Goal Setting for Athletes – Start with Why

It’s the time of year when we all start making our ambitious athletic goals for the upcoming racing calendar. Here are some helpful goal setting tips to ensure you don’t forget your goals as quickly as you thought them up!

Goal Setting – Start with ‘Why’.

Saying you want to run a marathon, ride around Taupo or do an Ironman under a certain time is great, but why do you want to do these crazy things?

Your why might be that you want to push yourself to new limits. Maybe you want to commit to a more intense training schedule. It could be that you want to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Each of these ‘whys’ have nothing to do with time, placing or distance. What most people think are their goals are actually the outcome of their true goal. Think of your outcome goal as more of a motivational factor as opposed to the pinnacle of what you want to achieve.

The problem with focusing on an outcome goal is that you have no control over it.

Injury, weather, family, work and everything else can quickly derail your outcome goal. However, if your goal is to push yourself to new limits, then each time a minor setback occurs, you can easily look at the issue as a new way to find your limits. Doing this can help you to continue on the path towards your major event. You can then compete knowing that, regardless of the outcome, you have prepared in the best way possible for you.

performance advantage process goal setting

Break it down into manageable chunks

Once you’ve got your why, you can start breaking it down into more manageable chunks. The smallest chunk being daily, then weekly, monthly and yearly, depending on when your key event is. These goals can change and progress as you build closer to your key event.

Example Daily Goal:

Each day I’m going to choose the healthy food option as this will help me push my limits, adopt a healthy lifestyle and run/ride faster.

Example Weekly Goal:

I will complete a minimum of 2 hrs of body maintenance and 30 min of technique work every week. This will help me to avoid injury and improve my running economy.

Example Monthly Goal:

Complete at least 80% of my assigned workouts. The more consistent I can be with my training, the more prepared I will be for my race.

Putting it all together into one process driven goal

Now that you’ve got your why, your how and your motivation, you’re ready to put your goal together and start the process to achieve it.


This year I want to improve as a runner, so I’m going to attempt to run a sub 4 hr marathon. My daily goals are to get to bed before 11 p.m. and to make healthy food choices. My weekly goals are to run on at least 4 days and to ride to work at least twice per week. My monthly goal for this month is to not drink alcohol.


If you need help setting your own goals or would like a personalised training plan, contact Will today will@performanceadvantage.co.nz