How to Set Goals like a National Champion

Note about the author: Alison Powers is an American former racing cyclist who last rode for the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. She is the first American rider to simultaneously be National Champion in all three disciplines of road cycling: Criterium, Road and Time trial.


“Fail to plan and you plan to fail”. This saying has more importance than you realize.

In order to be successful at anything in life, especially sports, you must plan for it. Amongst other things, you must plan out your race schedule, your training schedule, and your training times. Then you must plan on the best way to make everything happen. “Winging it” only works for so long. The best athletes are the ones who have planned their success.

What’s the first step in this planning process? Goal setting. You must set realistic yet challenging goals to keep you motivated and on track.

An example of a goal would be: My goal is to eat healthy. This a great goal, but how do you eat healthy? What are the steps to eating healthy and how do you know if you are doing it?You must break your goals down into more simple goals and tasks. If your goal can be broken down, you are not finished making it. In order to eat healthy, you must know what eating healthy means.

A better goal would be: I will buy more fruits and vegetables to have on hand at home for snacking and adding to meals. I will stay away from highly processed (packaged, sugar filled) foods and buy more natural and whole foods that have not been processed or preserved. After every hard training ride, I will make and drink a Breakthrough Nutrition NBS recovery drink followed by a healthy snack/meal to help me recover for tomorrow’s workout.

This same goal setting goes for racing and training.  Do you know what you’re training for and why you’re doing what you’re doing? Is it specific to accomplishing your goal?  You should know exactly what you’re training for (your goal), and, from there, you should break it down into smaller pieces and train for each piece.

An example of a good daily goal is: Today I have zone 3 tempo intervals. By doing these intervals, I am helping to build my aerobic endurance and fitness which is needed in my sport of cycling. After my workout, I will have a recovery drink and foam roll to help my body heal and get ready for tomorrow’s workout.

Goal setting is a process. Goals have to be broken down, and down, until all you have to do is follow the steps. Plan to succeed.

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  1. I have taken a couple of bike. Clinics from Alison. She’s amazing! Great advice for girls and their moms alike. thanks for posting!