We talk a ton about our goals at this time of year since most of us are fully committed to them and have organized our training around one or many very specific events. The goals we have are often based around two results: Completing and Competing.
Be it the first 5 or 10k run, sprint-distance triathlon or something longer like a century or half- or full-Ironman, most completing goals are distance-based events that challenge the mind and body. These completing goals are tougher for some than others depending on fitness or past experiences. I believe the first time you do anything outside your comfort zone your primary focus should be getting across the finish line healthy. This is often achieved, first, by working hard on your sport or fire pattern economy (pedal stroke, swim stroke, running stride) and, second, by investing the time necessary to achieve the fitness to make it to the finish line. This process often includes time spent working on the skills of cycling, running, swimming and teaching yourself to perform these movements efficiently. Focusing on good pedaling, running and swimming technique is critical, along with developing the strength and stability necessary to do these sports effectively and pain-free. Completing also involves slow, consistent increases in training volume each week, making sure you’re learning about aspects that go along with your event such as nutrition, bike skills, drafting, transition, open water, etc.
The other type of goal is a performance goal that usually involves a specific time, place or speed to achieve. Instead of a completer goal we call this a competer goal. In this scenario, oftentimes the athletes have done this type of event before, they just want to do it faster this go ’round. The training has all the same elements of the completer’s journey, but with a stronger focus on intensity as part of the training volume. Performance-based goals also dig deeper into the specifics of the event and focus on past experiences to determine areas of concentration for training focus. These areas are different for everyone and, if discovered and improved, should yield a better/faster result. They might be glaring weaknesses or a combination of little things like aerodynamics, pacing strategies, bike skills. The big thing with performance-based goals is to pinpoint those improvement areas and come up with a plan to fortify them.
Why am I talking about this?
Well, this year many VQers are doing the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race and I am going to be leading the charge with some very specific training this spring and summer for the event. We will have both competers and completers in the mix and it promises to be a true test of preparation and event day execution for everyone involved. With so many variables to contend with, we will need a real team effort to get everyone to the finish line. The challenges include the 104-mile event on mountain bikes, a reported 12,000 feet of climbing and an average event altitude of over 10,000 feet. Elements like these make this one of the most epic events you can do on a mountain bike. Many of us have not been on mountain bikes in years, if ever. The thought of learning a new skill and taking on a challenge so foreign is exciting to many of us. No matter who you are or how strong you think you might be, the first goal is to complete this challenge. But then you’ll hear the call of that little voice in the back of your head wanting to take the L out of that word and kick it up a notch. Here I must steal a line from Vision Quest(the movie): “I guess that’s why we got to love those people who deserve it like there’s no tomorrow. Cause when you get right down to it–there isn’t.” The journey for 30 of us starts this week. Wish us all luck. We will need it!
More to come…