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