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Training with a goal in mind

Martijn Veltkamp explores the deeper thought processes around improving your sports performance
Did you set sportive goals for this season? If you did, than you can compliment yourself, since it is known that setting yourself the right goals will improve performance. It does matter though, how exactly you formulate your goals. Here you will find some tips and tricks for good goal-setting.

1. Limit the amount of goals: A max of around 3 goals is fine. It is much more motivating and focused if you for example focus solely on the New York marathon, than if you would want to perform well in many events throughout the season.

2. Define your milestones: After defining your main goal, you can motivate yourself even better by splitting this in small milestones; your subgoals. An example would be participation in some half marathons in preparation for your main goal in New York. Another advantage: the subgoals allow you to easily monitor your progress.
3. Be SMART: This will probably sound familiar from your workplace, but it applies in sports as well. Be sure to set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound goals. Especially challenging is to make sure your goal is specific enough (what exactly do you want to achieve?) and realistic (compared to your earlier achievements & training ability).

4. Look beyond results only: Many people tend to set result goals like ‘top 10’ or ‘within 2 hours’. To perform well it is important to also set yourself process goals: how do you want to attain your goal? An example would be the way you build your race, or your technique.

5. Be flexible: Barriers to achieve your goals -like injury- can always pop-up, also while training. If you are fixed on one goal, this can be very demotivating. Therefore make sure you also define a plan B; ‘what if’. And look at your subgoals; often you will find there are many ways leading to Rome, so make sure you know them.