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Day 18 – Triathlon Objectives

156 days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Training With Purpose

Many years ago our triathlon club brought in a coach from Jacksonville (NC not FL). Two or three times each week, we would submit ourselves to his torture sessions workouts. He was tough and good which are two of the reasons my race performance got a little better that year. However, there was one problem. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but there was something that has bothered me for years. The coach said,

I don’t believe in junk miles. When we start a workout it is going to have purpose. coach

At the time, I ate it up. I loved his idea that all our workouts would have a purpose. I had been studying the first edition of Joe Friel’s book that talked about goals, objectives and periodization, so I was excited. We were going to train with a purpose.

With a purpose.

What purpose? The workouts were tough, “breakthrough” quality, but what was I really training for? What were the others training for? I don’t remember having any goals or objectives that year other than to race. Some of us were preparing for Pinehurst International Triathlon while others were preparing for IRONMAN Florida. Yet all of us did the same workouts.

As I now read the new edition of Joe Friel’s book, The Triathlete’s Training Bible, I am more aware than ever of my need to train with a purpose. I am also reminded that training with a purpose implies goals and objectives. It is not enough to simply have an idea of what you want to accomplish. It must be written down (or typed, if you’re too young to remember pencil and paper) in specific terms.

Goals And Objectives

The goal doesn’t necessarily have to be measurable, but the objectives do, because the objectives are the stepping stones to accomplishing your goal. If the goal is measurable thats even better. That way you will know with absolute certainty if you accomplished it or not. In my case, 2020 season goals are in terms of race outcomes and the objectives are in terms of performance.


  1. May 17, IRRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga under 5:45:00

  2. Fall long course triathlon under 5:40:00

The best I’ve ever done on a USAT long course is about 5:45, so beating that in the first A race of 2020 will be a good step toward Kona qualification. A possible second A race for 2020 is IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid.

Two goals is enough to get me through this first season of my road to Kona.


I’m still working on the objectives for 2020. The elusive piece is trying to connect performance stats to a race outcome. I suppose if I set an objective for a certain pace, the run can be tied to a race outcome. Same with the swim.

Bike fitness, on the other hand, is built through power, not speed. If an honest objective is stated in terms of watts, it can probably be achieved, but how does that relate to a race outcome?

Thinking Out Loud

I’m sure the answer lies in time, not watts. We train with power, but we have an idea of how fast we need to go to reach the goal. For example, my swim, run and transitions might total 2:40, so the bike needs to be less than 3:05.

I think I just found my objectives. Thanks for letting me think out loud.

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