As a coach and an athlete I know the importance of goals. They require you to be responsible for your actions in training and other parts of life. If my goal was to win RAAM (Race across America) but I never road more that 50 miles a day, that would be irresponsible of my and I would be unable to attain that goal let alone finish the race. Goals can be as broad or as specific as you need. They can be long range or set for the next day's workout or race. I personally believe that the more specific the goal the better. When a goal is very vague it leaves open the possibility to worm your way out of attaining said goals. For example I want to do well at "race A". What does "well" mean exactly? Does that mean first place, in the front group, not being lapped, or even just finishing?
This is a goal that I have set for myself this year. I know that I do this when I feel that I might be in over my head. My mentality as an athlete can be very fragile and not attaining goals can be very tough on me. Don't get me wrong I have missed out on a lot of goals that I have set for myself. As a gymnast I trained for 3 years for one moment and lost it by half a tenth. But I have also set unattainable goals that sometimes I actually thought I could do, other times I now I can't, but these goals not met can play havoc on my mind. And athletics is all about the mind, being able to push yourself farther, faster, harder, than the next guy. When everything else is equal the mind is the determining factor.
So what do I do? I already THINK that I am the weakest member of my team. That right there puts me at a disadvantage to everyone else. "Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right". This is not the way for someone who considers themselves to be a "winner" to think. I find that I am second guessing what I am doing every day. Am I working hard enough, or am I working too hard too soon? Should I lift weights, ride the bike, or do both? When I am on the bike am I putting out the right amount of power? Maybe I am just thinking too much? I often times tell my own athletes to get out of their own way in terms of thinking too much. They talk themselves out of skills, or put themselves down. Why is it that even though I know that thinking this way is wrong and bad, I am unable to stop. Part of it is human nature I believe, we as humans focus on the negative. We tell ourselves "not to screw up" rather that "do a good job". I know that putting negative thinking into my thought pattern is counter productive because you alway think the opposite when using the negative. But sometimes when I try very hard to use the positive I almost find myself feeling that I am lying to myself. That is the strangest feeling of all. How does one lie to themselves. There is no wall that separates my brain, I don't have two voices (that I know of) that site on either one of my shoulders and whisper sweet nothings into my ears. So why?\
Maybe I am thinking this way because I have not made solid goals for the year! Perhaps I just need to bite the bullet and say I want to WIN! Winners do not shy away and hide in the corner. Just because you lose does not mean that you are a loser. Winners in cycling, lose far more often then they win. But when the time comes and everything is on the line they say "sorry boys but today this one is mine" and they go out and do it. It is like the storied tale of Babe Ruth pointing to the bleachers and then hitting a home run. But these winners do it all the time. Everyone knows that this person is the one to watch and everyone knows who to battle. But on their day, when it is their time, they go out and win in-spite of everyone else. I don't have to be the guy to tell everyone else that I am going to win. But maybe I just need to tell my team that "I am going to win this one guys, leave it up to me".
So here it is right now!
I am going to target the Belleville crit to win, and if the Labor Day races are the same I want to win day 4. I also want to finish in the top 10 at the MO state road race. The rest of the year I will do my job to make sure that my guys are getting the best chances we have to win. I will bury myself with pride knowing that a 708 Racing man will cross the line first. Especially if that guy is Mike.