Process goals

Hi All!


Hope you’re all enjoying the cooler temps we’ve finally been getting. Although summer heat leads to fall PB’s, so you may want to hope for a few more sweltering days to get a bit more of the “poor person’s altitude training” in if you’re training for fall races! It feels bad, but it works.


What I’ve been thinking about lately is the concept of breaking down your goals into manageable “process goals”. Performance goals are scary, and to be honest, a bit too stressful to be holding onto at all times. Most of the time, it’s better not to think about them, and instead focus on something that is within your control.


I’m just feeling my way back into working hard again. And it really is all by feel. My body’s trying to bounce back, but I have to listen to it to know where I am in that rebound. The other day I was doing a tempo workout and someone asked me what paces I was going to go. I said, I have no idea – my goal is just to finish the sets at whatever pace it takes. And having that process goal was completely manageable and within me. I didn’t care how fast – I had a goal I could accomplish. Just finish. I could work on getting faster later.


In the elite training group I coach, we have moved our athletes to the grass as we train for cross-country season. Some people love cross country. For others (usually the shorter distance track specialists), it’s their kale. Just do it, it’s good for you. But they always have something negative to say. We gave one or two of them this goal the other day: Your only goal in this workout is not to complain. They really had to focus on not saying anything negative. But they succeeded. And guess who ended up having a good workout?  


Your process goals should be simple and completely within your control. Again, for swimming, I keep mine as basic as “get your body in the water”. I’ve never not swum after doing that, but I just can’t wrap my head around swimming PLUS performance.


Your goals can be very strategic: ie. My only goal for this long run is to consume a total of 4-5 gels – one every 30-40 minutes. If you complete that goal you will have successfully gotten through a long run.


The key is to not have a secret performance goals underneath. Truly, success is marked by finishing the workout, not complaining, getting in the water, consuming the gels… If you do those things, you have succeeded. The rest is gravy.


Tomorrow, we’re back to Pottery Road! Or a beach hill if you’re in the beach. I think many people are away this week, so if beachers want to consolidate and drive to Pottery, there will be a few people there to keep you company!


The workout: Straight up. 5-8 x steady hill. Steady up, easy down. If training for a fall marathon, add 8 mins @ goal race pace after a 2-3 min rest.


I will aim to be there close to 6:10-6:15-ish. Just get going when you get there and hopefully I’ll see a few people out!