I did a conference call recently with a group of triathletes who were seeking advice.
They wanted to talk training, "secrets" to success, how I got to Kona, and definitely DID NOT want to talk about Corona! I for one, was happy about that!
I do think that, in a way, it all comes back to the same kinds of principles - a way of thinking, of doing things, so I tried to bring it back to what they most wanted to learn.
So I asked them point blank:
What was the one thing they needed to do, or pay more attention to, that would help them realize their ultimate potential?
Of course this highly competitive group of high achieving type-A athletes, all with big future aspirations for racing, enthusiastically dug right in and started bantering back and forth. 🙂
They tossed around lots of ideas including reflecting on their experiences and what they've learned.
We talked about things like...
- hard work and consistent training
- their desire to continually learn
- the need to be increasingly honest about things like movement quality and maintaining life balance.
- and their immune system health and vitality! 🙂
They agreed that the stakes seem to have been raised. That tends to happen as time goes on, you know? In some ways, it is harder now than ever.
Along with it, the external and internal pressure to achieve more - to go faster or farther - and make it look easier, seems to also be increasing like never before.
Are you feeling it, too? If you are, is it coming from inside of you, or is it outside?
Things have changed and they'll continue to change
One thing they collectively agreed on was that training and racing (while maintaining life balance) are different now and in some ways, more challenging than ever. The "game" as we might have known it once, has clearly changed.
We live in an "information age"
Athletes and coaches now have access to more information than in the past. There are more "experts" than you can count, and because of the growth and pervasiveness of social media, we know more about what each other is doing than ever before.
(Is it me, or do you also feel like your Facebook "friends" are running, swimming, or riding faster, easier, and farther than you are?) 🙂
Technology (equipment, power meters for bike and run, GPS devices, etc.) continues to advance at an incredible rate of speed, and along with it, the software to analyze what the technology is telling us about how "good" we are.
Still, despite all of these things and the fact that it seems to all be moving at breakneck speed....they all struggled to identify that one thing which would make the biggest difference?
When I sensed that they were getting frustrated, I shared with them what I thought the key was.
Instant gratification anyone?
From my perspective, more athletes than ever before want IT, NOW, whatever "it" might be at that moment in time. Think of it as instant gratification.
I explained how frustrating it sometimes is when I talk with an athlete and realize that while it is clear they can see what it is they need to do, they rarely perceive or understand.
Because you look at something or think about it, doesn't mean you truly perceive or understand it. Because something is instantly available to your vision doesn't mean that it is instantly available to your consciousness.
Seeing is direct, immediate, uncomplicated. To perceive the details, the order of things, the connectivity and integration, takes time.
And time... is the one thing we just don't afford ourselves of, anymore.
Listen...I know what you're thinking, and I get it.
Life is short, there's little time to waste. You'd better jump now or your chance might slip away....right?
The problem is, very often in a well intentioned effort to achieve or do more, we end up with a lot less.
- We rush through, refusing to take the time to work on basic and fundamental skills. We're more inclined to just hammer away and attempt more volume, and then wonder why we get injured or never go as fast we would like.
- We don't take the time or have the patience to hold our effort in check early on in training sessions, races, or entire seasons, and then wonder why we fatigue more quickly or finish slower than we had hoped, sometimes crashing and burning all together.
- We "want" things like a kettlebell swing, barbell deadlift, pull up, or good health and movement quality, NOW, so we skip the process that's required to learn and develop these difficult-to-obtain abilities and attributes.
- When injury happens, we don't have the patience to get to the root cause of it, preferring instead to just treat symptoms so we can rush back as soon as the pain subsides, only to discover that the injury inevitably returns, causing even more frustration. (In an even worse case scenario, we do something stupid which ends up permanently shortening our athletic lifespan).
- When it comes to racing, as endurance athletes we think it's normal to go from racing shorter sprint distance to longer distance events almost overnight, disrespecting the longer distance and the time it takes to build the requisite skill and stamina to do well. What often results are much slower performances than we are capable of, and injury (again), accepting either as "the norm. "
- Some are now so short of patience, that after a race goes bad or they end up injured (again), they try to justify the poor choices that led to the predicament they're in with self-deprecating and/or self-defeating talk (most often to themselves).
- We never seem to take enough time to work on ourselves or have patience with ourselves, OR take the time to develop a foundational philosophy that reflects our core values and will guide us when things get hard. We just leap from one thing to the next, or look to the next fad, secret sauce, or quick fix, hoping that it will be THE thing that finally leads us to success.
...patience to do things the right way and stay the course...patience to perceive, not just see...
...patience to truly enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination...and patience to embrace the process of learning and growing into the person & athlete that we were truly meant to be...
To your success,