Welcome to a new monthly segment provided by Challenge Turku: Darby’s Tips!

Recently retired pro and established coach Darby Thomas shares his experiences on a variety of topics. As the season is starting he highlights how to set your season goals and get the year started with a successful routine. You can also write in your questions or topics you would like him to discuss in future discussions. Enjoy!

Darby’s Tips

– Set the tone for the year –

Human nature seems to be that beginning of the year is the time to set new goals and with new routines of self-improvement.   This is a great starting place but for many the burst of energy is short lived.  Here are few of my tips to help take your boost of motivation and point it in a good direction that will continue for the rest of the year.

1    Set a reasonable main season goal.  If you made a big improvement last year, don’t expect the same rate of improvement.  Target something marginally better but still a challenge.  Big improvements are the exception, so if you had one, be happy but assume your next step up is more likely to be a small, but perhaps equally important one.

If you had an unsuccessful season the year before, try to identify the cause of the poor performance and create a plan to do better in that area.  Set out a reasonable period (month or two) where you will focus more on that problem area than the other areas. When racing season approaches, go back to a more balanced training approach now that you have put in extra work on your problem area.

Or if this is your first season and really don’t know where to start, begin with something very simple like doing each sport twice per week in addition to a couple core workouts at home. This gives you a basic balance between each sport and will allow you to get an idea where you need to improve. Remember to also include recovery days or improvement will be slow at best.

2   Give yourself at least 10 days of focused effort to let the new routines become established. Many people get really excited during the first weeks of the year but sooner than later they are no longer so interested.

When you make a larger change in your routine, give yourself at least 10 days to get comfortable with it. If you are still not comfortable with the new routine after 10 days, consider if the routine is too tough and should be scaled back.

Remember, sustainable training is what makes real improvements. A few ‘hero’ trainings won’t actually help you improve.

3    If you are just getting started on a new routine, make sure you keep it relatively easy and simple, even if your goal is to make big changes.  It’s really important to have success in keeping the new routine during those first 10 days.

Your chances of success in the new routine are far greater if it’s not too hard for the first couple weeks. After that, you can gradually increase the difficulty as you have success at the lower levels.