complete the race.  I was forced to get out and get ready for the race.  Every second I was swimming, biking, or running I had that race on my mind.

It is tough to train with out a focus or a goal.  You may be out there doing it, but most likely you are just going through the motions.  In the winter of 2008 I knew I could be very successful in this sport.  I didn’t train everyday with a specific race in mind, but I trained with the specific thought that I wanted to be the best.  This gave me the determination to get the most out of every workout.  I came out of that off-season and cut 36 minutes off of my half-ironman bike split, I cut 8 minutes off of my half-ironman run split, and I was faster in the water than ever before.

I use these two examples to show that your goal doesn’t have to be a race, but it can be personal performance.  Either way, you need something to drive towards.

Your goal has to be front and center throughout your everyday life.  It has to be there to remind you why you are doing what you are doing.  For example, I am trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon for 2012.  I constantly keep a hard reminder of this goal on me at all times.  A Post-it in my car, a screen saver on my computer, a print out with the words, “TRIALS” on it at my desk, the letters, OT, taped on my bike frame, etc.  My goal is visualized at all times.  That way I know why I am out there grinding away.  I can be reminded why I am not partying with my friends, or eating like a sloth.  A constant reminder keeps you on task.

We all have tough days.  Days where we are not inspired to ride 5 hours, or run 20 miles, or dig deep to make that one second gain in the pool.  Having a goal will get you through that workout and onto the next because we all know gains are not achieved in one work out or one week of workouts, but gains are achieved through weeks upon weeks, months upon months, years upon years of consistent workouts.  Having a goal or goals will keep you consistent and moving forward.

Like I said, my current goal is qualifying for the Trials in the marathon.  My swimming has taken a back seat because of this.  I went to Mammoth for a month and swam 2-3 times per week.  Before I left I was making huge gains in the pool.  Now that I am back those gains have been erased and I feel as if I am starting from scratch.  Sure I have a running goal, but I lot sight of my swimming goals.  I recently registered for Austin 70.3 on October 23rd which will force me to get to the pool and make the gains I need to make in order to be competitive in Austin.

If you feel you are lagging in a certain area schedule an event in that area.  If you are a weak runner and find it difficult to lace up your sneakers and get out the door, schedule a 10k, if your biking in not up to par sign up for a time trial.  There are plenty of events out there that will give you the goal you need to drive you to train.

I did a speaking event for the Maine East High School Cross Country team last week and their #1 questions was how do you make gains, and for them it was an easy answer.  They race often, so it is tough to make every race a goal.  They must look big picture.  For example, win conference, make state, win state, get a scholarship, etc.  Because they race so much, they will have crummy races.  By having a bigger goal, they will scrape themselves up quicker and move on.

Goals depend on where you are in you development.  If you race often, like a professional, goals are big picture, ex. Kona, 70.3 World Championships, ITU Worlds, etc.  If you are an amateur who races only a few times a year, then your goal will be to hone in for specific races.

Set a goal.  We all benefit from them.  If you need help figuring out YOUR goal contact me at jim@jimlubinski.com and we can work together to figure it out.  RACE HARD!

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