Lakeland 100 Recce Day 3 – Buttermere to Dalemain, 26th March 2017

Recce day 3 takes place from Buttermere to Dalemain and covers the 2nd quarter of the 100 course. The route is one of the easier sections with relatively good tracks and few aggressive climbs and descents.

On the Sunday morning the coach will pick up at 8:00am from Dalemain Estate near Pooley Bridge, please park your cars in the car park at Dalemain estate but use the far back section of the car park. To see the location GO HERE. The coach will then drop off at Buttermere Village Hall to start the run (60-75 minute drive), to see location GO HERE.

Timetable:

Sunday 26th March

07:30am arrive at Dalemain Estate and park your car
07:40am board coaches at Dalemain Estate
08:00am coaches leave Dalemain and travel to Buttermere
09:15/30am start run from Buttermere

Checkpoints will be manned at Braithwaite, Blencathra and Dockray with water and basic refreshments, but please bring your own snacks and any other specific products required.

You will need to print a road book from the route details section of the Lakeland 100 website, if you are using GPS download the track/route. You can also pre-mark a route map to help with navigation, there is a map link provided on the same page on the website. As with all recce days, full kit as per the Lakeland 100 kit list is compulsory for all participants.

To register CLICK HERE.

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Re-Building Whelter Bridge

Last year Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 competitors raised in excess of £42,000.00 for Epic Kidz. We made a £10,000 donation to the National Park who repair the Footpaths in the Lake District. The National Park identified two areas as being in need of urgent repair along the Lakeland route. As an acknowledgment of the fundraising efforts of the Lakeland competitors there is a small plaque placed at each site. The work at Whelter Bridge has now finished and the National Park have provided a short blog of their efforts.

Twelve volunteers turned up on the Wednesday work party in January to help replace a wooden footbridge on an inaccessible footpath on the back side of Haweswater.

To avoid the long walk in we decided to sail the materials in and out of the site across the reservoir using a boat loaned to us by the Coniston Boating Centre and very capably driven by Derek Tunstall one of our Ullswater Boat volunteers.

Volunteers were a great help with this particular task carrying all the materials up from the boat on the water edge across rough terrain to the work site.

Our own field team built the new bridge with the help of two new Flood Rangers who were keen to learn from the experts.

Once dismantled the old bridge had to be returned to the other side so yet more carrying was required – this time up to the road.

Everyone worked very hard in difficult conditions and by the following day the new bridge had been completed.

The bridge over Whelter Beck was kindly sponsored by Lakeland 100 and we managed to gain special consent from United Utilities to launch a boat on the reservoir.

A great team effort involving staff, volunteers, other colleagues, external funders and various partners – thanks to all involved.

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£6000 Donated to the National Trust

During the recent talks at the Ambleside to Consiton recce day, the Lakeland 100 team handed over a cheque of £6000 to the National Trust for work to be carried out between Little Langdale and Tilberthwaite. Simon Hill the National Trust Area Ranger for this area ahs provided a brief summary of the progress that has been made to date.

Following the donation we recently received from the Lakeland 100, our Upland Rangers have begun the hard work of protecting the drystone walls alongside the Lakeland 100 route between Little Langdale and Tilberthwaite.

This route was once an important link between the two valleys. But over the last years increased erosion to the track and its surface has badly undermined the adjacent drystone walls, exposing their foundations and leaving them vulnerable to collapse.

Not only are these walls a defining characteristic of the farm that we want to protect, they are an important livestock boundary between the open fell and the adjacent quarries for our tenants whose flock of Herdwick sheep graze the land.

The first task for our upland rangers was to try and manage the constant flow of water down the track which was eroding away at the walls foundations through the construction of large stone ‘cut off’s’ to shed the water higher up the track.

Upland work is tough, the installation of one of these ‘cut-offs’ takes days with stone needing to be locally sourced even before the work can begin.

Management of water running off the fells can be hard to get right, but success is equally satisfying. The drains are now in and working well, so work is moving onto the wall itself which will be another 2-3 weeks of sustained effort.

If you are out recceing this part of the Lakeland 100, over the next few weeks, do look out for the work, and our upland rangers. They are passionate about their work and will always spare a minute to talk you about to the project which we hope will serve to protect the walls for another century.

