Tagged: motivation

Monday Motivation: Ironman Hawaii World Championship 2009

Ironman Hawaii World Championship 2009

One from the archives. An oldie but a goodie.

Watch this before your next session, and be inspired:

In the words of Waterboy, YOU CAN DO IT!

What tools do you use to keep your motivation levels up?

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #31: Don’t forget to have fun along the way

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of holistic triathlon tips that will help you achieve your goals. The little things that give big results, the “20” part of the 80:20 rule.

Today is the final tip in the series, #31: Don’t forget to have fun along the way

As you storm through your daily practices, grit your teeth during those cold, long winter runs and push yourself to master that impossible drill remember to have fun along the way. Sure, we want to win and to achieve our goals, but remember why you are doing this in the first place.

Remember your goals and why you set out on this path. Remember the initial enthusiasm of your first few days in the sport. Be like a kid who has just discovered a new activity.

Enjoy your progress. Sure it’s tough, and some days we’d rather stay in bed, but enjoy the progress. Enjoy each second you get faster, how much stronger you feel or each pound you lose. We all have plenty of bad days, so make sure you enjoy the good ones when nobody can stop you.

Enjoy the bad days too. They are the ones that put ‘money in the bank’ for race day.

Some days we’ll finish last, bonk or lose half an hour fixing a stubborn flat. Who cares – we will learn what to improve or change for next time.

On race day smile, enjoy the race and thank the volunteers. Encourage your rivals as you run past them with ease. Everyone gets a kick out of a bit of encouragement. We all contribute to race day atmosphere and the camaraderie is one of the best elements of triathlon.

Support your team mates. Enjoy their progress as well as your own. We’re in it together.

Enjoy your improving fitness levels, your increasing strength, your toned muscles, your knowledge about obscure bicycle parts and your new-found energy levels.

Enjoy it all, especially the tough parts, and remember to smile throughout Chrissie Wellington! We should all take a leaf out of her book.

Smile like Chrissie Wellingotn

Train hard, have fun.

The “31 Easy Tips” Series:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
 Ask an Expert
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!
#27: Race-day training
#28: Visualize Victory
#29: Invest in Recovery
#30: Perform HOT by warming up

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #24 Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)

Woah! How is it February already? Time really does fly, reminding me of the urgency to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of tips you can apply in your daily triathlon training in order to kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expense in time or money.

With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? What tips would you add to the list?

Today is #24: Be Persistent and Patient

The triathlon season is long but is like building a skyscraper - take your training plan step by step

Approach your triathlon season like building a skyscraper – with patience and persistence. One window pane at a time! (photo: David Marcel’s flickr)

In triathlon, the season is long and the training sessions are too. 3/6/9 months of toiling in three different sports – and bricks. 5,000 yards in the pool, 10 mile runs, 4 hours on the bike. Seemingly endless at times, it’s hard to persevere when tiredness kicks in.

One of the keys to success in triathlon is being persistent – and consistent – over the course of a very long season.

When training loads peak it is hard to get out of bed, we feel heavy and sluggish, every muscle and joint aches and mentally you just don’t want to go another yard.

However, do everything you can to maintain forward progress. Yes, it’s tough, you might feel you are performing below peak but everything contributes to your race day performance.

It is like building a skyscraper – the foundations take ages but eventually your season takes shape as improvements start revealing themselves. Then as your training plan progresses you add on the windows one by one, until you top out and the job is done – you’re ready to kick ass in a race.

And race day is only a small number of days and weeks away. The adage “time flies” applies to the long triathlon season as well (even if you’re not having fun!). Summer season and race day will come all too quickly. Prepare yourself by being consistent in training throughout your program.

The key is not dwelling on your mistakes or “bad sessions” but to keep trying and keep fighting. Remember your goals.

Enjoy the process, it is not always fun, it is likely tough, but enjoy the progress you make, the milestones you achieve and enjoy the sport, your teammates, the endorphins.

