I have a day off today as it’s May day. We had a relaxed morning which included a Skype chat with Emma and Yonas which was great.
At lunchtime I went for a steady 8mile run. I was really pleased that my legs felt fine after yesterday’s 25mile run. I really do feel ready for the Hardmoors 110.
I spent some of the run thinking about my goals for the HM110 after posting my “Guess My Time’ Competition. I’ve always enjoyed having time goals to aim for. Positions don’t really motivate me because they are totally dependant on who is running.
I’ve always enjoyed having goals and for my first few ultras I had a single goal. William Sichel, record breaking ultra runner, emailed me in 2010 with the following thoughts about goal setting ….
My advice ref goal setting:Always have at least 3 targets:Basic Goal: This is a goal which you really should reach whatever the weather and even on an off day ie set low.Realistic Goal: This is the time that you have a realistic chance of getting, given a good run and reasonable weather.Barrier Breaking Goal: This is your dream time, if this is your day, weather is perfect etc. Needs to be set high.Of course you can have these 3 goals for all your timing points throughout the race and may move between them during the course of the event. It goes without saying that it is worth giving quite a lot of thought and effort to deciding on your goal times.Following a race, always take as many positives from your performance as you can find. Do everything you can to avoid feeling disappointment after an event.These notes from sports psychologist Willie Railo are also worth thinking about especially with regard to the Barrier-Breaking Goals:“As soon as the brain registers that a goal has been realised, or is very likely to be realised, our mental energy sinks.”“Feelings of tiredness are, to a large extent, dependant on the concrete goal that athletes have been led to expect.”“If the realistic goal is set too low it can function as a barrier & actually will be more negative than positive i.e. have a braking effect.““Barrier-breaking goals on the other hand can function as ice-breakers; they penetrate through subconscious blocking mechanisms & draw the person to yet greater heights.“
I have taken William’s advice on board since then and always had my bronze, silver and goal goals. Andy Cole did a very interesting piece on goal setting for a recent West Highland Way Race podcast.
Andy suggested that you should just have 1 goal otherwise it gets confusing but I still prefer to have my 3 goals so if things are going badly I still have my bronze goal of finishing to keep me going.
This year though I’ve found that my gold goal hasn’t been quite challenging enough. In the Hardmoors 30 my gold was sub 6hrs and I finished in 5.01 so it didn’t really motivate me as I was well under.
In the Hardmoors 55 my gold was sub 10.30 which I thought was going to be a tough challenge but I was 20mins under it. I found that because I knew from 10 miles out that I was going to be well under that target I did take my foot off the target just like the sports psychologist Willie Railo wrote above.
So for the Hardmoors 110 I’ve decided to add in a Platinum goal of sub 26hrs. Obviously I could make that my gold but I’m concerned that if I do and fall behind it then it will have a negative effect.
So I will work on sub 27hrs as my gold and if, and it’s a big if, everything is going even better than expected I will have a higher goal to motivate me right to the end.
In less than 3 weeks we’ll find out whether it helps!!