Friday, January 03, 2020

Want To Make A BIG Improvement? Set A Long Term Goal

Here's a thought for setting your fitness goals for 2020 (and beyond):

Most people overestimate what they can achieve in 6 months and underestimate what they can achieve in 2-3 years.

When planning our next challenge, most of us set goals that are perhaps 4-9 months away. You might enter an open water event or target a triathlon performance in a big race. That's great because 4-9 months is the sort of period over which you can get very focused and really apply yourself. You can see some nice gains over this time but it's rare to make truly transformative improvements over such a short period.

Train progressively and consistently over a longer period of 2 to 3 years and it's possible to keep improving to levels that are so far beyond where you are now you might not believe it's possible for you to swim that far or that quickly.

And of course not believing something is possible automatically holds you back. After all, why continue focused training beyond 4-9 months if that's pretty much as good as you're going to get?

Here's a good example of what's possible where SS Head Coach Paul Newsome coached Pro triathlete Kate Bevilaqua from 62 minutes for an Ironman swim down to 49 minutes (a massive improvement at the elite level):

Note that even a talented athlete like Kate didn't achieve this overnight, in fact even when the improvements started coming, it still took a further 3 years to reach her ultimate potential. (Find out more about this journey in our interview with Kate here:

Some further thoughts around longer term goals:

- It's hard to stay focused over longer periods so create a timeline of shorter term goals 3-6 months apart along the way. These might be specific events or mini-targets you want to hit in training. The key is that these mini-goals should motivate you so choose targets or events that push you and excite you at the same time.

- We're not saying you should train continuously without any sort of break for 2-3 years. You need to break up periods of more intense training with some low-key training for 3-6 weeks. As a general rule, avoid training intensely for more than 6 months continuously.

- Consider all aspects of your preparation - nutrition, flexibility, recovery - as well as your basic training. A holistic approach such as this will unlock more gains along the way.

- Become a swimmer -  study it, swim it, watch it on TV. Totally embrace it and become a student of your sport.

Achieved your goal? Time to take things to the next level.

Swim Smooth!

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