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Lakeland 50/100 – The Goal Setting Process (Blog 4)

The team at Lakeland 50 & 100 are pleased to have Dr Ian Boardley as a guest blogger. Ian is a sports psychology lecturer at the University of Birmingham and a 5 time Lakeland 100 finisher. He will be writing a monthly blog post to help you prepare for the 2017 event. You can follow him on Twitter HERE

In the first three blogs in this series, we have introduced goal setting and why athletes use it, discussed different types of goals, which goals to set, key characteristics of effective goals and key aspects of the goal-setting process. If you followed the advice in the previous blog, you should now have a target time for the Lakeland 50/100 2017, as well three to five performance-attributes that you most need to improve for you to maximise your chances of achieving this target time in July. You should also have developed a number of key training goals to achieve over the coming months to help you develop these three to five attributes to the required levels, and also prioritised and coordinated them into a logical order. These goals should incorporate a combination of process and performance goals (see Blog 1 for details on types of goals). Further, you should also have started to identify target races for your build-up that allow you to specifically develop/test the attributes you have identified for development and the performance/process goals you will set for these races. Now you (hopefully) have this information, in the current blog we will look at ways in which you can identify and avoid potential barriers to you achieving these goals, as well as ways in which you can monitor and evaluate progress towards them. We will also consider when it may be necessary to revise your goals (upwards or downwards) along the way, and what implications this may have for other goals if you do. As ever, as we go along I will provide examples of what we discuss that are of direct relevance to preparation for the Lakeland 50/100. When reading these examples it is good to reflect on your own running and how you can apply the information to your running.

So once you have your training goals in place, it is important to identifying potential barriers to achieving these goals and formulate plans that should allow you to overcome these potential barriers. Some of the best ways to identify possible barriers to goal attainment is to either reflect on your past attempts to achieve similar goals or speak to others who have successfully achieved related goals. For instance, if one of your goals is to develop your climbing-specific strength for long climbs – such as those in the Lakeland 50/100 – think back on past attempts to develop this attribute. What approaches did you take and did you encounter any barriers to success using these approaches? Did you plan to travel to mountainous regions and train on similar climbs more often, but find after a while this proved to be too much of a commitment given other pressures in your life (e.g., work, family)? If so, unless your situation has changed you are likely to find similar barriers get in the way if you apply the same approach. To avoid this, try to come up with a different approach that will avoid these barriers. For this example, are there high-rise buildings with stair cases or multi-story car parks that you have access to that you could use to supplement some of this training alongside less frequent trips to the mountains? This is just one example, but the same process can be applied to other goals you have set such as getting your race weight down, increasing your eccentric strength for repeated long descents, improving your speed and fluidity on technical downhills, etc., etc. The key here is to identify the potential barriers before they occur to minimise the likelihood of the emerging mid-programme when it can be more difficult to adjust your plan.

Once you have your plan in place and you start working towards your goals, it is important to monitor and evaluate your goal progress so that you know whether you are on track to achieve them. An effective way of monitoring progress is to keep a goal-setting log. A except from an example goal-setting log can be seen below:

Performance Attribute Goal Performance Indicator Current Level Target Level Activities focussed on this goal for week commencing: xx/yy/zz Goal Achievement / Barriers?
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
·         Body composition ·         Reduce body fat by 3Kg from last year Current weight 75Kg 70Kg Calorie deficit of 500Kcal each day
·         Power & efficiency on climbs ·         Develop ability to use poles without conscious effort Uphill miles/week with poles 2 10 1 mile 2 miles
·         Muscle damage on long downhills ·         Complete 7,500ft of descent in a day without DOMS  Muscle soreness following long hilly trail runs 6 out of 10 0 out of 10 12 x 30 sec. downhill sprints Long trail run accumulating 5000ft descent

 

