Chrissie Wellington on… Preparing right to smash your ‘A’ goal

The four-time Kona queen on how to set goals, boost motivation and develop your training plan

Chrissie W on... smashing your 'A' goal

Have you already decided what your A-race is going to be for the coming race season?


Congrats, now you need to put into place the training needed to smash it. Check these six tips from Ms. Chrissie Wellington…


When picking your race, the important thing is that that goal is chosen by you and fits in with your hopes, ambitions, personality, schedule, lifestyle and so forth. There’s no point in doing something because you feel you ought to or because everyone else is doing it.

When setting your A-race goal, think about: what distance appeals; the hours per week you have available to train; race location, e.g. travel time, accessibility, etc.; the course; your budget; atmosphere; friends and family support.

Then commit (literally and also mentally) and enter the race. Make it tangible – write it down and tell people. Share the journey: seek out training buddies or, better still, join a club.

It’s absolutely vital to know why you have set the race as the target. What are the reasons behind it? What is it that will motivate you when the proverbial hits the fan or times get tough?


It’s really important to write your reasons to race down, and also to have a visual of your goal – maybe as your screensaver?

When your motivation wanes, keep the goal and the rationale at the fore of your mind and know that each session is a step closer to achieving it.

I always remember Julie Dibens putting two big posters of Mirinda Carfrae and I in her turbo room to fuel her fire. Ask yourself, what will success look like?


Once you have an ‘A’ goal, you can start to work backwards and plan in some B-race goals to fit around it. It’s really important not just to focus on the end result, but also to have stepping-stone goals that will give you something to focus on, break up the journey and enable you to measure and celebrate progress.

They don’t have to be triathlons necessarily (although Katy will need to do a few before the big event to get in some race practice) and you don’t have to finalise those goals now. But if you have any other events that are on your bucket list, then now is the time to pencil them in.


Of course consistency in training will be important over the coming months as you work towards your goal, but it’s also great to inject variety into your life and training plan to stop you getting stale. ‘Training’ races are a superb way of doing this.


I’d strongly advise against setting two big goals in a season. If you really want to do well in a marathon, the training programme would look very different to that for a long-course triathlon.

That’s not to say you won’t become a faster runner from the tri training, or generally fitter and stronger, but setting, and then mentally focusing on, two big goals would mean that you risk compromising your training for both, and end up not being able to fulfill your potential in either.


It might seem scary to join a new group, especially if it’s in a sport that you feel you don’t know anything about. But trust me, you’ll have nothing to worry about and you could come out of this with a whole new group of friends and training buddies. A group dynamic is ideal for boosting motivation and providing encouragement and inspiration to push harder or further.

But it’s also important to be able to follow your own plan, which is sometimes hard if you’re always training in a group. Plus training alone can be very good for mental toughness in a race. I tended to do the steadier bike and run sessions with others, but the harder interval sessions by myself.


For lots more performance advice head to our Training section