028: Training and Life Balance: Have We Lost The Personal Connection? [Podcast]


Coach Al with today's guest author and team member, Olvia Syptak

Coach Al with today's guest, PAP Triathlon team member, Olivia Syptak


Training and Life Balance:

Have We Lost The Personal Connection?

Hi Everyone!

Coach Al here. For today's podcast, we welcome a NEW guest, Pursuit Athletic Performance Triathlon team member, Olivia Syptak. Olivia is a Denver, Colorado based life-coach who works with clients to develop the fullest, happiest life possible—on the race course, at home, at work, and at play. She is an accomplished triathlete and trail runner who emphasizes what she’s overcome in training and racing over finish times and rankings. Welcome Olivia!

I had the good fortune to spend some time a few weeks ago with Olivia while I was in Colorado for a conference. What an awesome visit it was! Among other things, Olivia and I discovered our mutual desire to seek a deeper process-oriented, personal connection between who we are as people, and our goals and the training we do to achieve those goals. In today's podcast, Olivia joins us for a fun and enlightening discussion on this important topic.

Here are some thoughts Olivia wanted to share on the topic:  "We high achieving, goal driven age group triathletes have a tendency to struggle with allowing ourselves to sink into, accept, and identify with the training and development process itself. Our tendency to focus on goal finish times, bike splits, even transition times all the way through the training cycle seems to cause us to lose a personal connection to the process of our growth and long term success.

Many of you likely can relate to the intoxicating rush of fear and nervous excitement you felt just as a result of signing up for that first big race. You can also probably attest to feeling immense personal satisfaction at various times during the buildup to your event. With each week you may have run farther or faster than you had previously thought you could, or that you were feeling stronger and more comfortable in the pool. Those intense, very personal feelings of confidence and pride felt with each small gain demonstrate that we have the capacity to derive real joy of achievement from the process steps themselves independent of their contribution to the long term objective.

Somewhere along the way though, as we gain experience and results in subsequent events, something shifts. We lose touch with the benefits--mental and physical--of the process components. Each workout becomes an opportunity to measure ourselves against our previous workouts. We become obsessed with data to divine some manner of proof that we are tracking to beat our previous PR. We then share training progress with friends, training partners, or all of Facebook. The process focus becomes lost.

As a result, what started out as a very personal and intrinsic goal to push one's physical limits or to satisfy an inner desire for achievement somehow becomes very public. Our drive then becomes distorted. Before we know it we are unwittingly focused on things that may not actually meet our true objective. We are no longer in touch with what we are doing and the genuine or pure intent for doing it. Instead, that which is most readily observed externally and publicly reigns.

While big, aggressive goals are incredible motivators, they have a way of burying process goals if we let them. Yet it is often in those forgotten personal, process goals where our greatest potential may lie.

Take some time this week to think about your intent. What steps can you take to refocus at a personal level with the training process? Would it be possible to set yourself free from a distant expected outcome in favor of focus on near term goals that you might achieve and celebrate every day? What can you focus on today, in this moment rather than in the future?

Consider targeting form improvements in your strength routine, greater awareness of your nutritional needs immediately after a hard run, or better balance in the water. Seemingly little goals like this that grow from your personal drive for excellence could lead to more satisfying training and in the end more impressive performance in that next big race."

We hope you enjoy the discussion. We look forward to having Olivia on board to contribute to our blog and podcast in the future!

~Coach Al

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