Setting Goals for Next Season

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January 9, 2017

Mike Ricci


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Setting goals for your triathlon season is crucial if you want to enhance your performance compared to previous years. Let's explore some straightforward ideas for effective goal setting.

One of the fundamental aspects of goal setting is ensuring that your goals are measurable. While it's common to aim for improvement, such as getting faster, it's essential to specify measurable targets. For instance, rather than aiming to "get faster," set a goal like "run a 28:00 minute 5k."

Additionally, your goals should be challenging yet realistic. While it's important to push your limits, setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration and demotivation. Consider your current fitness level and set targets that are challenging but achievable within a reasonable timeframe. For example, if you currently run a 40:00 10k off the bike, aiming to run a 33:00 10k in a single season may not be realistic.

When setting goals, it's crucial to focus on factors within your control. External variables like course difficulty or competitors' performances can impact your results. Instead, set objectives that you can influence directly, such as achieving specific time goals or improving certain aspects of your performance.

Consider potential external factors that may affect your goals, such as weather conditions or course terrain. Adjust your goals accordingly to account for these variables, ensuring that they remain realistic and achievable.

Writing down your goals can significantly increase your likelihood of achieving them. When you put your goals on paper, you commit to them more concretely. Additionally, sharing your goals with close friends or training partners can provide accountability and support, further increasing your chances of success.

Lastly, frame your goals in a positive light. Focus on what you aim to accomplish rather than what you want to avoid. Positive goals are more motivating and inspiring, driving you toward success with a proactive mindset.

Here's an example set of season swim goals for an athlete:

1. Swim 14:00 for 1k by November 1st (1:24 per 100 yds)
2. Swim 13:30 for 1k by January 1st (1:21 per 100 yds)
3. Swim 13:00 for 1k by March 1st (1:18 per 100 yds)
4. Swim 12:30 for 1k by May 1st (1:15 per 100 yds)

In summary, effective goal setting in triathlon involves creating measurable, challenging yet attainable objectives within your control. Write down your goals, focus on positivity, and consider external factors when setting targets. With careful planning and dedication, you can work towards achieving your triathlon goals and improving your performance.

Michael Ricci, a USAT certified coach, offers personal coaching services and can be contacted at

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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