By creating and completing a log such as this for each week, you will have a clear record of the key performance attributes you are working on, the goals (the example above just has one goal for each attribute, but you would often set more than one goal per attribute) you are currently working towards to develop these attributes, the indicator/s that you are using to evaluate goal achievement, the activities you have planned that week to work towards these goals and whether you completed these activities successfully. Doing this will allow you to monitor your progress towards you goals. Once you have been training for a few weeks and your goal setting logs start to accumulate, you can use them to evaluate whether your current training activities are helping you to progress at the rate needed to achieve your specified goals. If this is not the case, the first thing to do is look at the activities you are engaging in to achieve them. Do you need to increase the volume/frequency of these activities, or are there alternative activities you could try? For instance, for the first goal above you could adjust the target calorie deficit initially. If this didn’t help, then altering the macronutrient balance (e.g., reducing carbs and increasing protein) in your diet could be an alternative. However, reviewing your goal-setting log may suggest the problem is not necessary the effectiveness of the activities, but that barriers are preventing you from completing the activities in the first place. For example, you may be finding work/family commitments are getting in the way of your planned downhill sprint sessions; in which case would scheduling these sessions at different times/locations help?

However, it may be that even after you have made adjustments to volume, frequency, scheduling and type of activities a review of your goal-setting logs still shows progress is slower than needed. If this is the case then it is probably time to look at revaluating your goals. Is it that you originally set the goal too high, or that you are just not able to do enough of what is needed to progress at the required rate for this goal? If this is the case then maybe you need to lower your goal to a more achievable level within the remaining timeframe. If you do this then you should also consider what knock on implications doing so may have for your overall performance and outcome goals for the race. For some performance attributes though, there may be a better option than lowering your goal. Instead, what you could do is look at alternative goals to help you work towards the same performance attribute. Try to remember at this point that the overall aim is to develop the key performance attributes you need to improve most, so if there are other goals you can work towards that help you to develop the same performance attribute then adjusting your subservient process goals doesn’t necessarily mean you have to alter your overall performance/outcome goals. For example, for the second performance attribute in the example log above, you may find you are not getting on with poles, and you find them to be more of an annoyance than a facilitator of your power and efficiency on climbs. In such a case you could remove the goal to develop the ability to use poles without conscious effort, and replace it with a goal focussed on leg power, such as one based on gym work (e.g., max. squat in Kg) and/or plyometric training (e.g., number of box jumps in a minute) to help you become more powerful on climbs. These are just some examples to get you thinking, but the take home message is to keep monitoring and evaluating your progress in a systematic manner so that it isn’t too late before you realise the training activities you are engaged in are not sufficient to get you were you want to be to achieve your overall performance/outcome goals. I should also point out that such monitoring and evaluating can also identify when you are progressing more quickly than you anticipated. When this occurs, you may decide to increase your goal/s in that area, and/or replace planned developmental activities with those for another key performance attribute. Again, when making any such adjustments it is important to consider how these changes may lead you to increase your overall performance/outcome goals for the race.

To conclude, in this blog we have looked at potential barriers to goal achievement and how to overcome them, how to monitor and evaluate progress towards your goals and when it may be appropriate to revise your goals. If you have followed the recommendations across the four blogs to this point, you should not only have identified your training goals and the overall ideal performance goal you are working towards, but also have the skills required to monitor, evaluate and adjust these goals as you progress through your training. As such, hopefully you are now in a position to start the training that will allow you to achieve these goals and maximise your performance in July. As discussed previously, the aim of this series was to address and integrate both training and race-day goals, and in the next blog we will start to make the transition from training goals (which hopefully you now have set) to race-day goals. Whilst progressing through your training over the next couple of months, monitoring your goal progress will allow you to start to accumulate information that will feed into your race-day goals. In the next blog we will look at how you can use this information to inform your race-day goals. In doing so we will identify key information (e.g., process goal completion, performances in build-up races) that you should be looking to record, and how this can be used to develop your race-day goals.

