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setting goals

Old 10-04-11, 07:50 PM
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Wreader
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setting goals

I have been signing up for monthly mileage goals and so far am doing pretty well.. Not perfect, but better than I expected. I notice that some people set high goals in the "hopes" of reaching them, and some set lower goals with a good chance of reaching them, and some people set really low goals and smash them, and then some. How do you set goals for yourself? I think that I am competitive enough that I like having a goal, but if the goal is too high, I can get easily discouraged. I think if the goal were too low, it would make me meet it and then slack off. What is the thinking on this subject? I have never heard anything beyond "what you are comfortable with" or "what works for you..." is there more to it?
Thanks.
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Old 10-04-11, 08:34 PM
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I've been setting an annual goal rather than monthly ones. My usual official goal is what I rode last year + 1 mile. Thus far I have managed to best that goal by a decent amount each year. Had I been setting monthly goals, I would have been sorely disappointed in April and May of this year when we had record rainfall each month.
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Old 10-05-11, 03:37 AM
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For me, it really is nothing more than what works and what I'm comfortable with. Discovering what works and what is comfortable, well, now that's the problem.

Goals that are out of whack with what's achievable in reality are really counter-productive for me. Too high and I just give up, sometimes before even starting. Too low and it doesn't seem worthwhile. I also refuse to beat myself up over them, nor do I ride for the exclusive purpose of racking up miles towards them.

Weather makes a big difference around here. I build up an annual goal based on 12 monthly ones that take the climate into account. In fact, I build up the monthly goals based on weekly ones. Through the winter months, my goal is only my basic transport needs of about 50 miles a week. Come summer, I figure treble that. Then I adjust from there. I always seem to run out of steam in August, and I always seem to make that up in September and October.

As of the beginning of the month, I was 145 miles behind towards where I "ought" to be to meet the annual goal, due to the excessively hot July and running out of steam in August. It's easy to catch that up a little at a time between now and January.
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Old 10-05-11, 04:49 AM
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My goal for the past few years has been to ride lots and have fun with it. I have to work at it sometimes, but I have achieved it every year and I am on track for this year.
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Old 10-05-11, 05:05 AM
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I am like chasm54. My goals are very much event based. In the past, they have been randonnees, and as a result I have achieved several significant national and international awards.

I've been in a hiatus for the past two years or so, but now I am back planning for another ranonneuring goal or award, plus Machka and I are planning a 7 Peaks Challenge. We are about to start a new randonneuring season (on 1 November), and we already are planning several events in the 300 and 400km distances. The 7 Peaks Challenge, which can be ridden at any time, starts at the end of this month and finishes at the end of March.

In the coming years, I also want to include a few decent tours in our riding. And I want to get down to 85kg or less, from my current 90kg.

I have a projected annual total on my distance log, and at the moment it says I should expect to cover almost 7,000km for the year. We'll see...
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Old 10-05-11, 05:35 AM
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I ride for exercise and enjoyment and I'm not training for an event or competing so I have no goals. I do log my rides in a spreadsheet (distance, average time, temp., etc) so I know what I've done, but I make no attempt to outdo a previous month or year. Somehow setting a goal would make it like work.....and I retired this year. Actually I do have one goal -- to ride long enough to burn the calories from the ice cream or pie I stop for on the ride.
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Old 10-05-11, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
My goal for the past few years has been to ride lots and have fun with it. I have to work at it sometimes, but I have achieved it every year and I am on track for this year.
+1. I find if I keep at it then I'm ready for any event I might be doing, or at least close enough so that I can get ready quickly.
I don't track mileage or even have an odometer but I know I do between 5 and 6k miles per year.
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Old 10-05-11, 10:08 AM
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BD has exactly the right idea.

I used to do a ride that was hard on the mountain bike. It is recognised as the hardest Offroad ride in one day in the UK and in between 94 and 97 I had done it 7 times. 97 finished me though and I started being one of the Marshalls for the last 10 mile section. 99 and I had a bypass and a couple of years later- just as I was re-attaing full fitness- I had Prostate cancer and Surgery. Then in 2002 I got a Tandem and a Co-rider and we decided in November that we would do that ride on the sponsored ride in June 2003.

You want a target and that is one to go for. A Ride that has a reputation for being hard and when I last did it 6 years before- it nearly finished me. We had to train for that ride- 50 miles at weekends-couple of nights of 30 miles and Gym sessions twice a week. That was from January onwards and we got full fitness by the time the event came up. We became the first Tandem to finish the event in the years it had been run- plenty had started but none had ever finished.

Now it does depend on what you want to do for your target. All I wanted was to prove to myself that I had got over my problems. May not have convinced myself as I did it for the next 3 years aswell but 2006 saw the end of this ride for me. That one did hurt and I found the easier way of keeping my fitness and bought a road bike.

