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Your ultimate guide: A goal-setting system for endurance sports.

Commando Culture Endurance's Goal setting for 2024

Starting Commando Culture Endurance has allowed me to revisit some old habits I had forgotten or stopped practicing. While listening to a course about sports psychology I suddenly remembered all the similar books I was constantly reading in high school to improve my performance in baseball. Even then, I knew we must religiously work on every aspect of ourselves to perform and operate at our best. This memory of the past inspired me to write about sports psychology, and more specifically, goal setting.


The vital concept to establish right now is that when I speak of working, practicing, or training, I do so to improve performance in competition. The definition of competition is for you, the reader, to decide. I take it to the extreme; I want to see if I can push myself further, faster, and harder than all the other competitors in the arena and still make it home. This concept is what differentiates training from exercising. We train to maximize performance in competition. So, if performance is the defining purpose of our training, how do we define our purpose? We do this by setting goals. Because we train with purpose, and our goals define our purpose, we should have a system or plan to develop our goals.




What is required to reach a desired destination?


When planning a trip, it's essential to have two crucial pieces of information that will guide us through our journey. Firstly, we need to know our current location, which will serve as our starting point. Secondly, we must clearly understand our destination, which will be our ultimate goal. These pieces of information are necessary to navigate effectively toward our desired location.


When examining our starting point, we must look at the past. If you have been training and competing, this is done through analyzing past performances. If not, we must set up threshold testing to help define your starting point.



ANALYZING OUR PAST AND CURRENT LOCATION

THE SOURCE AND TYPE OF GOALS.

GOAL SETTING TEMPLATE AND PROCESS


 

ANALYZING OUR PAST AND CURRENT LOCATION


Here is the information I compiled from last season to analyze for planning.

I had a recent 10-hour adventure race and an 8-hour race that I competed in. Additionally, I had all of my training peaks data and personal logs that I had been using since January.


The simplified version of the data is this:


RACE DATA:

INTENSITY FACTOR: 0.73

AVG HR: 151

AVG SPEED: 4.58 MPH

AVG PACE: 13:05 min/mi

TRAINING DATA:

AVG Weekly training Hrs: 9.5 Hrs

AVG weekly Training Stress Score (TSS): 451


Chronic Training Load(CLT) on Race Week: 65


IMPORTANT HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE FACTORS


I destroyed my left shoulder at the end of June and required surgery that I would not receive till a couple of weeks after the last race. The race I competed in was supposed to be a "B" race and a tune-up for my primary race in late November. I had to adjust training to get more specific for that race. The injury hindered my movement, and I could only get in "base" miles, for lack of a better term. I was able to get in some decent Moderate-intensity work post-injury. I stayed on a relatively flat and smooth terrain with rolling hills (yes, not very specific for a race in N. Georgia) still, I was limited to low-intensity miles and steady-state zone 1 to 3 work. Paddling was only zone 1 and 2 due to my bicep tendon being ruptured.


Now, we must look at all the other life factors that ultimately influence our goal-setting. Those factors are our families, our jobs, our health, our motivation, and the stability of our schedule. All those different aspects of our lives determine what we can devote to our training daily, weekly, and for the season.


For me last year, here is what I had going on:


FAMILY:

1 x Wife

1 x 1 year old

1 x 3 year old

1 x 9-year-old stepdaughter

1 x 11-year-old who lives in another state

Minimal local family support with the kids


JOB:

I work a physically and mentally stressful full-time job.

12-hour shifts



Health:

My health was good all year, minus the shoulder injury.

I am 5'9", 210 lbs, and around 19% body fat.


Schedule:

  • My schedule was stable because my wife and family supported my training so long as it didn't interfere with family time.

  • Most training was done at 3-6 AM before heading to work.

  • My job schedule, on the other hand, was stable but could have been more conducive to consistent training. There was plenty of time to train, but the structure made it hard to wrap my microcycles into a neat package.

  • I worked a two-week rotating schedule:

  • Week 1: Work on Monday and Tuesday, OFF Wednesday and Thursday, Work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

  • Week 2: OFF Monday and Tuesday, Work Wednesday and Thursday, OFF Friday, Saturday, and Sunday


My motivation was extremely high.