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Lakeland 50/100 – The Goal Setting Process

The team at Lakeland 50 & 100 are pleased to have Dr Ian Boardley as a guest blogger. Ian is a sports psychology lecturer at the University of Birmingham and a 5 time Lakeland 100 finisher. He will be writing a monthly blog post to help you prepare for the 2017 event. You can follow him on Twitter HERE

In the first two blogs in this series, I have introduced goal setting and why athletes use it, as well as discussing different types of goals, which goals to set and key characteristics of effective goals. In the current post we will progress the topic further by looking at key aspects of the goal-setting process. As usual, throughout the post I will provide examples of how to apply the topics covered to your preparation for the Lakeland 50 and 100. I again encourage you to reflect on your own running and the relevance of goal setting to it as you read the blog. To get the most out of goal setting, it has to be something that becomes part of your day-to-day training. This may sound onerous, but over time you start to use it automatically so although there is work needed in the early stages to develop good goal-setting skills, once it starts to become routine it doesn’t involve much effort but the returns can be high.

To ensure you set effective goals for yourself, it is important you follow a logical goal-setting process. Initially it is important to identify where you would like your performance levels to be on race day in July – by identifying a target level of performance you can then start to break this down into the key performance attributes (speed, strength endurance) that will be needed to achieve this level of performance. Once you have these you can then compare them to your current abilities for these attributes to determine whether your overall performance goal is realistic from the outset. As such, given ideal conditions and the perfect day, what time would be on the clock when you cross the finish line in Coniston? Do you think you will be going into Coniston for a pint or for breakfast after you finish!? Once you have this time in mind the next step is to conduct a thorough needs assessment. Write down the key attributes you see in a top Lakeland 50/100 performer and then identify which of these attributes you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. At this stage it is also good to get the views of others who know you well to see if their opinions correspond with yours. So ask your coach (if you have one), training partners and romantic partner (if you have one and they take a close interest in your running) to rate you on these attributes too. Through this exercise you are looking to identify three to five performance attributes that most need improvement or that are critical to optimal performance in July. Once you have the three to five key areas for improvement, specifically identify key areas of that attribute you need to work on. For instance, if you identify nutrition as an area for nutrition, identify the specific aspects of nutrition our need to work on (e.g., maintaining hydration status, energy balance during stages, avoiding gastrointestinal distress, selecting the right foods at checkpoints). Once you have these specific areas identified you can incorporate them into your process goals for training/racing (depending on the process) within your programme. by the end of this step you should have a number of target processes/foci for each of your three to five areas for improvement. Throughout this step try to keep in mind that time you set for yourself in step 1. Does it still sound reasonable as a target? If so then proceed. If not then revisit and revise!

Following step 2, you then need to take the list of processes/training foci and start to prioritise and coordinate them into a logical order. For some attributes you can work on them simultaneously (e.g., you can work on your nutrition whilst also developing your climbing or descending abilities in the mountains), whereas others are better to separate out into different phases (e.g., developing leg speed and high-end power is probably better scheduled earlier in the programme before you start to work on more specific attributes such as mountain-ultra strength and endurance). As well as the most logical order for your goals, also keep in mind the priority of the goals – which are the ones you think are going to make the most difference in July? Ideally try to incorporate all aspects of the three to five areas for improvement, but if this doesn’t seem possible then lean towards the ones you consider to be highest priority. So by going through a kind of sorting process whereby some of your goals are placed earlier in your programme, others are placed later, and some may run throughout the programme you should start to assemble a general schedule for your training goals along with some race-specific process goals (e.g., practicing nutritional schedule, racing with poles over terrain similar to Lakeland 50/100) to apply in your build-up races. At this point it is a good time to think about which build-up races you want to incorporate into your programme, and what performance/process goals you should be aiming for at these races. You may have a bucket list of races you would like to run, but try not to select your build-up races based on this list (although include some of these if they are appropriate). Instead, try to look at which attributes you are working on at different phases in your overall schedule and select races to develop/assess these attributes towards the end of the block of training you are working on. So if you have a speed focussed phase early on, then towards the end of this phase you may wish to include one or two shorter trail races (or even road half/full marathons) to test out and develop your speed. Similarly, if you are working on mountain skills then look for technical races, and if the focus is mountain strength/endurance then look for some shorter ultras with elevation gain/loss equivalent to or beyond (very good idea if mountain strength is a perceived weakness) that you will encounter at the Lakeland 50/100.

