Setting Race Goals & Analyzing Race Results August 23, 2019 19:47 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Goal Creation & Assessment of Performance Ultimately, triathlon events are not able to be simply defined in terms of placement in your age group or specific times, making goal creation and assessment of performance relatively challenging. Even success criteria such as winning your age group, making a podium, or qualification to a World Championships are still determined by more than an excellent performance by you. For this reason, I like most goals for athletes to be based on longer term athlete development and personal criteria, rather than pure times or placements. Reasons For Getting Out Of Bed Becoming the best I can be I want to win an IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 race I want to qualify to the Hawaii (Kona) IRONMAN I want to finish an IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 race The first one - "becoming the best I can be" - should be the heartbeat of goal creation and executing around that goal is the surest path to maximize your likelihood of success. Definable Goals Interestingly, many of my elite athletes don't have clearly defined goals and objectives beyond becoming the very best they can be. We aim to make the quest a personal journey of excellence. Don't be confused, many of my pros have dreams of IRONMAN wins, a World Championship, more sponsors, etc, but they also understand that the surest path to success and satisfaction is via the personal excellence route. The reason for this is very similar to why, on race day, we avoid having athletes think about the outcomes, and instead focus on the process. If then, as can happen, someone else comes along and out-performs them fair and square, they do not deem themselves a failure. How Can I Track My Improvements While times in a race are interesting metrics (see below), they are not the best metrics to determine improvement. Going under 11 hours in an IRONMAN Breaking 4 hours in a marathon off the bike Breaking 2.5 hours in an Olympic distance We race triathlons on courses that are not always accurate (the swim can be too long/short), on varying terrain, in varying conditions. Add to this the potential drafting on the bike in some races, and the importance of times can begin to be diluted. As an example, if you manage to finish IRONMAN Florida (a flat and fast course) in 10 hours and 59 minutes, you have gone sub 11. Great stuff! If you then choose to head to IRONMAN Lake Tahoe the following year, which is very hilly and at an altitude 7,000 feet, I promise you that an 11 hour and 5-minute performance is far superior there than the Florida time. Analyzing The Field The most objective data point for success should be comparing your results relative to the better athletes in the field and your age group (in each discipline and overall). For the metrics-obsessed, I encourage athletes to do a little data crunching and review some of the results of their races. Tracking them over time can tell a compelling picture. Let's use an example. You race an IRONMAN 70.3. How did you do? 1. Review the top 3 to 5 swim performances in your age group (and/or overall) 2. Review the top 3 to 5 bike performances in your age group (and/or overall) 3. Review the top 3 to 5 run performance in your age group (and/or overall) 4. Review the top 3 to 5 finishing times Then repeat the process but for the average performance in your age group. Now you can stack your swim, bike, and run performances, as well as your overall performance, relative to your age group best and average performances. This will give you a consistent measurement of how you did relative to your peers and will act as a comforting and a consistent way to assess how you are progressing race over race. That said, we don't have to make this sport all about the quantified self and can just love the process as much as anything else. I always hear athletes who are overly obsessed with the question 'how am I going to know if I did great', but following almost every race, in their gut, they have a pretty good idea if they hit it out of the park or had a bit of a disaster. Of course, we like the 'hitting out of the park' much more. Related articles The Long Term Performance Lens and Season Planning Why Purple Patch Does Not Leverage TSS, TSB, CTL, ATL, etc. Scores Race Day Habits High Intensity in the Winter What is Bounding?