So you set yourself a goal, you put in the work that you think is right, and then the day comes and you don't reach your goal. What happens then?
I know I am not the only one that has experienced this. In fact, I am certain that everyone reading this has had this happen at some point in their lives, likely more than once. It doesn't even have to be athletic goals. Personally, I distinctly remember studying my butt off for an Organic Chemistry exam my sophomore year at Purdue University, hiring a tutor, and going over every quiz and study guide. The day of the exam came and I opened it up and looked at the first problem and literally could not start the test. I had no idea how to do begin the problem. I remember staring at the clock and not knowing what to do.
I am here to tell you that I did experience that. My grade on that exam was not even close to what I thought I was prepared for, and it was not for lack of effort or motivation to do better. It's been 20 years since that day, and I turned out okay. I did not grow up to be an Organic Chemist or a Veterinarian which was my goal at the time, but that doesn't mean I am stupid or not able to reach goals. I also didn't fail Organic Chemistry, for the record. I did have to get more assistance and different kind of assistance to learn the subject material in a way I could understand it and apply it, because at the end of the day, everyone has individual ways they learn and grow.
So what does this have to do with triathlon, running, swimming or cycling ? Well, as athletes, we register for races and we set goals. For some of us that is just to finish, for others it is a time goal. Sometimes we meet those goals, sometimes we don't. Sometimes it means that our training wasn't on point for the event for us INDIVIDUALLY; sometimes it means that our nutrition was off; sometimes it means that we have other factors in our lives or bodies that are making it difficult to perform (stress/sleep/illness)...there are so many reasons that we may not reach a goal -- and this is the biggest reason I recommend a coach to learn these things; but if you can't afford it -- use these experiences as learning. Analyze the data after and talk it through with your friends, athletes, etc... it is NOT a personal failure. However, if you really want to reach a goal, it is important look at how things could have been different to help you.
At the end of the day, remember why you set this goal. What is your Why? Keep that at the front and center of your mindset to keep you going.
Your goals don't have to make sense to someone else . They just have to make sense to you.