The key to any successful paddle training program (and most things in life!) is setting goals. Once you have assessed your physical fitness and paddling speed, you need to set goals for your paddle training and racing. Setting goals is one of the first things we do with members working with Paddle Society coach’s to create a customized paddle training program. Setting goals will help you maintain focus throughout paddle training and racing, while also giving milestones and rewards to help continue progression.
To be most effective with your paddling goals, decide how much time you will commit to training and then assess your physical fitness and paddling. Take into account your lifestyle, family, work, athletic experience and health before assessing fitness and establishing goals. Grab a sheet of paper and pen and get ready for some introspection!
Ask Yourself These Questions
How much time can I realistically train each week?
How much time do I want to spend with my family?
How much training is healthy for my body to handle?
What kind of sacrifices am I willing to make to maximize my training?
Paddle Society members will fill out a membership questionnaire with similar questions so that our coaches can create the right customized training program for you and get to know you better.
Big Picture Goals
Long term goals
These goals include what you ultimately want to achieve with your paddling participation. Examples of long term goals can include competing in the Molokai to Oahu race, beating a personal record time on a certain course or simply getting in shape. These are important goals, but should not be focused on too often in the beginning of your daily paddle training.
Seasonal goals are the milestones you want to accomplish in the coming season, such as winning a race series or reaching a higher level of competition. These goals are important because they will determine all subsequent goals that you set.
Competition goals designate how you want to perform in a particular event during the season. Competition goals might include a certain placing in a specific race or beating a particular paddler you have never beaten. Competition goals are important because attaining them should lead to reaching your seasonal goals.
Training goals indicate what you need to do in your training that will help you reach your competitive goals. These goals might include developing technique, increasing race pace, perfecting beach starts or training more days per week.
Lifestyle goals specify what you need to do in your general lifestyle to reach the goals above. Lifestyle goals might include things such as eating better or getting more sleep.
A 10,000 mile journey starts with one step. You can improve your motivation and the quality of training each day by setting small goals. These goals describe exactly what you want to accomplish during each training session. Before each training session, ask yourself, “What do I want to improve on today?”. Small goals are a great way to put all of your focus and intensity into each training session. These goals are all about helping you work smarter, not harder.
When setting goals, it is important to follow certain guidelines to help maximize their value.
- Goals should be challenging, yet realistic and attainable. They should be reachable, but only with hard work.
- Goals should be specific, measurable and time-limited. For example, an ineffective goal is, “I want to get faster”, whereas a valuable goal is, “I want to improve my 1-mile time by 1-minute in the next 3 months.”
- Remember to focus on the degree, instead of the absolute attainment, of your goals. You will not reach all of your goals, but there will always be improvement toward a goal. By emphasizing measurable improvement, changes in performance can be tracked and progress can be rewarded. I enjoy a nice big piece of chocolate cake when I feel like I am making progress toward my goals!
- Goals should be reevaluated and updated regularly. Some goals may turn out to be too easy and must be made more difficult. Other goals may have been set too high and must be adjusted downward.
- Goal setting is a process where there is never really an end. When one goal is reached, a new higher goal should be made.
What are some of your paddling goals? Complete Molokai to Oahu, finish your first race or lose weight and get fit? Let us know and join the conversation on the Paddle Society Forum!