Now that we have analyzed our past information and performance let's get some background information regarding goals.






Where do goals come from?


The origin of your goals plays a significant factor in your performance. Goals come from either intrinsic or extrinsic sources. Intrinsic goals are focused on improving yourself. It could be your love of your activity sport. It could be for health or well-being. These goals are typically created because you want to improve, grow, and be a better version of yourself. I call these goals my passion goals because they are not just goals. They usually have some type of experience or feeling associated with them. The goals somehow express your core values and beliefs. Extrinsic goals are more of a means to an end. They help you achieve something outside of yourself.


These can be done to obtain approval or validation from others or at least outside yourself. Medals, obtaining wealth, and becoming famous are all examples of extrinsic goals.

Intrinsic goals, which come from within, can be more powerful and enhance your sense of well-being more than extrinsic goals, which come from external factors. When assessing your goals, it is crucial to understand their motivation. A combination of intrinsic and extrinsic goals works best, with intrinsic goals forming the foundation and extrinsic goals adding some competitive fire to your attitude. Intrinsic goals are like the diesel engine that keeps you moving. In contrast, extrinsic goals are the nitro tank occasionally boosting power and speed.


EXAMPLES OF THE TWO ORIGINS OF GOALS:


I find it highly rewarding to master the nuances of my performance in any given activity. Whether it's planning, pre-training, training, pre-competition, or during the actual competition itself, I love the feeling of being in a state of flow, where each action seems almost effortless. For me, the feeling of mastery and perfect execution is more important than speed, pace, heart rate, or power. This is a significant intrinsic goal, a big part of the commando culture I have internalized. Perfection was always the standard, and small mistakes had dire consequences.

Another goal is to win my age group for the 24-hour solo Adventure Racing Championships. This is an extrinsic goal that I have set for myself, and I am working hard towards achieving it.


TYPES OF GOALS:



When setting goals, it's essential to understand that there are two types of goals: outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals are what you want to achieve and depend on external factors that may be beyond your control. Even if you perform perfectly, you may not achieve your outcome goal. That's why it's crucial to set process goals. These goals focus on the actions you need to take and what you can control to get closer to your outcome goals. You can guide your daily, weekly, and seasonal actions by establishing vital process goals. This will help create GRIT and make you more resilient when external events affect your outcomes. You will be able to roll with the punches, knowing that you have done everything possible and performed to the best of your ability. By focusing on process goals, you can accept that external events are beyond your control. However, you can still respond to them in the best way possible.



My Process for Setting Next Season Goals:


Instead of just leaving a blank worksheet for you to use, I will expose what I am doing for myself. I have a lot of different factors at play, and I will bring you all along for the ride. A key concept to remember is that uncertainty is inherent in life. The goals must be constantly assessed, evaluated, and adapted to fit your situation better.



"Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind." -Bruce Lee


STEP 1:

Identify your long-term goals


1)Mid-pack team finish at the Adventure Racing World Championships (5 years)

2) Win age group at the World Endurance Mountain Biking 24 Hour Solo World Championships (4 years)

3) Win age Group at the 24-Hour Solo Adventure Racing Championships (1 year)


STEP 2:

Based of life analysis and goal identify races for the season:


1: 24-Hour Solo Adventure Racing Championships Nov 24 (A RACE)

2: Fools Gold 54 miler MTB Race, early Sep (B Race)

3: Hogsback 12 Hr Adventure Race, June (A Race)

4: Southern Cross 50-mile Gravel Race, Mar (B Race)




Next year, I have planned two macrocycles with two "A" races and two "B" races. My focus will be the 24-Hour Solo Adventure Racing Championships in November 2024. This is my Primary


A race, and all other races will be leading toward this race. My second A race will be the Hogback Adventure Race in June. Each A Race will have a B race leading up to it about halfway through each macrocycle. The Macrocycles are about 24 weeks each, which is the maximum duration that can be sustained. The reality is that I will have to adjust these, so they will each be someplace between 18-24 weeks, depending on life. I just maxed the time out, knowing there is a lot of variability and uncertainty I will be working through this year with my family, job, and health. Much of this will be related to my shoulder's recovery from my surgery two weeks ago. This is known, and I am a competitive stress case, so this structure will allow me to flex and adapt without causing too much mental frustration this year.


