Depending on your background you may have some ideas of what a successful ultra cycling or running event should be. Defining your own criteria for success and training towards those will help you get both enjoyment and satisfaction from your cycling and/or running.

What are Success Criteria?

Success criteria are the things that are meaningful and important to you that will make your event a success in your eyes. They can be the same or similar to others but they are set by you and provide you with the purpose to train and enter events.

Success criteria range from 'Finish the event in one piece' to 'Finish in x amount of time.' 

It's usually good to have several success criteria some of which are 'stretch' targets which may or may not happen, others of which are more achievable.

Success criteria should include things over which you have some control.

For my last ultra my success criteria were as follows:

  • Get to the start line injury free
  • Complete the distance in 10-11 hours - sub 10 would be amazing, anything less than 11 hours 30 minutes would be acceptable
  • Enjoy running in some new beautiful mountains
  • Finishing strong

Why have success criteria?

Success criteria are what provide meaning to your event for you. There are not many people who will break a world record, there is only one person who can win a race; if we set out to do these things, regardless of our ability we are in danger of failure.

Fear of failure is what can stop you even starting. Having things to achieve that are in your control will reduce this fear.

Embrace the Unknown

'It would not be an adventure if you knew the outcome.'

While many of us like to succeed in what we set out to do and abhor the idea of failure dealing with this fear is a crucial part of an ultra adventure. If we were guaranteed success across the board we really wouldn't be challenging ourselves very much at all.

Changing how you view success and failure can help; life is not pass or fail and neither is your event. Every event you do is an experiment to see what you can do, so going into it with a sense of curiosity about what will happen and what you can achieve may help. In particular being open to the possibility that it might not go quite the way you want or expect.

Being able to do this in your event is a transferrable life skill that is key to engaging in all life's challenges.

Practise Evaluating

If you practise evaluating your key workouts based on success criteria this will help you approach your event in a healthier more positive way. It will also help you improve your workouts and train more effectively as you learn from each session. 

I like to to ask the following to promote evaluating as a key part of the training process:

What went well?

What would you do differently next time?

What have you learned from this that you want to implement in future training sessions and events?

For each of these we think about physical, practical and psychological aspects.

Why not book a free 20 minute consultation to find out how we can help you. 


Subscribe to our blog

Please share with your friends

Other articles you might like

Clare Pearson
Post by Clare Pearson
June 7, 2024
A professional endurance coach since 2018, Clare Pearson has worked with endurance cyclists and runners to help them achieve their goals. Clare specialises in endurance events, she loves to work with people to help them succeed at their own goals; whether that's a personal best, a completion, a podium or better emotional health. Clare will work with you to design a plan that fits in with your day to day life and helps you get the most out of each session.