I’ve written an article or two about this before, but I’ve been so lucky to work with a number of folks that continually reaffirm this belief: The ceiling can always be raised.
This year, I’ve been lucky enough to be a very small part of a National Championships and records. I’ve truly witnessed the power of perseverance and removal of self-limiting factors in those cases. Additionally, I’ve seen athletes navigate and adapt to this unpredictable year without making excuses. They’ve continued their journeys of development in the sport with renewed focus and excitement that’s made it a joy to be part of.
This past weekend, I also saw a good friend (and former coached athlete) get to enjoy the long time fruits of his labor with his first overall triathlon win. So with that said, I want to remind you that you should never be scared of progress. Don’t ever let seeing others at a certain level keep you from progressing. Where you start is not a limiting factor in endurance sport development. At what age you start doesn’t seem to be either. Always be willing to keep climbing the ladder, because you may shock yourself at how high it goes. For me, this belief that the ceiling is always out of reach came after my first few times venturing out to my local bicycle club “hammerfest” rides. It was incredibly intimidating, and seemingly pointless as they disappeared quite quickly... with me trying desperately to catch up. Had it not been for a few triathletes in the group that took notice of my mid-90’s QR Tequilo, I probably wouldn’t have kept coming back.
Having their encouragement kept me going back, and eventually the riders stopped disappearing. That’s not something I would have thought possible. Because I kept coming back, it helped make me realize that what we view as "the ceiling" of our potential is 99% self-imposed. In the end, endurance sport is typically individual. And, in most cases, the majority of limiting factors come from between your ears. Challenge yourself to continue climbing. Be aggressive with your goals. Don’t focus on where you began; just plan to get where you want to be. Have measurable rungs on your ladder that allow you to see your successes. And NEVER let yourself be discouraged by comparing yourself to others.