One element that helps me keep going is tracking my progress. By writing down my training performance, I can see in black and white how much faster I am compared to last month or year. It’s a great motivator.

By being persistent and patient, eventually we all finish building the skyscraper. So, don’t give up, just like this Peruvian llama. You will reap the benefits on race day – guaranteed.

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #15 Get Yourself a Mentor

The “31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of easy-to-implement tips that provide avenues to improve your performance. Be it recovery, technique or trying something new in training, the tips are relatively straightforward and yield larger gains than simply doubling your efforts in practice.

Today’s tip is #15: Get Yourself a Mentor. 

Mentors are important

I read that Thursday, Jan. 17 is “Thank Your Mentor Day”  and started thinking about how far I have gotten thanks to the many great mentors I have encountered and learned from.

While my success is relatively small compared to most, I would not have achieved half of it without the opportunity to learn at the hands of many people far more talented than I.

A mentor could be your coach, a friend, training partner, colleague, professor, teacher, parent, etc, and can help you improve in any facet of life.

In particular a good coach will teach you lots about your chosen sport and how to succeed. Training with athletes who are faster than you can spur you to train and race faster, and gradually catch them.

The benefits of having a mentor:

  1. Inspire you to achieve lofty goals
  2. Motivation
  3. Feedback
  4. No excuses – make yourself accountable
  5. Leverage their experience

How can I get myself a mentor?

  1. Identify successful people you can relate to and trust
  2. Ask them to be your mentor
  3. Work hard on the relationship, e.g. listening, asking questions, implementing suggestions

And while we’re at it, consider being a mentor to someone else, formal or informal.

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #11 Reward Yourself

Tip #11 in the “31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” series is: Reward yourself

Many of my athletes are so focused on their Goals and working hard towards them, that they do not pick up on how much progress they are making along the way.

Treat yourself to cupcakes after a good week's training

I try to emphasize how well they are doing and point out improvements. Season-long goals can seem very far away when you’re in the middle of a hard block of training. Regular rewards can keep motivation up and ensure you are enjoying the process of chasing your goals.

So, if you’ve mastered a piece of technique, holding faster reps in training, raced a best time or are lifting stronger weights than ever, take the time to reflect and congratulate yourself – and reward yourself for a job well done (thus far!).

  • Take a day off
  • Have a glass of wine
  • Have that second slice of cake
  • Go for a massage
  • Treat yourself to something nice

Savor the little victories along the way, the big ones will come too.

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #2 Write Down Your Goals (Now!)

Tip #2 is another easy step to help you towards excellence – all you need is a pen and paper: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)

write down your goals

Do it now!

I assume you have goals. Once you have decided what you want to achieve – write it down. The act of writing down your goals increases commitment and accountability. Studies have proven it.

Written goals give you focus, makes you accountable (even to a sheet of paper!), are a visible and tangible representation of your goals and aspirations.

They say a goal not written down is just a daydream. It doesn’t take long. Whatever your goal, write it down now and commit to it.

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #1 Drink Water First Thing in the Morning

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is designed to be a set of tips that are easy to implement and provide gains that well outweigh the time and cost of implementing them.

You can work harder or you can work smarter. Sometimes it is the small, simple things we do that result in great gains.

Tip #1 is a very easy introduction to developing habits that will lead to clear gains. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.

Make it the first thing you do when you wake up – OK, after you open your eyes and sit up! But then do it. Before going to sleep put a glass beside your bed, so you can grab and drink it when the alarm goes off.

Overnight, while asleep, you often sweat, you lose water breathing, your body is working to repair muscles and digest food. All this activity causes water loss and after 6-9 hours of not taking in any water your body is likely dehydrated to some extent.

Check the color of your pee in the morning to see the extent of the dehydration. An analogy would be to not drink water while at work. Not a drop. After 8 hours of work, you are going to be very dehydrated and dying for a drink.

