Setting Your Athletic Goals for 2016 and Beyond!


2016 has begun and this winter has been extremely mild, making for great running and training conditions compared to last winter. If you haven't thought about your 2016 plans then don't wait any longer and get something concrete down on paper. A plan works best when you have some goals set, but that can be a difficult task. Follow these tips for creating goals that will challenge you, are attainable and keep you motivated to reach them.  You do not have to limit yourself to one goal so don't be afraid to come up with others.  The most

3KM in and 100m back from the leaders!

important thing to remember before starting is that nothing is written in stone and sometimes adjustments must be made to your goals. Training could be very successful and if you expect to reach your goal early, adjusting it to something more challenging might be necessary, or an illness could prevent you from training delaying the time frame you expect to reach it. Talking with your coach and having an open dialogue about your goals as well as your progress to achieving them is important. I will go through creating S.M.A.R.T. goals by starting with outcome goals for the long term and then short term and finally progress goals designed to mark your progress in reaching the outcome goals.

S M A R T Goals

When creating any of your goals you should always check them against the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to help ensure their successful completion.  

S - Simple: Keep your goal as simple as possible with only one thing to focus on accomplishing.  The more complicated it gets the harder it is to stay focused and things can spiral off track very easily.  "Run a Lions Valley Athletics record and PB in the 5, 000m & 10,000m." is an example of a complicated goal.  It can be simplified by separating the various elements into 2 different goals such as "Run a PB in the 10,000m." and "Run a Lions Valley Athletics record in the 5,000m." 

M - Measurable: Accomplishing a goal will take you from Point A to Point B but you have to be able to measure what you have accomplished to know if you completed it.  Reaching a new PB is a time measurement, while completing a race or workout is a distance measurement and both great options to use. A goal such as "Have a good race at Olympic Trials." is not measurable because its a vague descriptor and what a person defines as "good" can vary from day to day which means the exact same race on two different days could be good one day and not good the next day.  

A - Achievable: You want your goals to challenge you yet still be attainable.  If you are ranked top 5 in the province for your event then finishing top 3 at the provincial championship is definitely achievable. However finishing top 3 at an international event is not very achievable. A 1 min personal best in a 5KM race is not very achievable when your current personal best is 17:15 but it is very achievable when your current personal best is 26:42.

R - Realistic: Your goals should all be realistic.  Setting a new World Record is not realistic for your first race or season but setting a new personal best is very realistic. 

T - Timely: Every goal should be time-bound which means it should be accomplished over a specific period of time. This is usually done in a specific race, or season.  For example reaching a podium position at a championships race or a personal best in a specific race near the end of a season.

Any goals that you create should all be "S.M.A.R.T. Goals" because following make for more enjoyable and 

Process VS Outcome Goals

The goals that you create will either be an outcome goal or progress goal.  An outcome goal is an outcome such as a finishing time like 3:59 for the 1500m, finishing position like 1st at provincial championships or complete a specific distance like a marathon.  Process goals are goals to be completed along the way to your outcome goals.  Finishing in the top 10% at a World Championship is an outcome goal while qualifying for the World Championships is a process goal.

IMG_5155 (2400x1600)Long Term Goals

When creating athletic goals it's always best to start by looking at the big picture for a long term goal.  These generally occur over a 2 - 5 year period with a big event such as a marathon, championship event or another form of personal excellence.  Generally one long term goal is all you need to move forward with the short term goals and is typically only an outcome goal.


Short Term Goals

Short term goals generally occur over a year or a season and you should have both outcome and process goals for each year or season. Between each season or year there should also be a period of recovery time.  


This is an example of the goals that one athlete might develop for the 2016 Season.

  1. Compete for Canada at the World Multisport Championships Festival Duathlon in 2017 and finish top 10 for thier age group. (Long Term, Outcome)
  2. Finish top 3 overall (Podium) at the 2016 Canadian Multisport Championship Festival Duathlon in Penticton. (Outcome, Short Term)
  3. Qualify for the 2017 World Multisport Championship Festival at 2016 Canadian Multisport Championship Festival or another qualifying race. (Process, Short Term)
  4. Run a 10KM personal best by July 2016. (Outcome & Process, Short Term)

Keeping Your Focus

Now that you have created your goals you can start the journey to achieving them.  Along the way you will encounter hurdles and events that may affect your training, confidence or motivation but learning to keep your focus on the task of completing those goals will prevent these distractions from deterring you.  These few tricks will help you maintain your focus and not lose sight of what you want to accomplish.

  • Write all your goals down and place them in a location where you will see them every day and they will act as a constant reminder. The bathroom mirror or refrigerator door are two great places to put your goals.
  • Share your goals with others so they know what they are and can support you along the way to reaching them. It will also make you more accountable because friends, family, and training partners will know if you succeeded or failed.
  • Be flexible because when life throws you a curve ball such as a long term illness or a new addition to the family you may have to adjust your goals.  If you don't make adjustments then the old goals might not meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria which would most likely make them unattainable.
  • Its always easier with a buddy.  Having a training partner, or training group like Lions Valley Athletics can be very helpful and supportive in getting you through the toughest of days.  Having even just one other person to train with and to push each other will make reaching those goals just a little easier.


I wish you all the best of luck this season but with great goals and a plan you won't need it!


Kevin J Smith - DU Smithy

Head Coach - Lions Valley Athletics