Setting Goals For A Successful SUP Race Season

One of the best techniques to increase preparedness and motivation in SUP training and racing is goal setting. Getting up early for a training session is not always going to be easy. However, establishing goals at different levels of training and competition will provide progressive steps toward realizing your competitive dreams.

In order to be most effective with your goals, there are several components that must be included in a well-organized goal setting program.

Long Term Goals

These goals include what you ultimately want to achieve in your SUP participation. Examples of long term goals can include competing in the Molokai to Oahu race or simply beating a personal record time on a certain course. These are important goals, but should not be focused on too often in your daily training.

Seasonal Goals

Seasonal goals are the milestones you want to accomplish in the coming season, such as achieving a certain time in a particular race or reaching a higher level of competition. These goals are important because they will determine all subsequent goals that you set.

Free Download: 5 Simple Tips to help you reach your seasonal goals!

Competition Goals

Designate how you want to perform in a particular event during the season. Competition goals might include a certain placing in a specific race or beating a particular paddler you have never finished ahead of. These goals are important because attaining them should lead to reaching your seasonal goals.

Training Goals

Training goals indicate what you need to do in your training that will help you to reach your competitive goals. These goals might include developing your technique, increasing your race pace or perfecting your beach starts.

Lifestyle Goals

Lifestyle goals specify what you need to do in your general lifestyle to reach the goals above. For example, eating better or getting more sleep.

The layout of these goals is done this way to create incremental and progressive improvements. Each goal leads step-by-step to achieving the next set of accomplishments.

Small Goals

A 10,000 mile journey starts with one step. You can improve your motivation and the quality of your training each day by setting small goals. These goals describe exactly what you want to accomplish during each training session.

Before each training session, ask yourself, “What am I going to improve on today?”. Small goals are a great way to work on putting all of your focus and intensity into your training. These goals are all about helping you to work smarter, not harder.

Goal Guidelines

When setting goals, it is important to follow certain guidelines to help maximize their value.


Goals should be challenging, but realistic and attainable. They should be reachable, but only with hard work.


Goals should be specific, measurable and time-limited. For example, an ineffective goal is “I want to get faster”, whereas a valuable goal is “I want to decrease my 100 meter sprint time by 3 seconds in the next 3 months.”


Remember to focus on the degree, instead of the absolute attainment, of your goals.  You will not reach all of your goals, but there will always be improvement toward a goal. By emphasizing measurable improvement, changes in performance can be tracked and progress can be rewarded (we enjoy rewards in the form of cake or beer) : )


Goals should be reevaluated and updated regularly. Some goals may turn out to be too easy and must be made more difficult. Other goals may have been set too high and must be adjusted downward.


Goal setting is a process where there is never really an end. When one goal is reached, a new higher goal should be made.


In our last post we discussed technique and today the importance of setting goals. Our next post will be a preview from the Race Strategy section of our upcoming eBook, SUP Training The Smart Way, launching on March 31st.


Get ready for an exclusive look inside pro race strategies that we guarantee will give you a faster SUP race time. In the meantime, work to implement the tips we have provided in the Technique post.