triathlon and family can mix

How Tough Are You?

Physically maybe, but what about mentally?

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Flipping through a couple of magazines over the past month, I stumbled upon a reoccurring theme, metal toughness. The best I can guess, there is something I need to learn something surrounding this subject.

Fairly new to the world of endurance sports, in my first year (2011) I was concentrated on crossing the finish line. Preferably upright. Preferably with a smile on my face. I figured this goal would be reached if I was physically prepared. In other words, I put in the right amount of training, had the right equipment, and properly planned for race day. It worked out pretty well, I completed my first race and finished second in my age group in my second race. I had some challenges in the second race and figured more training would fix that.

So in 2012 I increased my training volume.

Reflecting on my 2012 race season, I was prepared physically for each race. I executed my training plans, maintained my gear, and had the right nutrition plan. Unfotrunately, I was not mentally prepared for each race. I did not prepare my mind in training, visualize each portion of the race, or take 5 minutes race morning to get ready mentally.

There was a couple times I was mentally strong. Hey, I did come back from a broken collar bone to finish my last 2 planned races. I targeted a negative split for the 10km run at the Lake Chaparral Olympic and ran pretty much even for both laps; my legs were telling me to slow down at about 8.5km.

There was also a couple of times when I could have been better. During the half marathon of Ironman 70.3 Calgary, I had a real challenge continuing at the pace I had planned, ending 1:00/km below my target. Sure, I was tired, but I think that I had the energy to continue pushing.

So the question, is it all in my mind?

I believe that your physical training can only take you so far. There will be a point in evey training session and race where challenges will arise, call them ‘demons’, ‘that little voice’ or just ‘doubt’.

How you deal with these will shape your outlook at the end of the season, they did for me.

So through this winter training session, not only will I prepare physically by working on my weaknesses, I will train mentally to come back stronger next year.

Question: How do you deal with mental aspect of triathlon? What steps you you take during training to prepare mentally?

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