At this point you may be starting to think this is looking more like a blog of developing training programmes than one on goal setting! However, the key point is the two go hand-in-hand. You need to be clear on your goals to develop a good training plan, but you need a good training plan to work on and test your goals! As such, if you have a coach it is important that he/she is an integral part of the goal setting process. That isn’t to say he/she should set your goals for you though – you need to be an integral part of it to! On that point, and to bring things back to goal setting, I will finish up on some recommendations regarding goal commitment and ways in which you can try to remain committed to your goals. First, try to personalise your goals as much as possible – set target that are specific to you and not based on what others have done or are trying to do. Next, make sure you have a central input to your goals (see earlier point). Also, it is good to write down your goals so once you have completed your sorting task and identified key races, write everything out on a plan, stick it to the wall somewhere you see regularly and enter those races! Incentivising and rewarding goal achievement can help too, so add in some rewards for goals in your overall schedule (new kit is better than cake or a takeaway for performance by the way!). Finally, share your goals with key members of your support network – those people you asked during the needs assessment stage are a good choice here.

To conclude, in this blog we have looked at key aspects of the goal-setting process. Collectively, the material presented across the three blog posts to date has been building towards the development of your goal-setting strategies for the Lakeland 50/100 2017. Across the full series we will look at goal setting for training and goal setting for race day separately. Hopefully you are starting to see your gaols for training and your build-up races start to take shape now. In the next blog we will look closer at the specifics of the training goals you have set for your build-up to the race, and how to identify and overcome potential barriers as well as ways in which you can monitor and evaluate progress and potentially adjust your goals along the way if necessary. In the later months we will then look at setting your goals for the race itself, and your experiences during your build-up races will help inform these.

 

 

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Recce weekend January 28th 2017, Ambleside to Coniston Night Run

The second recce of the 2016/17 season covers the ground from Ambleside to Coniston and is relevant for both 50 and 100 mile runners. This is the final 16 miles of the 50 and 100 miles course. The route leave Ambleside Parish Hall (CP12) and climbs over Loughrigg, before following the main track into Great Langdale to reach CP13 Chapel Stile. From here the route continues to the end of Great Langdale before climbing to Blea Tarn. The next stop is Tilberthwaite (CP14) and the dreaded stair case, before one final descent into Coniston and the finish. This section will be a night run, starting and finishing in darkness.

The location for the Saturday guest talks will be Ambleside Parish Hall,  in Ambleside, the exact location is HERE. There is no parking outside the hall so please use public car parks in Ambleside.

All recce days cost £15, the cost includes all guest talks, refreshments, coach transportation, guides, checkpoint manning and food/drink at checkpoints. You will need to find your own accommodation if staying Saturday evening.

Saturday January 28th

10:00am Arrive at Parish Hall, free tea/coffee
10:30am Navigation skills for trail runners part 1 – General Nav
11:30am refreshments
12:00pm Navigation skills for trail runners part 2 – Night Nav
1:00pm Overview of the recce route (Terry Gilpin)
1:30pm Finish, questions and drive to Coniston
3:30pm Coach pick up at John Ruskin School, Lake Rd, Coniston
4:00-4:30pm Coach drop off Ambleside and start run to Coniston

There will be ‘guides’ available on the day, to help you navigate but they are not there to ‘follow’. You should be prepared to navigate and learn the route, the guides will support you.

What Do I Need To Bring?

The navigation talk will be part practical. Please bring a compass together with the Ambleside-Coniston section of the roadbook and a map. You can download the map/roadbook from the website HERE or purchase them from our event shop page.

For the recce you must ensure that you are carrying the full kit you will be required to carry on race day. You can see the full kit list HERE. Please make sure your headtorches are fully charged and you have spare batteries if required. You only need to carry the Ambleside-Coniston section of the map/roadbook for this recce. If you need to purchase any kit, please visit out event shop page.

General Information

Due to the recce day being completely full, there will be no room in the hall for extra guests. Please refrain from bringing friends and family to the talk. Dogs are also not allowed in the hall so please, no dogs.

As you board the coaches you will need to check we have the correct mobile number for the phone you are carrying on the recce day and also your emergency contact details. Please ensure your contact details are correct on your recce entry form as it will speed up the coach loading on the day. You can check/amend these HERE.

