Many of the Team MPI Coach’s Corner articles are about the physical training that goes into triathlon. I wanted to change it up a bit and write about a topic that you can apply to more than just training but rather to everything you do in life. I have compiled a few of my favorite quotes and explained why I have taken them to heart and applied them to my life and my athletic successes. Here they are!
“Smile Through Pain”
This is my favorite mantra and I can guarantee it works. When the going gets tough or your muscles are burning with lactic acid just force yourself to put a smile on your face and I will guarantee that the level of pain and discomfort will be reduced. This mantra is physiologically fact. When we smile and laugh we release endorphins. Endorphins are morphine derivatives and morphine is a powerful analgesic. Whenever I race I draw a smiley face on my forearm to always remind me to smile when anything in life is bringing me down or preventing me from getting to the finish line first.
“Passion is power, invest passion in everything you do and you will get a great return on your investment.”
Many times we go through the motions in life. If we put passion into everything we do including training and racing we will get so much more in return. These returns may not always be directly what we intended. They may come in the forms of friendships or other opportunities. When you invest passion you are investing an emotion so there will be ups and downs. The amount of life learning that goes on along the way and the extent to which the good times outweigh the rough ones make it worth it.
“There is one thing that you can be sure of in life, there is never a crowd on the extra mile.”
This quote speaks for itself. When given a job, most of us find a way to finish the task to some degree. Take a swim set at the pool. Sure, you may have finished, but did you wait an extra ten seconds on the wall for rest or stop when everyone in the lane stopped despite knowing a lap was skipped?
As a physical therapist that works with a geriatric clientele I occasionally have a patient that always does one extra repetition of any exercise I give them. These people typically carry themselves with a different mentality - the mentality of the small crowd that doesn't stop at the finish line but rather those that run hard through the finish line. Always strive to be a part of the smaller group that tends to gather beyond the line.
“Be happy when you have a good race but don’t be satisfied.”
When you set a goal and you work very hard to accomplish the goal, it can be difficult not to get complacent with the performance and make it your ceiling. In my short stint in the para-cycling realm, the USOC high performance director Ian Lawless would often ask me after a good performance if I was happy with my performance. The first time he asked me this I was kind of taken off guard because I thought to myself well the answer seems kind of obvious. I responded , “Yes, I think I had a pretty good race.” He then followed it up by asking are you satisfied with your performance. I thought about for a minute and as I thought more aout it I said to myself, “that was a great race but I know that I could do better.” I then replied to Ian, “No, I am not satisfied. I know I still have even better performances in me in the future.” “Excellent, exactly what I wanted to hear,” he replied.
That first time Ian asked me those questions it stuck and made me realize that while it is fine to be happy and celebrate a great performance, once you are satisfied it is time to think about the level to which you want to compete.
I hope these quotes are meaningful in some way and that you are able to incorporate them into your training and into your life. The one caveat to these quotes is to remember that they are merely mantras to live by and not law. You must always be careful to not treat things as law or this could end in injury or burnout. Always keep training fun and by the same token always keep life fun. Smile through pain and smile through life. :)