Planning and goal setting; Plan ahead and put it in writing

The FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic 2017

70km, 1800m of climbing, max gradient of 17%, 9km ’Monster’ Climb!


2017 will be the 14th time the monster rears its ugly head to challenge mountain bikers of all shapes and sizes from the elites and pro’s looking to conquer the monster and finish on the podium to those looking to finish and enjoy the end of race hospitality Stillwater Sports is renowned for.


Life is busy. Somewhere between family, friends, work, and sleep we’re supposed to be fit, healthy and successful. The alarm goes off, we hit snooze while wiping the sleep out of our eyes until it snoozes no more, we’re downing our smoothie on our morning commute instead of eating a post workout breakfast, the commute is taking longer than usual because we left late (and maybe a few others did too!), we wished we had gotten out of bed and ridden our bike/s or gone to the gym / training studio to get that regular endorphin boost that hasn’t been so regular. We stare at a screen checking email while glancing at our Twitter feed on our smart (stupid?) phones. We leave work with good intentions but somewhere during the journey our enthusiasm wains and the workout gets moved to another day. We convince ourselves that tomorrow will be different, except tomorrow is now today….


Living a healthy lifestyle will enhance every area of our lives, athletic and otherwise. And if we don’t look after ourselves we won’t be able to take care of anybody else, even the flight attendants on a delayed Kulula flight remind us of this in the unfortunate event of a water landing!
Step 1: Start by writing down our goals and events for the next 6 to 12 months then rate those on a very simple scale as either A, B or C with A being our most important event / goal and C being something that we’d consider part of the journey to achieving our ‘A’ Goal / event.

Tip: Aim for 3 ‘A’ events in 9 months, that’s achievable and realistic.


Step 2: Write down up to 5 or 6 objectives that we need to accomplish in order to achieve that ‘A’ goal.  ‘Riding faster’ or ‘losing weight’ are not goals, they have no end so they are dreams, increasing our FTP (Functional Threshold power) to 200w in 6 weeks is a goal, losing 5% body fat in 8 weeks is a goal.


Step 3: Start – show up, be consistent.  Training is not easy but it’s rewarding and the more we train the more rewarding it becomes and the more fun we have.


Let’s make this more realistic and assume one of our ‘A’ events is the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic where we’d like to complete the 70km and be able to ride the ‘monster’ without stopping.

This will require;

–       a good level of aerobic fitness (to finish),

–       a good power to weight ratio (to be able to climb for 9km at a pace you can maintain for the duration of the climb)

–       good MTB skills to tackle the technical sections


We then break these objectives down even more and put values to them to make them achievable goals and not dreams;

–       Increase our fitness by 50% in 3 months by following a training plan (from a registered coach preferably!)

–       Increase our power to weight ratio by 25% from 2 W/kg to 2.5 W/kg in 3 months which will require a combination of weight loss and power increase

–       Attend 2 skills courses and devote one ride every week to practice those skills consistently (even top Pro’s like Arianne Luthi do this!)


Put your events and goals into a Calendar and make sure you achieve them, there are a host of fitness applications like TrainingPeaks, Garmin Connect even Strava where we set goals and monitor training progress, duration, intensities and PB’s on segments.  Make progress objective not subjective.



Enjoy, be courteous and be thankful for the privileges that allow us to achieve our goals ?

About the Author

Alasdair Garnett iAlasdairs a UCI and Training Peaks Registered coach at The Practice

TrainingPeaks Profile: Practise

Skype group:



57 1st  Avenue, Linden, Johannesburg, 2195


Comments are closed.