If you train in the morning, starting the day dehydrated may affect your performance, so be sure to drink water with your pre-practice meal. Apart from the simple need to rehydrate, drinking water first thing can help wake your system up and continue muscle growth – so start hydrating from the get-go!

A Serving of Motivation

You can do it!

Almost the weekend again (see, we always get there in the end, we pick ourselves up and life goes on). Here’s a serving of motivation to keep you pushing through the end of the week.

This kid can learn how to ride a bike and feel great about it, and so can you with your swimming for triathlon! Go achieve something today.

I plan on making all my beginner swimmers watch it.

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right”, Henry Ford. Believe in yourself.

Push through whatever challenge you are facing, those ironman workouts, mastering that piece of technique, just feeling tired. Whatever it is, conquer it!

“Feel happy in yourself”.

Five Keys to Triathlon Success

On top of consistent hard work – and the key word there is consistent – here are a few tools to increase the effectiveness of your training. It’s funny how far the little things go.

1)      Write down your goals. It might be to finish the race, learn to swim, win your age group or qualify for Nationals. Whatever they are, they will help you get up in the early morning when it’s snowing, and keep you going when the pain seems unbearable, or you just can’t master that piece of technique. Remember why you are doing this, and stay determined to achieve those goals.

2)     Learn from others. Train with people who are better athletes than you. Hire a coach or scour youtube for videos. Eat magazines for breakfast and apply the lessons to your training. It does not have to cost you a fortune, but you will learn loads and progress more while training with others. Be it their expertise or experience, or just pushing yourself while training with them. Make it fun by having a team.

3)     Write a plan & stick to it. Decide on which days you will swim, bike, run and do core/gym work. Stick to it. Don’t give yourself reasons to skip a session. Don’t wait until tomorrow to do that work out. Make it a part of your routine. Trust me, it makes it all the more rewarding. And don’t forget those days off to enjoy doing nothing, eating junk food and staying up late. Enjoy the process!

4)    Get stuck in! Don’tprocrastinate over the hard parts. Hate cycling? Jump on your bike on the weekend and go for long rides. Scared of the water? Dive on in. Get swimming lessons and gradually conquer that fear. Your strengths will take care of themselves (but don’t neglect them!). Turn your weaker events into solid ones and enjoy the process of conquering those challenges.

5)     Enjoy rewards along the way. Take a day off. Have a glass of wine after a good workout. Enjoy that dessert and the lie-in. Go for a training camp at a dream location. Get a massage. Instead of a run have a game of soccer with your friends, or make a day at the beach with family after an open water swim. Keep yourself motivated, make training part of your life. I can’t emphasize it enough, enjoy the training as you work hard towards your goal. You’ve earned each and every reward.

Who Would Want to be a Triathlon Coach?

Who would want to be a coach?

We endure long seasons of early mornings and late evening practices, have minimal social life and must humor grumpy athletes.

While they are racing, we get up with them at the crack of dawn and hang around for long days in the sun getting sun-burnt in order to support them. We suffer from stress making sure everything and everyone is ready, try to minimize nerves, hoping the athletes race well and achieve their goals.

It’s a tough life.

But I wouldn’t change it.

I just had a bunch of athletes from a couple of teams finish the New York City triathlon and their delight at competing and achieving their goals makes all the hard work worth it.

I love calming their nerves pre-race, reminding them of their hard work and progress over the season, and helping eliminate that self-doubt.

I love when they conquer their fears, go from not being able to swim to tackling a triathlon; when they feel so confident in their ability that they wave at you from the start line and then just jump in and go for it…while smiling!

I love seeing their determination as they speed by on the bike and push up long, hard hills at end of the run.

And most of all, I love their smiles and elation upon finishing the race.

I do it because they have a goal, they work hard to achieve it and through sheer determination they achieve it.

And I do it because I want to be a part of that journey.