Looking Back to Move Foward

It is often a good idea to look back at what you did (both well and in need of improvement) before planning for the future.  A couple of weeks ago I took some time and evaluated my 2014 journey to help me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015.

USA Triathlon posted a great article that I used to guide my evaluation of my 2014 training and racing season before trying to plan for my 2015 season.

1. In hindsight, were your goals for the season clear and attainable?

-My goals were clear and attainable: not have nutrition failure at Ironman Wisconsin, remember my whole day at IMWI and smile throughout the race.  I feel like I could have been more successful with the nutrition since I had stomach issues on the bike, but the fact that a was able to adjust to these issues and continue to move forward, I’m very happy with.  I feel as though I successfully achieved remembering my whole day and smiling throughout IMWI, so that was a huge bonus.

Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

2. What are you most proud of this season?

-I had a huge PR on the IM swim (just shy of 10 minutes). I had a successful run at IMWI cutting almost 90 minutes off my run time. I was able to overcome the obstacle of a cramped stomach on the bike during IMWI and ended up with a PR at IMWI (just shy of 1 hour). I am happy and confident that I could have aimed higher at IMWI without having a coach for the last half of my training season.

Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum
Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum

-I am happy that I conquered the Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim and set a new PR.

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim "race"
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum: The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim “race”

-I am happy that I was able to consume solid foods on the bike this year (although I was more successful at this during training than on race day) and that Osmo Nutrition was able to help me successfully stay hydrated during training and racing. 🙂

3. What would I like to duplicate next year?

-I would like to continue training without a coach and incorporate the same 3 big brick days that we completed last year into this year’s training plan for Ironman Boulder.  I feel like the 3.5 mile swim helped my swim at IMWI and would like to do a LONG open water swim in mid June (maybe even going back up to Okoboji and having Dad kayak next to me while I swim the same route).  I would like to do more of the Elkhart Time Trial bike races to incorporate more speed work into my cycling.  I would also like to continue working on incorporating more solid foods into my nutrition plan while hydrating with Osmo Nutrition to try to prevent all nutrition failures at Ironman Boulder.

4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?

-Getting injured early in my racing season caused me to miss the Drake 1/2 Marathon in late April and Ironman Kansas 70.3 in early June. I’m glad I took the time to properly heal, but wish I would have backed down as soon as I started to feel injured instead of pushing through and making things worse. I am also disappointed that I did not work harder on the bike by incorporating more speed work and hills into my training. The bike was my biggest struggle on race day.

5. What do you not want to happen again next year?

-I want to avoid injuries and actually complete a 70.3 race prior to Ironman Boulder in 2015. I also don’t want my bike split to get slower (as it did in 2014).

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?

-I need to be sure to do proper strength training that impacts all areas so I don’t get injured again. I have also found that I respond best to having two weeks intense training followed by one recovery week (instead of the typical 3 weeks intense training and 1 week recovery), so I would like to continue with that training plan.  I also need to make sure that I have at least one rest day a week. I sometimes struggle with this as I just want to go, Go, GO.

7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?

-I felt empowered when we decided to drop coaching and self coach. This allowed me to figure out that my body responds best to 2 weeks of hard effort followed by a recovery week.  This realization also empowered me to do what I need instead of what works best for the general triathlete. By self-coaching, we were also empowered to keep Monday evenings free of workouts so we could focus on our relationship, things that needed to be done at home and spending time with friends.

-I felt empowered when I made the decision to detour on the IMWI bike course to get some orange juice from the gas station for my cramped stomach. I also felt empowered when I made the decision to use Osmo Nutrition for my hydration since it worked so magically for me.

Still Smiling...photo courtesy of Finisherpix
Still Smiling…photo courtesy of Finisherpix

8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?

-I definitely ate too many foods that were processed and fewer whole foods immediately post exercise. In doing so, this caused me to consume more calories than I needed. I have also found that my body responds best to less grains and dairy foods, but I ate these in larger quantities than I should have during the 2014 training season.

-My body responds best to going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. I found myself sleeping in later on the weekends, which would throw off my sleep schedule and cause me to be more tired at different times of the day and days of the week.

-I definitely did not incorporate enough mental training into my 2014 season. In years past, I’ve spent about 5-10 minutes every night visualizing success at races, coming up with affirmations and positive self talk to get me through challenges I may face at different points during a race.

9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?

