S.M.A.R.T - How to Set 2020 Goals

S.M.A.R.T - How to Set 2020 Goals

S.M.A.R.T - How to set 2020 goals and become faster, stronger, and better.

by Brianna "Brie" Walle, ALP Cycles Coaching

2020 is just around the corner! Our athletes are getting pumped thinking about next year; the races they want to win, making the podium and getting faster, better and stronger. This week's blog post is about how to set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. 

The acronym "S.M.A.R.T," is often used in the realm of Physical Therapy (PT). PT's will work with their patients to create S.M.A.R.T goal(s) to essentially help them build: strength, mobility, and lead healthier, pain-free lives. S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. The goal of S.M.A.R.T is to incorporate all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase your chances of achieving your goals. 

What does this look like in the context of 2020 racing goals? Below is an example: 

S.M.A.R.T. goal: To place top 5 at USA Individual Time-Trial Championships (Women's Pro)


  • The TT is 32.3km (20.1 miles) and you strive to do it under 45 mins (27.41 miles/hr - 44.11 KM/hr).
  • You have a general idea of your competition's strengths and weaknesses.
  • You have done the research and know the previous year's average speeds and times for a similar or same course. 
  • You know that the time is likely achievable as you've done 20 min FTP efforts in about 10 miles, and know that it may not be realistic to put out the same effort for twice as long, so you add some mins (ie: 5 mins). It's an undulating course and tops at 500ft gain.

Applying S.M.A.R.T

  • Specific - target a specific area for improvement. For Example: Improve pacing of a 20 mile LT effort (and in under 45 mins) on undulating terrain. Workouts geared at pacing, cadence drills, and increased time. 
  • Measurable - quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress. For Example: LT efforts with weekly builds: 5 mins each week, working up to 45 mins as the estimated race time. Each week is treated as micro "check-in" to practice pacing, ultimately ending at the 45 min point. In race-season, retest (1-2 times) on a similar course to measure improvements and work on weaknesses (ie: pacing - not blowing up in the last 50% of the TT - finish strong)
  • Assignable - specify who will do it. For Example: athlete is responsible for completing the assigned training, coach is there to check in and guide the athlete. The training is specific to the goal and the athlete must understand that in order to improve, the homework needs to be done.
  • Realistic - state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources. For Example: if you're unable to hit the sub 45 min mark, revise the goals to match. This could mean revising your time to 47 mins and a top 10 placement. The use of power meters and heart rate can help with your pacing efforts. 
  • Time-related - specify when the result(s) can be achieved. For Example: you know Nationals is in May and that you have a monthly test at the specific distance (20.1 miles) as "milestones" - the milestones are a time to revise the goal as needed.

S.M.A.R.T goal setting is a fantastic, organized way for an athlete and coach to create goals. Now is the perfect time to meet with your coach and start the process. Learn more about our coaching services here

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Brie Walle ALP Cycles Coaching

Brie is originally from Portland, Oregon and comes from a multi-sport background. Alpine ski racing and cross-country running were her early specialties, but cycling has always been #1.

Brianna has close to a decade of racing experience, including Cyclocross. She joins us after racing 5 years on UCI international teams TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank and Optum Por Cycling p/b Kelley Benefit Strategies (currently known as "Rally Cycling"). She was a General Classification (G.C.) rider with strengths in individual and Team Time Trial. Her proudest moments include winning the 2016 North Star Grand Prix, 2014 Tour de Feminin (Czech), 2015 USA Team Time Trial National Championship and working for Mara Abbott (USA National Team) at the 2013 Giro Rosa.

 Brianna specializes in: Road racing and tactics, cyclocross and exceptional communication skills.. She is looking forward to passing on her knowledge and assisting her athletes in reaching their full potential.

About ALP Cycles Coaching

ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Shawn Heidgen, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoach