Getting good grades is one of the ways we measure our success in life. “Making the grade” is also how we’re assessed in business and other pursuits as well.
How do you grade yourself as an athlete?
Most commonly we use benchmarks such as time or distance to grade our efforts. But those empirical measurements do not always tell the whole story. When you show up for a race and the weather is hot or the wind is high, automatically your goals must be adjusted to account for the conditions.
What follows is a simple system for grading yourself across a spectrum of attributes. They apply to your conditioning and training no matter what sport you do, running, riding or swimming.
But remember, a “failing” grade does not mean you are hopeless. It means you want to improve in that particular area or number of areas.
To develop an overall grade, use the system of A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2 and F=1. Then add up all the categories and divide by 10 to get your overall grade for each week.
GRADE 1: LOGISTICS
How you prepare for training or racing can make all the difference in your success. Every week you should rate your performance by the following calculations.
A: I have my workout equipment in good shape and ready to go at all times.
B: Sometimes I have to search for workout gear or equipment.
C: Often I’m scrambling to get ready for workouts or races.
D: Almost every workout or event I’m either late or delayed due to gear issues.
F: My gear is always lost or in bad shape, and I’m always late for training or races.
GRADE 2: MOTIVATION
Being mentally prepared for workouts and races is important because it helps you know what you want to accomplish and helps you achieve your goals.
A: I have a clear picture and plan for what I want to accomplish, and do the work.
B: I have a strong idea of how I want to improve and find ways to make that happen.
C: My motivation depends on how much time I have to work out and race.
D: I’m consistently disappointed by my inconsistency and desire to succeed.
F: It’s hard to get up for workouts and I’m only doing the bare minimum right now.
GRADE 3: WORKOUTS
Planning and completing a high-quality, intelligently balanced workout schedule is absolutely key to athletic success.
A: I am consistently completing workouts as prescribed and races are going well.
B: My workouts are going fairly well and I’ve had a few good races.
C: I don’t see improvement but I haven’t given up in workouts or races.
D: I’m tired all the time and the rewards of racing are hard to find.
F: It’s all going backwards it seems. My workouts are too hard and racing too.
GRADE 4: GOALS
Setting goals defines the structure for what you do in training. Running a marathon, completing a Century or doing a triathlon each require goal-based training to build the proper base and peak for the event.
A: I set goals that I work to achieve and have benchmarks to measure my progress.
B: I have met some goals in workouts and racing but not all.
C: Goal-setting is hard because I don’t really know what leads to success.
D: My goals seem impossible so I don’t always think about them.
F: Goals have been hard to achieve and I don’t really use them anymore.
GRADE 5: RACES or EVENTS
Knowing your event schedule helps you structure your overall year in terms of training emphasis. Setting expectations is vital to your mental attitude.
A: My event schedule is well-defined, manageable and forms the foundation of my goals.
B: Events are a good measure of my training and I’m planning to do a few.
C: I will sign up for a few events depending on my schedule and training.
D: I might do a few events if the mood hits me.
F: Events are too much of a commitment for me.
GRADE 6: LIFE BALANCE
It’s easy to get carried away with your fitness program. That’s why tracking and grading your life balance is important.
A: My training and racing are in good balance with work, family and other commitments.
B: I feel pressed for time but everything seems to be working.
C: Finding mental and physical time for workouts is getting harder.
D: It seems like time spent working out is a stress for everyone in my life, including me.
F: My workouts and training are causing definite strain on my relationships and work.
GRADE 7: PHYSICAL HEALTH
Your performance and fitness level is dependent on your physical health. Grading your physical health is a way to be sure your foundation remains strong. It is possible to be fit and not be well.
A: My body feels in balance in terms of strength, biomechanics and diet.
B: There are some weak points in my body that need work, such as strength.
C: I’ve had injuries or illnesses that have caused me to miss workouts and races.
D: The stress of training and racing are regularly causing me to get sick or hurt.
F: I can’t get in shape or stay in shape because I’m hurt or sick all the time.
GRADE 8: SELF IMAGE, SELF ESTEEM, SELF DISCIPLINE, SELF-DISCOVERY SELF FULFILLMENT
Athletes are often the type of people who are driven to succeed, but that drive can get away from you or even replace healthy self-esteem with a type that is dependent on your athletic performance. That’s a danger zone, so making the grade in self esteem is important.
A: I like how I feel because I am strong, fit and healthy, and my self esteem is strong.
B: Generally I feel good about myself every day and am well-rounded.
C: It’s hard to feel good all the time and I consistently doubt myself.
D: Every day when I wake up it’s a struggle to feel good about myself.
F: I’m not feeling hopeful about my condition and feel like I need help.
GRADE 9: PROGRESS
The feeling of making progress is great and you can measure your progress in a number of ways.
A: Year-to-year I feel like I am improving in critical areas, even accounting for age.
B: I see progress in my workouts and training but can’t always plan on it.
C: Not much progress here, and the few things that have gone well could be better.
D: My lack of progress is frustrating and de-motivating.
F: It’s been a while since I felt like I was progressing.
GRADE 10: GOOD SLEEP, REST, DIET AND PERSPECTIVE
These qualities may seem to be outside the sphere of grading yourself but they are all critical to your long-term success.
A: I understand the need for good sleep, rest and diet and have a good perspective.
B: Most of the time I do well in these categories.
C: All these categories need work and I don’t always know where to start.
D: Depending on the week, I’m at 25% to 50% in these four categories.
F: Are you kidding? I don’t think any of this is happening right now.
Please feel free to share this Grading System across your social networks. Our goal at WeRunAndRide.com is to promote healthy participation in athletic pursuits such as running, riding and racing.
If, after grading yourself you’d like to write a commentary on how you plan to improve, send your “grade” and your response to: email@example.com.