Should I be setting goals now for the outdoor cycling season?

Ask a Pro — Diane Stibbard

Coach, Personal Trainer, and Two-Time Canadian Duathlete of the Year

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Q: Should I be setting goals now for the outdoor cycling season?

A: The most important quality you can develop for lifelong health and fitness is the habit of taking action. Taking action requires goals and the plans to achieve those goals. Goal-setting not only increases your chances of success, it also creates accountability while you work toward achieving your goal. Depending on where you live, the outdoor cycling season could be one, two or three months away so this is a good time to start setting your goals for the upcoming season.

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Do the following to determine what your major definite goal is:

Step 1. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are my weaknesses on the bike? – Do you hate to climb hills, do you have a strong cardiovascular system, but your leg strength cannot keep up etc.?
2. What are my strengths on the bike? – Do you spend more time doing workouts you love, just because you are good at them, and find them easy etc. ?
3. What are some potential setbacks that may prevent me from achieving my goals? – Are you going on vacation, do you have an injury etc. ?
4. Do I need to enlist others to help me with my goals?

Step 2.
These questions are a good starting point to help you become aware of where you are now so you can address the areas you need to incorporate into your goal-setting. For example, you may need to increase your cardiovascular fitness by adding some longer rides of moderate intensity (80% MHR – maximal heart rate). You may be weak in climbing hills, so you need to incorporate specific leg-strengthening workouts on and off the bike to help you climb stronger. To help you in the planning stages, take the time to establish where you’re at now.

Step 3.
Once you’ve decided on a goal, follow the S.M.A.R.T parameters. SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Specific – It must be clear and exact.
Measurable – It must be quantifiable.
Attainable – It must be both believable and achievable.
Realistic – It should have a reasonable probability of success when you begin.
Time bound – There must be a specific date attached to the goal.

What do you do if your goal has a date on it for the middle or the end of the summer? There will still be steps to follow now, which means you may need to break your main goal up into short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Each set of goals will help you achieve the major definite goal you set.

Setting a goal this time of year is a wonderful way to motivate yourself to commit to maintaining your bike fitness during the cold winter months. In addition, having a goal always tends to make you more focused, inspired and efficient with your time. So seize the moment, and on your next coffee break take a pad and pen and start to formulate a goal. Then follow my three-step plan to help you to achieve your goal.

BCBR Champ

The Muddbunnies encourage and welcome female riders of all experience and skill levels to join them in getting down and dirty. Come on, ride like a girl!


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