Goal Setting for Training

Goal Setting for Training

Goal setting for training is often the last thing on people’s minds when they want to live a healthier and fitter life. It’s very common for them to want to get straight into training sessions, working hard and pushing themselves into oblivion.

They do this without really having an outcome or a clear direction of what it is they want to achieve. However, there is a clear link between goal setting and success. So it’s a good idea to stop and think, what is it you want to achieve? Is it really want you want? Explore the ideas around why you want to achieve the goal, as well as exploring the obstacles that will stop you from achieving it.

Doing this will help you develop a mindset for success and goal setting will help you clarify what your goal is and how you are going to get there.

Different Types of Goals

In regards to exercise and performance, there are different types of goals. The most common type of goal is an ‘outcome‘ goal. This is a main goal that provides the big picture and a sense of purpose. For instance, changing body shape is an outcome goal. Another type of goal are ‘performance‘ goals. This is how we perform up against a measure e.g. in a 10 km race. To ensure we hit performance goals, we need ‘process‘ goals, or smaller targets we use to achieve a bigger outcome e.g part of the process of running 10km is to set a goal of running 30 minutes every other day. The main mistake people make when goal setting is focussing on ‘performance’ and ‘outcome’ goals rather than ‘process‘ goals. If we solely shift our focus onto the result then we’ve stopped focusing on the process that will ultimately help achieve the desired outcome.


Goals are always stated specifically, must be measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. During consultations with my clients, I tend to start with the outcome goal and create a timeline that works backwards. This helps create a discussion with clients that formulates a well formed outcome. This is written down, with planned steps of action of short, medium and long term goals until we are at the start of the journey.

If you don’t plan to succeed how will you know if you’ve got there? And whether the plan is working or not?

By Daryl Browne MSc