I retire next year and "Hope" to get back to Ventoux- or at least the Alps. If I can then training will restart to get some more mountains in on my holidays. But first target for me now is to retire.
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Old 10-05-11, 10:46 AM
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I am in the "it depends on what drives you" camp on this one. What works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me. Also, for me anyway, life has a way of messing up my plans so I tend to keep my goals shorter-term. That way, when life gets in the way and I don't reach my goal mileage this week, it won't torpedo the entire month or year.
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Old 10-05-11, 10:54 AM
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Everyone is different, but I tend to set goals that are very difficult, but hopefully not impossible, to attain. Not easy to figure them out, but that's what pushes me the best. As I'm a newbie racer, those goals have to do with power output, bike handling, endurance, nutrition and general fitness, etc. Knowing I'm making progress towards the long term goal is enough positive reinforcement, and I use that, rather than frequent shorter term goals. As an example, one of my goals is to be able to generate an average of 300 watts of power for 60 minutes. I believe that to be a difficult, but attainable, goal. So long as I am increasing my average power at a decent pace, I feel good about it. Setting intermediate goals would be difficult, as it's hard to say exactly how my power should ramp up as I move towards that 300 number. So shorter term goals of less power could be counter-productive.

I don't set mileage or hours goals. Those are the results of working to achieve the goals; not goals in and of themselves. And I want to train smart, so setting a goal to train a certain amount seems wrong-headed. My goals are cycling ability related; miles are just one part of getting there.
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Old 10-05-11, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
I am in the "it depends on what drives you" camp on this one. What works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me.
+1
What I said about my approach to goals is in no way meant to suggest that anyone else should do the same.
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Old 10-05-11, 11:31 AM
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I had a goal of riding 50 California double centuries and that pushed me from 2003 until 2011, but now that I've done it, I'm feeling rather goal-less. Sure, there's another award for 100 CA doubles, but that just seems so far away . . .

I do keep track of my rides, on an excel spreadsheet, plus my Garmin Connect, and it usually works out to a bit over 6,000 mi. per year; but I don't have any other mileage goals.

In other news, I have heard rumors that there is more to life than cycling. I know, strange, but it could be true. Maybe I'll try doing some things that aren't on a bike. Could that be a goal?

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Old 10-05-11, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I had a goal of riding 50 California double centuries and that pushed me from 2003 until 2011, but now that I've done it, I'm feeling rather goal-less. Sure, there's another award for 100 CA doubles, but that just seems so far away . . .

I do keep track of my rides, on an excel spreadsheet, plus my Garmin Connect, and it usually works out to a bit over 6,000 mi. per year; but I don't have any other mileage goals.

In other news, I have heard rumors that there is more to life than cycling. I know, strange, but it could be true. Maybe I'll try doing some things that aren't on a bike. Could that be a goal?

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I ride with a guy that wants to ride 50 California double centuries! I have 1 (the Grand Tour Lowland route in 2011). I hope to qualify for the Triple Crown jersey next year (yay Bullshifters for travelling to so many of those rides). That is my goal, but it depends on a work schedule that will support it.
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Old 10-05-11, 12:12 PM
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Cycling is a fun hobby for me, therefore I set high but flexible goals. For example; I set the goal of 500 miles per month, but work schedule, family time committments, etc... sometimes ( most of the time) interfere with achieving this goal, so I remain flexible in my persuit of the goal. So when the end of the month rolls around and I'm still approaching my usual 350 miles, I'm not too dissapointed.
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Old 10-05-11, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by az_cyclist View Post
Yay Bullshifters for travelling to so many of those rides.
Yes az_cyclist,

The Bullshifters are a great club and you are very lucky to have such a wonderful group of riders with whom to share your cycling adventures. I have ridden many miles with many Bullshifters (quite a lot with a large group of Bullshifters on the Grand Tour Highland last year) and they are all wonderful people!

Good luck to you on your Triple Crown and to your friend on The Hall of Fame!

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Old 10-05-11, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
My goal for the past few years has been to ride lots and have fun with it. I have to work at it sometimes, but I have achieved it every year and I am on track for this year.
Yes!!
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Old 10-05-11, 10:09 PM
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I set goals each year but I do not sweat it if I miss one. For example, I may want to enter an event. If I choose to do something else, I carry on. I like to have events drive my cycling. For example, I wanted to race in all the LAVRA track races this year at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. My training/cycling supported those races.

I keep track of hours and efforts on the bike versus miles. Miles are fine but I like to have so much time per ride in a particular power zone. So if the power is lower then the miles are less. If I am doing efforts on a hill or at the track, then the miles are less since I am resting between efforts with very little motion. The great news about personal goals is that if you miss them, you are the only one that cares.

