Lesson 1: When a Session doesn’t go as expected, don’t get upset. Move on. Tomorrow is another day, another chance.
In my early days as a triathlete, I would call up friends and family mid-run, whoever I could reach, and cry my eyes out because something didn’t go as expected on my run.
Some of these reasons were:
- It hurts.
- I am slow.
- How can I run faster off bike?
- I am not made for this sport.
- Why am I even trying?
- This is so difficult.
- Running out of energy.
- I can’t hit the intervals.
- I am so tired.
The list goes on and on. Running for me was nothing short of pure misery.
One of my earliest recorded runs.
It was a one hour flat run.
This was already on the journey towards Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013.
Mile Splits. Slow to Slower.
Fast forward 1 year
My First Purplepatch Age Group Camp. This was in February 2013.
6 Months till Ironman Lake Tahoe
At this point in my triathlon journey, I had only done one Olympic Triathlon and I was battling anemia. The camp back then was small and we were able to do runs through the energy lab in Kona. Now I didn’t know anything about the Energy Lab. So I assumed I could run like I run at home. BIG MISTAKE. I remember getting crushed by the conditions and breaking down crying. The reasons for crying were very much like the ones above.
Fast forward 3 years
Now having completed Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013 and plenty of 70.3 and Olympic Distance Triathlons I was still getting down on myself when a session didn’t go as planned. My running was improving, but my emotional reaction to having a bad day was getting worse.
The break downs became existential in nature. Self-doubt was feeding off of bad days and it ruined my enjoyment factor of this sport; however I did not want to give up, but I also was not enjoying the process. Through many conversations with Matt and reading many of his Coaches Bulletin Board Newsletters, I started to understand the strategy behind “moving on.”
I started to not take it all so serious and just let a session unfold as it naturally did. If it was crappy I just brushed it off and tried again tomorrow. What started to happen is that I also felt less stressed to fit my sessions in the emotional state I was in after the sessions.
All in all, letting go of the ambitious drive to always be perfect without letting go of the ambitious drive to do your best, has been the most productive, healthy mental change I could have done for myself in this sport.
There is still work that needs to be done
What I am now focusing on is also loving the process, to celebrate myself, for doing all the work I am doing and reminding myself that I can be proud of all the achievements I have reached over the last years.
It doesn’t mean that you settle for where you are at now, it just means that you take a moment to reflect and give yourself the credit you deserve.