Goal setting is an important, important thing. It could be called a skill – right up there with cake-baking and staff fighting. You see, goals are the steps we take to accomplish dreams. Our choices are what make or break those goals. When I first started swimming, I didn’t know how to really train for anything, but I had learned an important thing about myself – I am a three part person. A body, a soul (my emotions and my mind), and a spirit (something more powerful than either my body or my soul). When you are setting any kind of goal –whether for physical activity or not – it’s important to keep those three parts of you in mind.
As a body, you have certain physical attributes, limitations, strengths, weaknesses, and environmental and circumstantial restraints. Time can be a physical limitation, right along with weather. So can injury and illness. When expecting things of your body, allow for a logical progression. Build on the foundations that you place, don’t be overly demanding. If you have only run 0.8 of a mile three times a week, don’t expect to suddenly jump up to running 5 miles twice a day. Understand that you need rest and recovery as much as anything else. Those are factors to be aware of when you set goals.
For me, personally, as a swimming body, I try to balance my long term goals with my short term goals. When I first started swimming, my ‘goal’ was more like just wondering how far I could go. For my first two events, my goal was to finish. Now, I have added time limits to my goals, so I have to balance how far I go with how fast I go. Right now, I am working a lot on speed. A lot. So my workouts are often shorter distances, but with more and more speed. I try to do a long set once a week, because my primary focus is speed and maintaining speed over distance. All the while, I have a weekly mileage that I like to keep and that I should maintain in order to be reasonably ready for my very busy summer. Read more