With respect to setting harder or easier goals, I try to set realistic ones. However, I tend to set very tough goals when it comes to riding and training with people. I like to ride with the best people with the most talent. Inevitably, that means I end up with the least talent and lag. However, something magical happens when I am around very successful people. I mimic their habits and my game is upped better than I could do it on my own. If I hang out with less talented people my performance drops to theirs. It may be just me but knowing this, I try to surround myself with great competitors. Therefore, I really have extreme stretch goals when I am with them.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:24 AM
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I don't really set goals.
I do want to ride my birthday this weekend (50 miles).
I did set a goal to ride 75 miles on September 24 2011 (Bike MS City to Shore ride). Which I did accomplish.
My Fuji 3.0 Newest was purchased back in May 2011, I have put a little under 800 miles on it, I'd like to see over 1000 miles by the end of the year.

I do what is just outside my comfort zone (sometimes). I keep in mind that I haven't ridden a bike in 30 years and in that time I became a 3 pack a day smoker (2 years quit on January 23rd 2012)
I say do what feels right for YOU!
We are ALL different with one common goal - to get and stay healthy. Ride on!
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Old 10-06-11, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
In other news, I have heard rumors that there is more to life than cycling. I know, strange, but it could be true. Maybe I'll try doing some things that aren't on a bike. Could that be a goal?

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That's just crazy talk.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:30 AM
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Goals basically suck. It's just more boring linear thinking, like raising expectations so that you can be disappointed when you let yourself down because you didn't make it, then spend an inordinate amount of time beating yourself up about it, when you could just be having fun and smelling the roses instead. Life is too short for goals. Been there, done that.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:46 AM
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My mileage goal for this year was 5000 miles. So far I am just approaching 3000 so it is looking like I won't make it this year. We had a long lousy winter and a major summer event that cut into my cycling. I also set a goal of my first century. That also fell short because of time constraints. I did do 81 miles so that was some compensation. Goals can be a pain and intrude on one's enjoyment and satisfaction but like anything else worth doing (keeping weight under control, saving, etc.) unless you monitor your activity I don't know how else you can progress and attain a feeling of accomplishment.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:47 AM
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I tend to set short term goals, long term goals and where I want to be goals. The short term goals are obtainable with effort or good planning. I don't usually reach long term goals because when I start to close the gap I'll reset the goal. The short and long term goals reflect the "where I want to be" goals.
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Old 10-06-11, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
My goal for the past few years has been to ride lots and have fun with it. I have to work at it sometimes, but I have achieved it every year and I am on track for this year.
Hear, hear!

Setting goals sounds like too much like a job for me. I have enough goal driven activity in my life - "management by objective".

I recently got back on a bike after decades without riding. I loved riding, and started increasing my distance - probably a little too quickly. Then I started setting goals, at least 40 miles on this ride, 50 miles on that ride. If my goal was 40 miles, and I did 35, then I felt some sense of defeat. So instead of enjoying the fact that I was outside on a bike, exercising and breathing fresh air, I would feel a little dejected because I did't achieve my "goal".

That's crazy talk.

Getting on the bike was becoming a chore. It also lead to less saddle time. If I had a riding goal for the day, and something came up so that I didn't have the time to achieve that goal, then I wouldn't ride at all. So if I planned a 3 hour ride, and some work or family issue meant that I only had 45 minutes, I wouldn't ride at all.

That's crazy behavior.

My new goal: avoid setting goals - focus on the joy getting back on a bike, and riding the bike for as many errands as possible.
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Old 10-06-11, 08:16 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by jtaylor2 View Post
I ride for exercise and enjoyment and I'm not training for an event or competing so I have no goals. I do log my rides in a spreadsheet (distance, average time, temp., etc) so I know what I've done, but I make no attempt to outdo a previous month or year. Somehow setting a goal would make it like work.....and I retired this year. Actually I do have one goal -- to ride long enough to burn the calories from the ice cream or pie I stop for on the ride.
+1.

Except I occasionally substitute a post-ride beer for the ice cream or pie. I'm going to hit maybe 500 or 600 miles for the calendar year. Not a lot by most standards, for sure, but with my time constraints of fatherhood, employment and home upkeep, I'm satisifed. Yeah, that spreadsheet thing - just another outlet for the OCD that I so carefully keep hidden!
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Old 10-06-11, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by stonefree View Post
Goals basically suck. It's just more boring linear thinking, like raising expectations so that you can be disappointed when you let yourself down because you didn't make it, then spend an inordinate amount of time beating yourself up about it, when you could just be having fun and smelling the roses instead. Life is too short for goals. Been there, done that.
People differ. I no longer have material goals but without goals of some sort, there'd be nothing to stop me having my first drink before midday, and call me old-fashioned (in fact, order me an old-fashioned) but I don't think that's a great idea.

As for goals in cycling, mostly cycling is about smelling the roses, yes, it is an end in itself rather than a means to something else. But part of it for me is that I enjoy the physical challenge of making it tough from time, I like to push myself. Plus, the smelling the roses bit is more enjoyable when I'm fit, I can go further and higher and smell more of them in nicer and different places. So my cycling goals aren't burdensome, they are integral to my enjoyment.
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