You must make sure you sign in at all the checkpoints on the recce route. These are at Chapel Stile, Tilberthwaite & Coniston. Please make sure you sign in at Coniston before you go home. If the last support runner passes a checkpoint and there is an outstanding runner, we will attempt to contact you via your mobile phone number provided. To avoid unnecessary phone calls please make sure you check in. There will be jelly babies/biscuits/water supplied at Chapel Stile & Tilberthwaite.

Emergencies On The Route

Should you experience a major injury that prevents you from continuing you must contact the organisers who will either send a medic or call 999. If you get lost please contact the organisers so that they can try to establish your location.

Chris Kitchin – 07446235604

Jo McWilliams – 07743447220

Please ensure these emergency numbers are saved in your mobile phones.

See you all on 28th January.

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How to set effective goals for the Lakeland 50/100

The team at Lakeland 50 & 100 are pleased to have Dr Ian Boardley as a guest blogger. Ian is a sports psychology lecturer at the University of Birmingham and a 5 time Lakeland 100 finisher. He will be writing a monthly blog post to help you prepare for the 2017 event. You can follow him on Twitter HERE

In the first of this series of blogs, I introduced the concept of goal setting, and why it can be a useful strategy for ultra-runners tackling challenges such as the Lakeland 50 and 100. We also considered why people set goals, what the benefit of setting goals can be and the three main types of goals and how these should be linked. In the present post, I am going to build what I covered in the first one by starting to look at some of the practicalities of goal setting. First, I will make the case for why you I recommend you primarily focus of performance and process goals (see Blog 1 if you don’t know what these are), then I will discuss some of the key characteristics of effective goals. Throughout the post I will provide examples of how the material I cover can be applied to the Lakeland 50 and 100. What may be useful as you read this blog is if you take these examples and try to apply them to your own running, and the goal/s you have identified for your specific race in 2017.

Last month I discussed the differences between outcome, performance and process goals, and suggested these should be linked so that your process goals are designed to help you achieve your performance goals, and your performance goals are matched to standards of performance that are needed to achieve your outcome goal/s. Building on this, I would like to suggest that the majority of the goals you set, and the ones that you should use to evaluate your performances should be process and performance goals. Why is this you may ask, when people are often outcome focussed (“did you win?”, “what place did you come?”, and so on and so forth). Well firstly, performance and process are far more within our control. For instance, you could run a personal best in a race and still finish lower than you ever have done before, just because the field was strong. In this situation if you evaluated your performance on your outcome goal it would likely be judged a poor performance, whereas if you evaluated it on your performance goal it would probably be viewed as a success. Well that makes sense, so why bother with process goals in my evaluation you may say. Well think about a race you have done on more than one occasion but in vastly different conditions (i.e., ideal conditions on one occasion and complete maelstrom throughout on another). How meaningful is a comparison between the times you ran in these two races – not very you may be thinking! Thus, even though performance goals can have benefits over outcome goals, they too have their limitations. In contrast, if you judged your performances in those two races based upon whether you achieved your process goals you should be able to derive much more meaningful information such as which processes worked and how you may adapt these goals in future events to further optimise performance. Ultimately, performance and process goals are more controllable and stable indicators of performance so it is good to primarily focus on these types if goals when goal setting.

So now we have determined the best types of goals to focus on primarily, we are going to take a look at how we can most effectively set our performance and process goals. The first important characteristic of goals to consider is how specific and measurable they are. To demonstrate the importance of this, compare and contrast the following two goals for the Lakeland 100. First, a runner may set himself the goal of trying his hardest, whereas another may set herself the goal of finishing the race in under 30 hours. The first of these is extremely vague and almost impossible to measure objectively. How is a runner setting this type of goal going to know whether he has been successful in achieving his goal – do we ever really know whether we have tried our hardest? In contrast, the second goal is highly specific and measurable. For good or bad, the second runner is clearly going to whether she has achieved this performance goal. Such goals tend to be more effective because they identify a clear standard by which we can judge success, classify the level of performance we expect from ourselves and give us a clear criterion that provides a guide for setting other process and performance goals (e.g., the average pace we need to maintain, target splits for check points, average heart rate we need to maintain, pace targets to keep during long runs over similar terrain in training). So, the first guideline for setting effective goals is to set specific measurable goals.