STEP 3:

Assess other past performance factors that are relative before setting outcome and process goals for the year:


My performance could have been more efficient last season. I did an 8-hour race early on and spent 2 of the 8 hours messing with maps, food, and simply not moving. That's 25% of the race floating aimlessly. The same held for my 10-hour race. I never had a race plan or procedures for race morning route planning, setting up food at transition areas, map checks, transitions, filling water, etc. I made it up as I went and carried everything with me. No strength training or core work was done. Proper nutrition has always been on my mind, but it was not my priority. I dabbled but have yet to commit to a plan to improve my body composition. I raced on a charming but heavy enduro bike. Yes, my body fat needs to drop, but this thing killed me climbing.



STEP 4:

MAKE OUTCOME GOALS (The whats)


Based on racing and last season's training, I have established a few decent goals. These are challenging goals based on my current condition and situation. Still, they are obtainable with good planning, coaching, consistent training, and GRIT. The thought of putting the hard work in for these goals excites me.


General Goals:

  • Increase power to weight ration

    • Alter body composition

    • Incorporate regular and specific strength and core training

    • Get an XC Mtb Bike to race instead of my enduro bike



Outcome goals for the adventure races:

  • Collect at 90% of Check Points

  • Race every portion of the course

  • Maintain an average speed of over 5 MPH for the duration

    • Paddling: < 11 min/KM or 3.38 MPH

    • Trek/Run: < 15min/mi or 4 mph

    • Bike: 8 MPH

    • Average <10 min stopped time per every hour.


Outcome goals for the mountain bike races:

  • -Southern Cross:

    • Avg. pace of 7 MPH or greater

    • Body Fat less than 16 Percent


  • Fools Gold:

    • Finish in 6 hrs 30 minutes

    • Average pace greater than 8 MPH

    • Body Fat percent 13-15 percent


STEP 5:

MAKE PROCESS GOALS (the how):


General goal.

  • Development of mastery of Adventure Racing (increased efficiency)

    • Develop and implement some type of operational checklist for all aspects of AR.

    • Race Morning route planning

    • TA set up

    • logistics during race

    • Refueling, and water filling

    • TA procedures

    • Map Checks and contingencies.

    • These will all be planned and rehearsed physically and mentally. Print hard copies of the lists and laminate them.


Daily process goals:

  • Heart Rate Variability test upon waking every morning to monitor response to stress and training

  • Daily weight in

  • Log all food taken in on the My Fitness Pal application

  • Fill out an analog nutrition daily tracker for training fuel tracking

  • Be present and keep goals in mind when assessing the origin of the desire to eat (emotional or fuel)

  • 30-minute mobility/visualization (focus on mastery of motion in transitions and possible stop points on race)

  • Focus on mastery of every aspect of training and fueling. Don't mindlessly do tasks. Be aware, analyze the situation, formulate a plan, act then reassess the outcome.


Weekly process goals:

  • Two medium-intensity workouts (Bike, Run)

  • Two High-Intensity workouts (Bike and Run)

  • Two long workouts (Bike and Run)

  • Two Easy workouts (Bike and Run)

  • Three Physical Therapy sessions a week to rehabilitate the shoulder

  • Two Strength and core training sessions

  • Maintain an 80/20 balance in overall weekly training

  • Adjust willingly

  • Trust the process

  • Do something fun once a week with the family


This is what I have for now. My shoulder is still unknown regarding when I can start paddling again or get back on the mountain bike. The trainer works well for now, but I will need to start doing some climbs, make that a priority, and add to weekly goals shortly.


All this can be done independently, but it is highly time-consuming, and our emotional attachment to everything involved makes it difficult to remain unbiased and objective. One of the most significant difficulties in training is controlling all the little life crises that arise and can derail your plans. At Commando Culture Endurance, our background in Special Operations makes us uniquely skilled at handling and advising you through all the crazy contingencies that arise and try to take your season away. Don't do this alone; endurance sports are challenging enough, and having us on your team will significantly increase your chances of successfully completing your mission and reaching your goals. We will help you become a master at your passion and live an adventurous and fulfilling life.


Contact us now to analyze and develop your goals and plan for next season. As always, SEEK COMBAT in all you do.



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