Thursday, 12 August 2010

Keeping going

No matter what you do or where you do it there always comes a time when your motivation dips or some barrier comes up that seems to block your way forwards. Ironman as an event and as a lifestyle is not terribly forgiving from this aspect. Consistency and perseverance are important attributes to successful racing: fatigue through training, injuries, poor performances and the other things in your life (you know the little things like keeping a roof over your head, sustaining the important relationships in you life and putting enough food on the table) will all challenge this resolve.

If you cannot reconcile these differing demands the stress from the failure to achieve your goals can make matters worse rather than better and can feed into a spiral of failed goals. Stress about ones lack of achievement which leads to setting new more unrealistic goals (this week I will run 80 miles to make up for the fact that last week I did not run at all). These truths run through all peoples lives and it is how we manage the periodic dips in personal performance at home and at work and how we respond to the barriers placed in our way that define us. Ironpeople tend to be those who will persist at a challenge and devote time and energy to overcoming an obstacle (training longer).

This application that our sporting choice necessitates does us well in a number of situations- however we all understand that this application can sometimes lead us into problems- typically we might get overuse injuries, fatigue and burnout in our sporting life but what about our other world where we come up against a limit of our promotion prospects, career development and or personal development (assuming we are not all pro athletes). This is where the second maxim of training smarter comes in. Most people approaching IM usually start with the train longer and then come round to the train smarter and this is almost certainly a natural process in Ironman. We start by trying what we think should work (train longer)and then learn from this what may or may not work and as a consequence we learn to train smarter.

The shortcut is to use the knowledge of a coach to help you train smarter from the gitgo (start). In life we learn through trial and error (mostly) where our particular skills lie and those who can persevere and keep putting themselves into the mix (train long) and can reflect and learn from their experiences (train smart) would expect to see reward in terms of career progress and achieving life goals.

When we come up against a motivational barrier it is time to take a third approach and that is to reflect. Look at what you want to achieve in your athletic pursuit or personal endeavour, identify what is blocking you and try and map a new way forwards. Finally much as we approach our training to the next IM race break your goals down into achievable chunks and celebrate your successes along the way. Which is why I took this picture, where my motivation to train which has been mislaid somewhere was overcome by the beauty of being able to ride through some fantastic countryside.

No comments: