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The Mental Game of Triathlon

It’s been a little while since the last blog post, so there’s plenty of material to type out here. I’ll try to keep it short so as not to lose you to more interesting activities such as reading War and Peace for the fifth time.

A Brief History Of …

As you may recall, back in December of 2019 I began training for IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga which was supposed to be held on May 17, 2020 (yesterday). Training progressed nicely right up to the point the race was rescheduled to August 22, 2020 and training continues to progress nicely since. The command decision was made to have a long course race of my own on May 23, 2020 (five days from now). I don’t need to tell you that COVID-19 has limited our swimming opportunities in public areas like pools and beaches, but running and cycling continue as normal. My normal can be characterized as training by myself 90% of the time so nothing has changed for cycling and running.

The Current State Of Affairs

Training for endurance sport is such a mental game. The physical aspect is tough, but the mental aspect is perhaps tougher. I say this because performance in training is not perfectly correlated to performance on race day… and it shouldn’t be. The effect is that self doubt begins to creep into my thoughts when a 50 mile bike ride takes longer than I think it should or when I can’t maintain a 9:30/mile pace on an EZ run. The trick is to keep reminding myself that it is just training.

So often we hear that the key to a good training is consistency. I’ve questioned the meaning of consistency of training in other blog posts and I know what it means intuitively, but I don’t have a definition for it that relates to training or translates into a good mantra that can be said over and over again. My preferred words are discipline, trust and faith.

With discipline, we can do what needs to be done in order to achieve desired outcomes even if we may not feel like doing whatever it is that needs to be done.  
With trust, we will be confident that our training plans provide the best framework for achieving our desired outcomes.  If the outcomes aren't achieved we can make changes, but confidence in the process is key.   
With faith, we can rely on our training plans and our coaching teams to help us achieve the desired outcomes even when we don't understand how the training relates to the outcomes.  

So… with five days left to train before my big race, I need huge doses of discipline, trust and faith, because right now I feel like crap. That’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel given my current stage of training, but it’s difficult to believe that I will race well when I feel so bad this close to race day. Having an experienced coach who can guide me through these times of self-doubt is priceless right now. And Coach Sami has been priceless.

You want to know what else helps? Triathlon related media. I love the podcasts. My top three podcasts of choice are Babbitteville Radio, Triathlon Taren and That Triathlon Show. There are many others to choose from ( and soon there may be one more).

Still An Age-Grouper

Through all the training, however, I’m still an age-grouper and have been busy with age-grouper things.

  1. No TriRiot videos lately, but I am trying to get some put together.

  2. Working on starting a podcast. Three interviews have already been recorded with amazing people who’s stories you have got to hear.

  3. Work. We all have to bring home the bacon. In my case, that’s actually a bit more literal than you might think.

  4. Horses. If you ever want to go broke quickly, buy horses. Actually, I love the beasts. They are wonderful animals, but do take a lot of time.

Digging stumps out of a future horse arena

In an upcoming post, I’ll lay out my rational and plans for the TriRiot 70.5. That’s what I’m calling my race. Until then…

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