Setting goals for summer cycling

Inspired to get moving on a bike or to improve your current riding performance? The only things you need are a working goal plan and some motivation to see it through to the end. 

To get great on the bike all you need is some practice, staying motivated is usually the tripping point, so that’s where we are going to be doing the work today in this article, the tools you need to stay motivated and go the distance. 

Results Based is Best 

For motivation to switch on you need to be able to see and achieve results, that means setting long term goals with ready milestones. This is a formula for proven success, dubbed SMART goals. 

Without the right goal structure you will quickly lose interest in riding or improving, which is a tragedy because cycling in a great way to get out and be active, and a garage is definitely no place for your pride and joy to stay hidden. 

So, let’s begin by setting you up with a SMART goal.

S = Specific.  How good do you want to be really? You need to know. Perhaps there is an event you want to be fit enough to finish. Is there a circuit or riding trail you want complete?

M = Measurable. This is all about numbers. Pick a measure that works best for your goal. It might be about speed, distance or endurance or just the number of days a week you want to spend on the bike.

A = Achievable.  If you reach too high above your current limit you will swiftly give up when you realize your goal is ‘too hard’. You need to make the goal easy enough that you can do it without causing injury, and you can manage it without turning your entire life upside-down.

If you do have a really amazing out-there goal, like to go pro, that’s fine, just create a mini goals in SMART format and when you achieve those you are well on your way to ticking off that bigger achievement.

R = Risky. This is about finding balance. If you chose a goal that is too easy you will be just as unmotivated as if it’s too hard. You need to be able to push yourself outside your comfort zone and take a bit of a risk. Risky doesn’t mean unsafe, it just means that you are willing to go that little bit extra and learn something new.

T = Time-specific.   Pick a date, event or timeframe you want to have your goal completed by. It’s important with this one you check back in with your ‘Achievable’ and make sure you have enough time to get there.

Rewards

It’s a really good idea to give yourself a reward for completing your goal as well as some pats on the back when you complete your milestones, just that extra little reason to push.

For example: ‘I will ride 100 km in one go by the end of Summer (February 2019). To do this I will ride from Torquay to Lorne return. I will have lunch in Lorne and a break by the beach before returning. After my ride I will sit in a spa bath and get a massage.’ 

To complete your goal in a smart way, break it down to what you need to achieve in your given timeframe to get there safely. Start easy and work your way up. 

Maybe to get to this goal you want to ride three days a week, building up your ride distance every time.

Check in on your milestones to see how you are doing and make adjustments as you go to keep things Achievable and Risky. 

Getting bored? 

Variety is key and on a bike that’s no issue. Change your route, change the scenery, get together with other cyclists or ride to points of interest (even if that’s a café). 

The best way to stick to your goal is to tell people about it. Share it on social media and tell people about your plans. At the very least write it down on paper somewhere. 

For a goal like becoming a better cyclist it works two ways, firstly, you will hold yourself accountable to those people so you are more likely to go through with it. Secondly, you’ll find offers from other cyclists who either want to get moving with you, or who are more experienced and want to see you excel. 

Say yes to all these opportunities. While riding alone is great for strengthening your pace and confidence, riding with other people gives you that risky factor of having to keep up, push yourself and show up. 

Above all, have fun. Cycling is an enjoyable experience and the more you do it, the better your handling, performance and confidence. 

In next week’s article we will give you some milestone busters that will really get you moving and improving. That gives you plenty of time to write up your SMART goal and be ready to get started. 

Smashing your riding goals this summer? That’s freedom!

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