Another key consideration when setting goals is the level of difficulty we set our goals at – should we be setting goals that are right on our limits or ones that are much easier that we stand a much better chance of achieving? Research on goal setting suggests moderately difficult goals represent the level of difficulty we should be aiming for, so how do we best go about setting such goals. This is where evaluating past performances and using these to gauge what is achievable in oncoming races is very important. To do this, review your performances over the past 12-18 months, and identify your best performances and the training you did to achieve them. Then, look realistically at the training your think you can commit to between now and next July, and assuming you can commit to similar or higher levels of training to those that brought your best performance/s over the last 12-18 months, set a target for the Lakeland 50/100 that is just beyond what you achieved then. If you have not competed in one of the Lakeland events, look at what people who you know have achieved and use this information in formulating a performance goal for you that is just beyond the performance level/s you have achieved recently. If you don’t think you can commit to similar or higher levels of training, then you should adjust your goals accordingly based on what you think you can realistically commit to. So, the second guideline for setting goals is to set moderately difficult goals.

Another aspects of goal setting relates to whether we should setting goals on things we want to do more of (i.e., increasing desirable behaviours such as regular strength-training sessions) or whether to centre goals on factors we want to reduce (i.e., decreasing undesirable behaviours such as not eating unhealthy foods during key training phases). Generally it is better to set positively focussed goals that identify what you want to accomplish rather than negatively focussed goals that focus the mind on potentially detrimental behaviours. So for the negative example above it would be better to set goals relating to the food you should be eating to support your training, rather than ones that target decreasing the unhealthy foods that are not going to help you recover and adapt from your training. As a by-product of achieving your positive goals (e.g., eating foods that are linked with adaptation in this example) you should reduce the negative behaviour (eating unhealthy foods) anyway but without feeling you have failed if you occasionally engage in the negative behaviour. So, the third guideline for effective goal setting is to set goals that focus on increasing and achieving desirable behaviours and outcomes rather than ones centred on undesirable ones.

The final aspect of effective goals setting we are going to look at here is the importance of setting both short- and long-term goals. Long-term goals are needed to give your training and racing an overall destination, and the short-term goals will guide you along the best route to arrive at that destination. If you like, your long-term goal represents a final grid-reference, whereas your short term goals represent all the bearings and tracks you will need to follow to arrive at that grid-reference. Now I would assume that a long-term goal for most people will be their performance at the Lakeland 50/100 in 2017, although for some – especially for some 50 runners – this race could be a stepping stone along the way to something bigger. Taking the former case, the first key step is to identify a specific, measurable, moderately difficulty positively focussed goal for next July. From there, you then need to assess your current strengths and weaknesses and identify all the key factors you need to work on and improve to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be on the 28th July 2017. They factors may centre on processes you need to improve (e.g., hydration/nutrition strategy, regular and consistent use of poles) as well as physical (e.g., aerobic conditioning, speed, functional strength) or technical (e.g., speed and efficiency on technical/downhill terrain) attributes that need further development. Once you have identified these key factors that you need to address, you need order these in a logical order and set specific progressive goals that identify criterion levels of improvement that you can work towards and evaluate progress based upon. Races should be specifically selected along the way so that they help you develop and test the processes you plan to implement in July, and also allow you to test your performance levels as you progress. Ideally, you should have short-term goals set for every 4-6 weeks so that you always have an immediate focus for your current training. If you are in the latter camp and your Lakeland event is a stepping stone on the way to something else then the process is the same, you just need to identify where your Lakeland race fits in this overall plan and what process/performance goals you should be setting for the Lakeland50/100 based on what you are working towards and where it sits time wise in your build-up to your main event.

To conclude, in this blog we have looked at the types of goals we should be setting the majority of the time – performance and process – and four key factors that we need to consider if we are going to develop an effective goal-setting strategy that will help you to arrive in Coniston next July with the strategic, physical and technical attributes needed to achieve your goals for the race. In the next blog we will take this one step further and look at goal-implementation strategy and how actually put the goals you have hopefully now set into action.

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