We usually keep our in-house training thoughts in-house..., but these are extraordinary times! We are living in race hell, with hope being dashed by races that are on again, then cancelled at the last minute. The latest heart break was here in Switzerland, with Challenge Davos cancelled during the race! While that was weather induced, it still rocks our community.
So, after some thought I realised many of our followers would benefit greatly from making public the advice I gave athletes at training just this week. It went something like this:
We were in the middle of a swim set when I noticed one of our age group athletes shaking their head in what looked like self disgust. This is a person that has improved enormously in the swim, whilst her partner in the lane also has improved so much, from zero swim to being a role model I use in my talks, but also at other times is quite self critical.
So I stopped them, and started to explain some facts! While doing it, I looked across at the other lanes, and saw again non swimmers that have improved out of sight but also at times complained it is still not good enough. They were doing nothing wrong at the time, but the coach was on let's say 'a roll', so I pulled 'em all up as well, and included them in the sermon.
Those that have attended a sutto camp will know ole sutto on 'a roll'. You get the picture faster I'm sure! But the element really does affect nearly all reading this. The point, no matter how it was delivered, was let's have a personal review, of why you are doing this sport.
'None of you are going to win a world championship, go home and write that down as the heading for your diary or computer diary about your training'
Why did you all start? Why did you decide to go on the journey of making this sport your hobby?
I don't care about the races. I never have, they are nothing but something that allows you to express the benefits of your training. They should not define what you are doing or why you're doing it.
You are in the wrong place if this is not about either:
(a) making your life better by improving your health
(b) changing your lifestyle that not only helps yourself but also your family and/or people around you; using this time and effort as an example to your kids about making better life choices
My job is to help you do that in a productive way that helps you perform at a better level.
You start to see where this is going? Races are not the sole reason why you do this! They are not how you should measure yourself as a person!
Every one of you in these three lanes have improved out of sight, some by hours. Anybody that hasn't, tell me right now? Anybody? I thought so, none. All of you can't recognise yourself from the athlete that first came through that door and said can you help me.
You should be celebrating your good work, you should be proud of what you have achieved, good days, bad days, I can tell you even the worst days are emphatically better than the level all of you were at on that first day.
A little stunned but self reflection could be seen on all faces. So the moral of the rant is this, and we are all guilty of it. We want more! We become greedy rather than thankful for what we now have.
I'm looking at people of all ages and they have all one thing in common. They all look like real athletes, all toned, all have bristling muscles that are the envy of most of the civilian population. They all come through the door in different shapes and sizes, and now all are in far better shape than when they came in. Is it races that do that? Or is it the lessons learned of being disciplined, being consistent, that you chose exercise as a way to redefine your life? Like those now shivering on the side of the pool listening to an old angry man, telling them some real no spin truth. Making it a misery because 'they want more'. Rather than being very happy to be a better physical specimen and enjoy the journey.
Who else out there is guilty of this because of races, times, splits? Who else gets angry as they missed a session because my kids are sick, or I have to work an extra shift? I'm willing to bet, many of us. In our squad we have a little saying..
Go into your bathroom and have a good look in the mirror and if I'm right, give yourself a good face SLAP and wake up!
If you're one of these, then do just that, it's not very scientific but it can be very effective. Triathlon has given most of us a new lease of life, not racing. What needs to be done to get to a race is the key to your lifestyle, not how fast you can do it. The personal pursuit of self improvement. Triathlon has given you that!
Now, what I said to my athletes, I'll repeat for our readers - 'stop crying, bitching, moaning about races or being faster, and get back to work and concentrate on the doing', as I know one certainty this difficult time shall too pass.
To quote the tennis legend Arthur Ashe - 'Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.'
Get back in the water and prepare to be ready for when it does.
Just the way I see it