Do Your Triathlon Goals Need a Mid-Season Reset?

Adjusting mid-season can be tough. It can also be one of the most compassionate choices you can make for yourself.

Photo: Brad Kaminski/Triathlete

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You had plans – big plans – for this triathlon season. But now that we’ve reached the midpoint, it’s looking like you bit off more than you can chew. Life has thrown you some unexpected curveballs, and you are figuring out how to handle it all. While you are not ready to throw in the towel for the year, it’s becoming more obvious that your goals likely need a little adjustment.

That doesn’t mean you failed. If anything, recognizing you need to adjust your plans is a huge win. Instead of chasing a goal to the point of injury or burnout, you’re finding ways to recalibrate. That takes self-awareness and strength. Here are 3 signs that you could use a mid-season reset, and how you can adjust sails to finish out your season strong.

3 signs your goals may need a mid-season reset

1. Training progress

Your training is the pathway to your goal. That makes your training one of the easiest indicators of progress. Look back on your training from the last 2 months. How much have you successfully completed? Remember, training completion is not just about duration. Have you also executed the intent and purpose of your sessions? If not, why not? Clarity here allows for better mid-season decision-making, so you can set goals that are achievable within your current lifestyle, be it a busy work schedule, rehabilitating an injury, or needing more time to master the fundamentals.

RELATED: How to Rearrange Your Training Schedule for Illness, Injury, Busy Days, and More

2. How you feel about training

Beyond your training tangibles, it is also important to measure your intangible feelings around training. Do you feel like you’ve lost that initial spark? Are you still finding joy in training? Life stress can impact your ability to complete training effectively. High levels of stress for long periods of time can put your emotional system in overdrive leading to burnout. Check in with how you felt at the beginning of the season and how you feel now. Is your motivation low? While research shows that motivation is not a necessary factor for training success, it can be a clear sign to check in.

3. Lack of presence in training

Presence precedes focus. If you are struggling to stay present in your training sessions, it could indicate that you are not as connected to your goal. Why did you set the goal in the first place? Are those same reasons relevant now? Sometimes over the course of a single season, circumstances in our lives can change dramatically and require us to reconsider if our initial goals are still energizing. You may need a reset if your goal does not excite you anymore. 

How to adjust your goals mid-season

Adjusting mid-season can be tough. It can also be one of the most compassionate choices you can make for yourself. First and foremost, take inventory of your responsibilities and priorities. Where do your goals fit in the greater landscape of your life? Do you need to scrap the goal altogether, or simply change it to give yourself a bit more breathing room? Sometimes simply adjusting the timeline of a goal can make a substantial difference. Signing up for a race later in the year, or deferring to next year, is an absolutely acceptable decision. So is opting for a shorter-distance race that requires less time to train. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to pursue your triathlon goals – there is only the best way for you and your lifestyle.

Be honest with yourself. Meet yourself where you are so that you can move forward powerfully. If you feel the urge to keep going after a goal when you know you are better off changing it, remind yourself that continuing to push through at an unsustainable rate will only drain your energy. Make clear decisions for yourself. Avoid ruminating on what you “should” do and instead move forward with what makes the most sense for you. Reach out to your coach or a close friend to have support in the process. 

Sometimes it is helpful to take yourself out of it. Ask yourself: “If I were helping a friend make this decision, what would I tell them?”

RELATED: Should You Start the Race or DNS? Use Our Flowchart to Decide

Adjusting your goals does not mean you failed

If you end up changing your goal, it is normal to have some feelings around failure. You set a goal and didn’t achieve it as you originally sought out to. There is no need to judge yourself for this. Failure is an event, not a person. Therefore, you are not a failure. Studies show the best thing to do to make sure the feelings don’t last, is to avoid ruminating thoughts about the situation. Instead, try to be more objective. There were different circumstances when you first set the goal and while you may need to adjust, you are still closer than you were at the beginning of the year. 

Our society often perpetuates a toughness culture wherein we are expected to push through no matter the cost. That is a very short-range view and fails to consider the physical demands of our sport. Sustainable growth, not to mention long term enjoyment, comes from a willingness to reconsider and readjust when needed. 

The power of “…YET”

Whether you choose a mid-season reset or not, remember the power of “…YET.” Just because you have not achieved a goal yet, doesn’t mean you never will. Just because you may need to make a shift in your goal this year, does not mean that you cannot achieve it. It just has not happened…YET. When you frame your progress through this lens, it allows you to see that a reset may be exactly what you need for long term success.

Vanessa Foerster is a certified life coach and competitive athlete who teaches mental endurance to athletes. 

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