The setting and achieving of goals should be an on-going process. One that evolves depending on what you've achieved in the past, what is going on in the current, and where you would like to see yourself in the future. If you have a "stale" goal list...it will most likely be reflected in your training and day-to-day.
One of the biggest hurdles comes after completing an "A" race. You've put hours and hours of focus into one race for months. You race the race...and then the question becomes "now what?". This can be a sticky spot. Most of us can feel tired and ready for a break after an A-race...because so much effort and focus was put into it. So, if we don't make an effort to look beyond, we will find ourselves sitting on the couch for weeks after the race and we'll wake up a month later and wish we hadn't let that much time slip!
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't take a break. Enjoy some time off from training after completing your "A" race -- it is important for the longevity of your triathlon lifestyle. BUT -- have a good idea of when the "time off" should come to an end or when you want to start building back into things. Have a game plan. Set these post-race goals. (and my advice...set these post A-race goals before your A-race. I know...I know...we've got to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by what comes after it. But, at the same time, having an idea or a sense of what will come after your race can be empowering and calming as you head into your race).
Some suggestions on how to incorporate rest and variety into post A-race life...while holding onto the great fitness that you spent so much time and energy building:
- Take a full week or two off. You won't get "out of shape" that quickly!
- Switch the focus from feeling like you have to achieve certain times or paces at your workouts to focusing completely on technique and skill. Take some of the 'pressure' off.
- Spend a majority of your workouts training your favorite sport. OR, conversely, spend the time training your worst sport. For example: my worst sport out of the three is the running....so I would run 4-5 short runs each week and then just bike or swim when I feel like it.
- Add some "non-triathlon" training into your weekly routine -- yoga, rock climbing, weight lifting, kayaking -- try some other things that will still allow you to stay fit!
- Have a 2-week cycle -- spend 2 weeks working on swimming; 2 weeks working on cycling; 2 weeks working on running. -- this sort of variety will seem very refreshing and allow for a simple focus.
And, at the end of the day, my goal for all my athletes is that they embrace triathlon as a "lifestyle"....not just something they do so they can finish a race. You will get the most out of what triathlon has to offer if you think of it this way.