In our house, the “expect” word is comparable to saying “never” or “always” -- anytime those words come flying, it’s generally negative and usually prefaced by “You.” When, “You never... “ or “You always… “ comes flying, it’s predominantly in a negative sense and in the midst of less than desirable conversation (read: arguing!).
“Expect” follows close behind. Expectations can be dangerous and usually prompt disappointment. If I expect my son to sit still in his chair through the entire course of dinner, I’m setting myself up for disappointment, because 10 times out of 10, he won’t.
What are your dreams?
If you love what you do, motivation comes easy. I love the training; the races are just small celebrations of the hard work and consistency in training. When races fall off the near-term calendar, all that’s lost are the celebrations, but the love of training remains the same and the motivation as fuel and inspiration to reach dreams never dies.
I’d bet that most who are on this site reading this article are highly motivated athletes who enjoy the process of learning a little everyday. Many of us are into the off-season (or what I think is better termed “dim-season,” because we’re never really “off”). The standard protocol is to reflect back on the year and find what needs to be improved to make you better, faster and stronger for the coming season(s).
Should the focus shift to…
How about both?
When we look back and reflect on the season, the practice usually encompasses jotting down a list of what worked, what did not work, what training you enjoyed, and what training you forced yourself to get through. We may analyze every number all the nifty gadgets and testing told us about our fitness, and adjust our training so the coming season will result in better execution and less injury or training burnout.
When I look back, the lessons of my year are deeper than anything to do with training, racing, and coaching. In actuality, while it’s a “deeper” lesson, it’s much broader in perspective.
Many of us carved out most of the day on October 13 to sit in front of a computer and watch the best compete against the best in the Ironman World Championships. I’m certain that the thoughts and dreams were magnified watching the actual event unfold on that magical island and the pinnacle of our sport. Thoughts and questions rang loud: “I wish I could race there,” “Next year is my year,” “What do I need to do to get to Kona?”
Does your life function inside the bubble of the triathlon world or does triathlon fit inside the bubble of your life?
Stripping away everything-triathlon from my world, I’m a husband, father, full-time IT professional, coach, friend, son and brother. If I tried to squeeze and balance those components of my life inside a world dictated by triathlon, I’d lose and my bubble would pop. Triathlon only fits when there’s balance amongst those things that weigh heavier in importance.
A good friend always sends me the same email the Monday before the following weekend’s big event: “It’s race week!” Race week can and should be exciting. The hard work is done and the only thing really left to do is press “play.” However, making race week what it should takes preparation and planning prior to the actual race week. I like to think about not having to think during race week.