-I need to eat healthy, whole, unprocessed foods and keep a consistent sleep schedule…even on the weekends. I need to be sure to get a rest day every week, while maintaining 2 weeks of intense training followed by 1 week recovery as an overall training plan. I need to incorporate speed workouts and more hills on the bike, so I can improve my bike split at Ironman Boulder. I also need to focus on believing in myself and my training more. 🙂

Stay tuned for my 2015 goals…

Have you looked backward so you could plan for the future? What did you learn?

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23 thoughts on “Looking Back to Move Foward

  1. This seems like a really great exercise and I bet you are glad that you did it. Really thinking through the year and putting your thoughts down can get you even more focused as you get closer to 2015 and another IM! Good job!!

  2. I love hearing about your success self-training. Hiring a coach isn’t an option for me due to finances and not having a very flexible schedule. It can be done!! I do plan to find/purchase a reasonably priced training plan and work to work from, but that is affordable and smart for a relative beginner to the sport.

    1. It is definitely doable to not have a coach. This was a decision that I’ve learned a lot from about myself, my needs, what works best to push myself and just how far to push myself. It has been a learning experience, but a great one 😉

  3. Kecia, this was so fun to read because as you know, I have been reading your blog for the past year and have listened and watched as you have gone through many of these triumphs and tribulations. I think your plan for 2015 is going to help you become a mentally and physically stronger athlete and prepare you even more for IMBoulder. I haven’t had the chance to really reflect back on my 2014 season and will likely do so after my marathon in three weeks. One thing I can say for certain is that I am going to work on the nutritional component of training, as I struggled off and on with eating too much and too little.

    1. 2014 has been quite the journey and it has been fun to share the joys and heartaches with you. I would definitely recommend taking some time to reflect on 2014 before setting goals for 2015. After this bit of reflection, I am ready to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015 😉 Nutrition is a key component and I really hope I can dial it in and perfect it this year.

  4. Love these! I am so stealing them to assess my own goals! Also I haven’t forgotten about the “emergency bag” I just still haven’t finished it!

  5. This was a great read! I’ve looked back, but not that in depth. I think I’ve worked harder this year than in most, only to come up disappointed in what happened that was out of my control (Boston). I always learn from it and apply it to the next goal, but it makes me want to work just as hard or harder and smarter so I can go back and do it right. Probably similar to your IM experiences 🙂

    1. So true Kelli! If we don’t learn from our mistakes, they will continue to happen, but if we learn something and carry it to the next goal, we grow 🙂 Looking back over 2014 was a great experience and will help propel me forward into 2015 😉

  6. Great way to look back- thanks for sharing!
    I love that you were empowered when you decided to self-coach. I’ve never used a coach and would sometimes love to, but then again I like working with my schedule and with lower mileage than most coaches would plan. (I guess that may just come down to finding the right one.)
    I really hope you stay injury free so you can get in all your training and races before Boulder!

    1. It was a great reference for looking backward, Abby 🙂

      I definitely felt empowered by not having a coach, but have some room for improvement on the bike due to self coaching 🙂

      I hope to remain injury free 🙂

  7. This is great Kecia. Glad that I found your blog via Kristen’s. While I’ve done some reflecting on the 2014 season, there are some good thought-provoking questions here that I should consider as well. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to following along as you plan for 2015!

    1. Thanks Kelsey!! It is great to get connected with you 🙂 I am working on S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015 and should have them more focused in the next few weeks (mostly as we nail down the races we are doing).

  8. This is an awesome look back!! It is so good to be able distinguish what you did right and what you did wrong and how you can make those things right for the next time around! 😉 I am glad to hear that you were successfully at self-coaching. (even though i already knew) I am thinking about “self-coaching” for next year because it is my “fun” year!
    I haven’t looked back but i think i will when i get back from vacation! Great idea! thanks!!!

    1. I think you should give self-coaching a try. With all your experience, you will have a great year and have lots of fun! That is the most important 🙂 Looking back has definitely helped me in planning goals for 2015!!

  9. So important to reflect! You had a SOLID year and huge PRs, and I have a feeling that 2015 is gonna be even better 🙂 Super cool that you self coach. I’m not sure that I could do that (yet anyway)… my coach and I work well together, and sometimes I think he knows what I’m capable even more so than me! Cheers to a super fun year ahead!

    1. Thanks Erin! Sometimes I don’t push myself as much as a coach might, but I’ve had fewer injuries as a result. I guess there is a trade off 😉

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