For Endurance Athletes the winter holiday’s provide a unique opportunity to reflect on the past season and all that has been accomplished. In short it is the best time of year to evaluate all our experiences from 2017 in something of a "year in review".
Whats more, this “year in review” should include and address the ways in which we fell short of the goals that were set at the beginning of the year.
In an effort to take this casual observance of our season successes and failures further, we encourage all Athletes to document this process.
For those new to the process of performing a “year in review”, we offer the following outline that can help every Athlete bring their 2017 adventures into focus, so that 2018 can see you achieve your very best.
Write it down and make it large! Documenting your "year in review" is the best way to ensure 2018 is filled with success. Photo Credit: The Energy Lab
Section 1: What Were Your 2017 Goals?
Before a proper evaluation of the season can take place, it is important to have a starting point, i.e. the goals you set at the beginning of the year.
If you did not write down your goals at the beginning of 2017, you are not alone, but take this opportunity to commit to doing so for 2018, and beyond!
To start, grab a blank sheet of paper and write down the goals you outlined for yourself at this time last year. Do this even if you have not previously written down your goals or if they were only ever committed to memory.
Section 2: Season Highlights & What Went Well
On that same sheet of paper, write down all the things that went well this year.
Write down 1-3 highlights from your cycling season. What are you most proud of?
What was your best performance? Was there more than one?
Take some time to reflect on all the positive things that you accomplished this season.
As a bonus, close your eyes and re-live each of these positive experiences through intense visualization.
How do these successes make you feel? Write it down!
Do you recall the excitement and nerves you had on the day of your goal-event? Photo Credit: Brian McCulloch
Section 3: Season Lowlights & What Did Not Got Well
Continuing our theme, on the same sheet of paper, write down all the things that did not go well during the season.
What was your worst performance or training day? Was there more than one?
Were your toughest days the result of insufficient physical preparation? Or was there an outside factor or multiple factors at play (possibly work stress?) that caused these performances to be out of character?
After you have written down these lackluster experiences, take the process further and write 1-3 causes for these poor performances.
To make this a positive and productive experience, take ownership of these performances by outlining solutions and ways you could have changed these experiences into positive performances.
In most cases, our poor performances can be traced to a small handful of causes, most of which are in our control.
Examples include, insufficient warm-up, poor fueling or hydration, equipment or mechanical failures, improper pacing, and more.
Write down the ways you could have changed these poor performances into successes!
Section 4: In What Areas Can You Grow To Make Next Season Better?
This is a particularly important step, as it challenges us to look for ways to improve the processes we use to be successful.
Would more training, or more specific training, help you be your best?
Would a more disciplined training plan or event-day routine see you perform optimally?
Would you benefit from a greater appreciation for recovery techniques, both active and passive, to produce more potent and powerful efforts?
Could you have utilized smaller “tune-up” events to help you stay motivated and evaluate your progress toward your larger, season goal?
Write down the areas you see the opportunity to grow or improve upon.
Are you unsure of how you could have improved or what processes you can change in order to be more successful? That’s OK!
These are great questions to ask your coach, trust us, they will be very excited to help you look for more effective ways to make the most of your training time and help you be your best!
Every podium performance started as dream. With purposeful training and a little grit you are sure to see more success in 2018! Photo Credit: Cynthia Sjogren
Section 5: Putting It All Together & Looking Ahead
Now that you have a sheet full of reflection and done an honest “year in review”, the next step is to answer these questions:
What can I do today, this week, and this month to minimize my chances of repeating the lackluster performances of 2017?
What can I do today, this week, and this month to set myself up to make 2018 my best season yet?
As a bonus, and to keep the momentum going, write down 1-3 goals for the 2018 season, and be sure to use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.
Goals should be: “S”- Specific, “M”- Measurable, “A”- Achievable, “R”- Realistic, & “T”- Timely
Whether your season goals were centered around a national championship event, a 100-mile MTB race, a regional criterium series, or simply achieving your best fitness for a milestone birthday, reflecting on what helped you be successful and what areas are open for improvement can go a long way to making the 2018 season your best yet.
At Big Wheel Coaching we think the “off-season” is one of the most exciting times of year as we help our Athletes address deficiencies and implement better processes within their training to maximize workout effectiveness. It's a great time to start planning for next year!
We’ll close with this notion about goals:
"As Athletes, it is customary to discuss our aspirations for success, and although aspirations are akin to goals, aspirations are dreams, goals require planning."
Armed with a completed “year in review” you are certain to find ways to take your training to the next-level, develop motivating goals, and perform to your highest potential in 2018!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching