The Dilemma with Goals

I have to admit, I’m somewhat in a “depressional-state”. Riding or running seems kind of senseless right now. And that’s weird, cause I know, that endurance sports enrichens my life. It makes me happier, smarter, healthier … usually.

I still do my weekly sessions and get in a volume of almost 10 hours a week. Mostly none bike commuting and hard run sessions. But I do it, because I’m used to, not because I want to. I have this feelings since almost four weeks. And the funny-weird thing is, that I don’t want it to be it that way. I want to have fun and I want to “want” to do endurance sports.

I recently did a triathlon, just to test, if the “feeling” is coming back. Maybe I miss some competition, I thought. So I showed up, I swam (didn’t have fun), I’ve ridden my bike (this was fun) and I ran … mostly walked, cause I mentally broke instantly after the bike: “Why should I run? Why? This doesn’t make any sense. I’m not first, I’m not last, my wife doesn’t care, my mum doesn’t care, sh*t even I don’t care about my finishing-time. ”

Since this triathlon, I’m constantly thinking about what’s different right now in contrast to the past two years – where I had enormous fun in sports and even startetd this blog, cause I thought, I will always … ALWAYS be an endurance athlete.

This is what I found out:

Last year, my targets were: Bike commute as often as I can, upgrading from 2 to 5 days a week. Get in long adventure rides of more than 200 Kilometers length. Visit a family member every once in a while by bike, which usually meant riding more than 100 Kilometers a day. And prepare for the brevet-series 2017.

This year, I changed my targets to time based ones. I wanted to run a half marathon under 1:45, a full marathon under 3:30 and an olympic triathlon under 2:30. I’ve chosen running goals mainly because my brother wanted to participate in a marathon and I said, I will help him. The triathlon was there as somewhat of a compromise between running and my love for cyling.

You see the dilemma? My targets weren’t really targets for me.

Targets which usually suit me, are falling more into the category adventure, efficiency, money saving and mental breakthrough.

What’s better? This:

“”Hey girl, I ran a 1:38:52 half marathon. Wanna bang?”

Or: “Hey girl. I rode my bike more than 10.000 Kilometers this year, saved 3.000 Euro for gas, helped the environment and had time with my family.”

Really, I don’t win ANYTHING with time based goals πŸ™‚

So, which goals then are better than time based goals for me?

  1. Doing epic adventure stuff like century rides or climbing grueling hills just for the view from the top of the world.
  2. Money saving by integrating my endurance sports into my daily life, like bike- or runcommuting. 
  3. Getting in social or family time with the help of my bike or feet.
  4. Or doing something that I’ve never done before. 

    So, do you have personal – non time based – goals?


    26 responses to “The Dilemma with Goals

    1. Brother, I don’t even even have goals anymore, I just ride for fun. Cycling is what my companions and I do for fun. Do what puts a smile on your face, man. Try new things, find some more friends to ride with…. just make sure and ride!

      Good luck, brother.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for sharing such a personal post. I think you’re absolutely right about making your goals personal and of value to you as an individual. I’m just starting out and have only been running for three months but even so, I find myself having to focus on what I want to get out of it for me. I want to be fitter, healthier, happier. I want to be able to take part in organised events so I can fund raise for causes that are important to me. And I want to feel proud of myself – for doing something that I never thought I would be physically able to do. Sometimes at the end of a run, I’ll look at my stats and feel disappointed that I’m plodding along slowly and my split times are rubbish compared to other peoples but I have to remind myself – that’s not why I run! I’ll get faster as I work towards my personal goals of getting fitter and healthier. I’ll take part in a race not because I want to beat a time or get a high finishing position but so that I can see my family waiting for me at the finish line with smiling proud faces. That’s the way round it should be, if that makes sense. Thank you again for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Pretty much Echo what Jim said I don’t have any real specific goals anymore either. Maybe some micro Kom here in there when I’m riding but nothing on a macro level. My goals are to ride in as many different places as I can, try to enjoy each ride pick out something about the area or a landmark or the history of the day or something you’ve seen along the way to make you appreciate nature and life. It’s the experience not the activity… if that makes any sense.πŸ˜ƒ just being outside makes me appreciate my life more whether I’m on the mtb or hiking trails or on the road… but I definitely understand what you’re going through right now I’m losing my motivation because work is busy and I’m very tired but like you said you know some type of activity makes you feel better once you do it. I think everybody experiences these peaks and valleys it’s just a matter of pushing yourself to get out and do something. πŸ‘ whether it’s by yourself or with a friend or a group. Keep the faith mate! ☺


      Liked by 1 person

    4. I read this with a lot of interest. I’ve never really considered this aspect of goal-setting before, but it rings so true … the wrong goals can actually be demotivating.
      Glad you’ve had the AHA moment and can now refocus your attention.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Where do I start with this… Firstly I fully understand how you feel, I enjoy training, It’s the pushing my self to be the best I can be is what drives me mostly, I don’t care about winning anything because there’s always someone fitter and faster. I just want to know that I’ve done my best. 2 Weeks ago I completed a 300km ride with >16k of climbing. It was going to be the furthest and possibly the hardest ride I have ever done. I recovered from an injury and started training for this in November last year. Structured training 10-20hrs a week. My goal was just to finish and not suffer too much along the way. It’s what kept me going through the crappy winter, out on the bike at 0500 for 3 hrs in the dark, cold and wet. Before work, after work fitting training in whenever I could around other life stuff. At the day of the event I was fitter, stronger, lighter than I have been for a long time. I found the ride pretty easy and I could of definitely pushed myself by riding faster. Since then I’ve been on my bike twice for a few short spins, no training, just riding. I had plans to enter some harder events next year abroad but to be honest I just want to chill on my bike from now on. I’ll ride when I want to if I want to rather than following a structured programme which was starting to feel like a chore at times. Having to train when it was cold, dark after work when you’re tired or before everyone got up in the morning was starting to get to me. So now I feel a bit lost, I’m just gonna ride my bike and get a bit fatter (very low body fat is not a good look) I’m still gonna exercise as I love the healthy lifestyle but I’m not training for anything and I certainly won’t be racking up those kind of hours on the bike anytime soon. My subscription to trainingpeaks won’t be getting renewed and I’m looking at joining the smart indoor trainer revolution to keep me ticking over through winter for the odd hour here and there. Happy days ahead. If you don’t enjoy doing something then stop doing it, find something else that’s gonna make you happy, that’s the fun part learning new stuff. Life is way too short 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    6. Stefan. This sounds like over-training to me. The loss of motivation. The loss of pleasure in exercising and life in general. The signs are all there. Your body is telling you it needs a break. Your commuting regimen sounds pretty tough: I think you are doing a lot of work without really thinking about it. You should take a complete break for a few weeks then just ride and run when the fancy takes you. Do it for fun not for “efficiency”. You will soon get your Mojo back!

      Liked by 1 person

    7. Hi Stefan. Remember it’s your life (OK, you’ve chosen to spend a lot of it with your wife, and maybe children – not my place to ask) and when the reaper comes along, can you stare back at him and say ‘I’ve enjoyed this time, so do what you will’?

      I dislike my commute to work, not because of the bike but because Edinburgh’s road surfaces are horrible. I sometimes drag myself through spinning sessions, watching the clock – but once in a while the high will come – and every time the folk at the spin-club are great. And I know it’s good for when my fiancΓ©e and I, and our bikes, get ourselves to continental Europe in a few weeks time to enjoy fabulous Euro-Asphalt. Even when I’m labouring up a hill to my university’s furthest campus, I know the reward will come with the views at the top, the speeding home and the Β£5 not spent on the bus which I can spend on good coffee or music.

      So ride to enjoy, and be nice to yourself – you and the rest of the world deserve this.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. Mate! been there done that.

      First a couple of observations. setting a time goal has to be realistic, I would be suspicious of your half marathon and marathon goals as a marathon takes a lot longer that two half marathons. my feeling is that you unknowingly set yourself up to fail. I can’t comment on the triathlon as I don’t know how you came to your times.

      Time is a fickle goal, it depends on the conditions and the course, running a 3:30 in Berlin is a completely different prospect to running a 3:30 in Munich and to be quite frank, no one really cares apart from you. Most people haven’t run a marathon or trained for an endurance event so they have no idea what a 3:30 or 4:30 marathon is, most don’t even know how long a marathon is. It’s definitely not a chat up line.

      You need to sit down and think why you do what you do. If one of the answers isn’t “to enjoy it” you might have to have a serious talk with yourself. If I still lived in Munich, I’d offer to take you out for a night on the beer and a good chat!

      Try new things, enjoy what you do, eat pies, drink beer but above all make sure that when you write your memoirs they are not ordinary

      Liked by 1 person

    9. I once had a chiropractor tell me my walking, hiking, and yoga was not enough cardio and I needed to take up cycling instead. The thing is, though, I don’t like cycling personally. Because it didn’t bring me any joy, I was starting to avoid exercise altogether. Going back to what I loved changed that and now I exercise daily. So, I say, you do you! Do whatever brings joy into your life. However, the mental health specialist in me wants to say that if nothing whatsoever is bringing you the kind of joy you used to have, it might be time to see someone. Best of luck to you, and I hope you find your passion again.

      Liked by 1 person

    10. I cycle because I found out that riding helps my rehab from brain injury. Even on days that I don’t feel motivated to ride, I know that once I get rolling I will enjoy it. It brings a smile to my face and makes me feel alive. Other times I make a point of riding because it helps to dissipate the symptoms of my brain injury, the neuro fatigue, the nausea or the in ability to focus.
      Lately my additional motivation has been training to ride in a major fundraiser, having raise over $15,000 CDN personally with a group of cyclist who have raise over $1 Million for antipoverty projects. The motivation that doubles with the fundraiser is the anticipation of biking across Canada – 7000 km in the next two month – the scenery, the camaraderie of 80 other cyclist with a common cause.
      I’ll have to see how my motivation changes after this two month excursion is behind me. For that reason Stefan, this is a timely blog post for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    11. I went through this exact same thing at the start of the year – nothing was enjoyable – swimming, cycling, running, exercising – it all sucked. After taking 3-4 weeks of doing next to nothing – mostly social rides on the weekend, I found I started to enjoy shorter training sessions. I also did something I had never done before – an adventure/expedition race, in a team of 4, no time goal – the goal was to finish, which made it really fun. Over time, this has gotten me back into the rhythm of training, I’m still doing shorter sessions than previously, but I enjoy it now and can put the required efforts in.

      Liked by 1 person

    12. Completely agree with you. Last summer I decided to forgo all training and just ride for fun, pushing hard when I felt good. Ended up improving my form and enjoying cycling a lot more. Winter will be for training, as it was this past winter. That way I can avoid too much training burnout or fatigue.

      Liked by 1 person

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