You’ve probably heard of the acronym before: SMART. Used as a guideline for goals ranging from project management to personal development, SMART is a helpful rule of thumb to keep in mind as an aspiring or seasoned athlete.
Here’s how to use SMART to make the most of of your training program.
S stands for Specific. In order to effectively focus your training, your goals must be clear and well-defined.
If you’re a beginner, a specific enough goal may be to simply run your first obstacle race.
If you’re leveling up, your goal may be to finish a particular obstacle race within a defined race time.
M refers to Measurable.
To determine if you’ve succeeded in reaching your goal, it has to be quantifiable in some way.
If you’re taking on your first obstacle race, your specific goal may be to record your finish time as a benchmark to improve upon in the future. Or it can be simply to reach the finish line, which is pretty easy to quantify!
As a recurring OCR participant, your goal may be to finish a 5k race in under 30 minutes.
A represents Actionable. You may also see some sources say A stands for Attainable. I prefer actionable for training purposes.
When a goal is actionable, it means you have to not only do something to make it happen, but also thoughtfully plan how you’re going to reach it.
Choosing your exercise program and following through requires action for athletes of all fitness levels, not just obstacle racers.
R stands for Reasonable.
Setting and pursuing goals when you are balancing other life demands is challenging enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself by taking on an unreasonable goal.
For example, if you are new to structured exercise, let alone obstacle racing, you may not want to set out to complete a Tough Mudder in less than 2 hours.
If you have a couple races under your belt, but didn’t finish your most recent one, a reasonable goal would be to revisit and finish the race you previously DNF’ed.
T denotes Time-defined or bound.
It’s important to give yourself enough time to train and accomplish your goal. If you don’t, you may be at risk of injuring yourself or frustrated when you fall short simply because you did not have enough time to prepare.
If you’re new to goal-setting for fitness and obstacle racing, it’s good to start with simple, straightforward objectives. Your goal may be to train four days a week for a month. Building upon a successful month, a new goal may be to complete your first obstacle race after training several days a week for another 6-8 weeks’ time.
Hopefully you can see the utility of using the SMART acronym to set goals that work best for you. Try it the next time you train for your first or next obstacle race!
© 2009-2015 Melissa Rodriguez
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