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Setting Goals for the New Year

By Jim Vance | Jan. 16, 2015, 1:40 p.m. (ET)

youthWintertime is underway, which means most young triathletes around the country are dealing with colder weather, and the grind of a long season has come to an end. This is a great time to step away from the monotony of swim-bike-run. Use the offseason as a way to recharge your body and, more importantly, recharge your mind.

Stop and ask yourself how the previous season went, and set goals for the next season to keep you motivated through the winter. Triathlon requires a lot of commitment, and setting clear goals will help you stay on track.

Look back on last season’s performances and see if anything was holding you back. Were there weak parts of your race? Did you have trouble with a fast transition? Did you eat the right foods to keep you energized?

Whatever the limiting factor is, you should form a plan to help directly improve it. Perhaps you can try a single sport focus in your school or community programs to strengthen that area of weakness.

Don’t let winter’s cold scare you. Use the offseason to your advantage: Add new training activities to your schedule such as a more focused strength training routine, more pool time or even skill work like transition speed. And don’t forget that winter activities like sledding, skating or playing outdoors with friends are all great ways to stay fit while having fun.

To stay motivated, write down your short and long-term goals and put them in a place that is easily seen on a daily basis. Mirrors in a bedroom or bathroom, posters on a wall or notes in the car are great places to post your goals, keeping them in the forefront of your mind. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your goals are clear and specific. And remember, goals and plans are a great starting point, but a commitment to achieve them is required to turn them into reality. Good luck!

Jim Vance is the head coach of Formula Endurance, a USA Triathlon High Performance Team based in San Diego, California. Read more about Vance at

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.