3. Create a race plan. You’ve now identified that you’re doing this for your own reasons. So what are those reasons? Likely they are goals you’ve set for yourself that you feel accomplishment and happiness in pursuing and achieving. Most likely, these goals have to do with either (1) what place you’ll finish, or (2) how fast you’ll go. The only problem with these goals is that a lot of what determines your ability to achieve them is outside of your control. Sure, I always want to win/podium/PR, but I don’t know who’s going to have a good day or a bad day, or what the conditions are going to be like. So it’s important to create a plan where success isn’t defined solely by an end goal out of your control. Welcome to “The Race Plan.”
For every race I set two or three mini-goals per leg that are completely under my control. I complete The Race Plan regardless of how I feel, what place I’m in, or how fast I’m going. That means most of the goals are “effort”-based, or even simple checklist items that keep me on track while racing. A few examples of race plan goals that I’ve set for myself this year are:
Increase my effort every quarter of the bike
Get to mile 10 on the run feeling relaxed
Slow down to get water at every aid station
Regardless of what place I’m in or how fast I’m going, these are things I can and will do to feel that I’m achieving “success” during my race. Personal productivity experts recommend making a checklist and physically checking off tasks as you complete them to feel a sense of satisfaction. This is the same idea. Ultimately, achieving the final goal—a PR, a top 10, whatever—may be determined by your competitors, the course conditions or just how you feel on that day. But you can gain a feeling of success regardless by simply following a plan and checking off items as you complete them.
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