Posted by Coach Mark
I’ve been fortunate to train with some very focused triathletes. They show up to the swim, bike or run ready to accomplish that session’s goals. When it gets tuff, they stick with it. When the session calls for going easy, they go easy. Truly, I have seen dozens of these athletes. But when it comes time to race, not all of them perform.
It’s interesting when a focused athlete has a run interval session on a training day. They approach it with nothing to loose. They don’t know how they’re going to do. They may have expectations, but mostly take what the day brings and perform their best. Or maybe it’s a swim main set that sounds scary and impossible to make. They just start the set and do it, focusing all the while on just the task at hand.
Now it’s race day. Some of the same talented and focused athletes never race to their potential. It’s starts days or weeks before in the mind with a fear of failure – failure to reach their goals and failure to themselves, family and friends. Then it moves towards self-sabotage. They start getting phantom aches and pains, or they forget to bring equipment to the race. Next thing you know, they couldn’t possibly have a great race with all the “bad luck”. Finally, they don’t “race” the race. They don’t ever experience that breakout performance because they’re somehow afraid to push too hard. They may even think they’re not deserving of success. And what follows are mediocre performances.
Don’t be afraid to take that chance, to let it all hang out or to push yourself farther than you’ve ever been. When you go to a race, embrace the day as a celebration of being fit and healthy. Of course you can’t control everything and shouldn’t think you can. Take the nerves and doubt and see it as being alive – living! Go ahead and tell people your goals. If you don’t achieve them, they will care far less than you. But if you DO achieve them, they get to celebrate with you and be a part of something special. And when you’re on the course, race hard. Of course “race hard” means different things to a triathlete racing a Sprint distance verses an Ironman distance. The point is to execute. Period. Just make it happen.
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