Last month was mental toughness month on EC. Being an athlete that gravitated away from the searing nature of short duration racing, it’s natural that I feel an affinity for competitions that hinge more on execution than pain tolerance. Knowing that I’m somewhat "weak" is one of my strengths as I’ve had to learn other ways to win.
Athletics provides a vehicle through which every single one of us can create the possibility for daily wins. As a coach, I ask myself continuously, “Is this athlete benefiting from an association with me, and with the sport?”
As we read in AC’s last piece, many highly motivated athletes struggle to breakthrough because they lack the confidence to rest, to lose form and to truly focus on a single event.
How can you create this confidence?
You could hire AC and let him handle it for you! However, this would be a pretty short article, so I’m going to step back from athletic success and talk about using triathlon to create the habits that can transform your life regardless of athletic performance.
The greatest gift my parents gave me was self-esteem and they did this by providing an environment within which I could learn to be successful, daily. Creating this environment in your athletic life is a way to break free from patterns that are limiting success in your life.
A commitment to daily exercise will change your life in two important ways: first, and most important, you’ll learn to say no to yourself (today) so that you are able to train (tomorrow); second, you’ll discover that consistent moderate exercise is the best performance boost we can give our minds, moods and energy levels.
At its heart, a commitment to daily exercise (or your coach’s plan) is a simple promise. Proving to yourself, not others, that you can keep simple promises is a foundation for self-esteem. If you find that you’re unable to keep your promises then lower the bar! It’s far more important to create a habit of success than the specifics of what you do.
My progression to an elite athlete consisted of:
For a life-long athlete, the most important aspect of the above isn’t being tired; it isn’t the structure of your main set; and it isn’t winning your age group. The most important thing you learn from triathlon is setting up your life to create daily "wins" while keeping small promises to yourself.
These daily wins are a source of “no quit” when life -- not a race -- delivers a setback.
Consider if your inner circle is winning the large game of life.
Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog here.