Goal-Setting: A Double-Edged Sword

Since getting to Henderson last month, we’ve taken my training to the next level. I’m training more than I ever had and handling more quality work. I feel like I’m a different athlete even from who I was a month ago.

However, I’ve found that there’s a fine line between striving for a goal with everything you've got and letting it become all-encompassing. As I enter my first pro season, I am seeking growth and speed to step up to a new level of racing. I am continually toggling between shooting for our next target swim/run split and doing what I know I should: focusing on the process and trusting that it will get me where I need to be.

Go time!

Go time!

At times, I catch myself falling prey to the judgment/frustration/feeling of “failure” that can arise from coming just short of a session goal time and again. We’ve all had these moments. Those thoughts of: “I’m NEVER going to get there."

But then, when I take a step back, I realize the progress I’ve made along the way. As an example, last Saturday we did a main set in the pool of 5x200 all out. I knew the goal I set for the 200’s was aggressive, but it would either be JUST in reach, or JUST out of it. Turns out it was just out of it. Half way through the set, I nearly lost focus in my frustration of not hitting my target…. And then I realized I had just done the three fastest 200s in my life. Back to back! I may have fallen short but I found success along the way. And THAT is fuel for the fire to hit my target next time.

Lookin for water!

Lookin for water!

One guiding principal that I have taken from my yoga practice is that the greatest success (and happiness) will come from focusing on the task at hand and doing it the best you can. The rest is just distraction. Ultimately, that’s all we can do each day in training – execute to the fullest extent. Focus in on the present and the future will take care of itself.

As the coach of Katie Ledecky (world record holder in the 400, 800, and 1500 meter freestyle AND Olympic gold medalist) said, “Katie fails in the practice environment more than anyone in the group: sometimes she fails spectacularly.” And look where that’s gotten her!