The Mindset Puzzle
Race season is almost upon us and with it bringss challenges both mentally and physically. Over the years, I’ve seen many athletes who are physically capable fall short of their goals on race day. The key is to treat mental strength just like any other type of fitness. It’s an evolving process, but here are three main pieces I focus on: confidence, motivation, perspective.
Confidence in sport is an interesting concept because most people assume it is a trait you either have or you don’t. But the truth is that confidence comes from preparation and consistently accumulated training. As you move throughout your season, try checking in with your confidence to reach your goal. Rank it on a scale of 1-10...and then ask yourself what you would need to do in order to bump it up by one?!
Motivation is fascinating because of its fluidity. Some days motivation is at its highest before training and you are psyched up to get out the door. Other days motivation is lowest before training and even during the first half of the session. These days are really unique and I encourage athletes to pay attention to them often. Just like confidence, try rating motivation on a scale of 1-10, especially before and after training sessions that you don’t really want to do. Are you more motivated after the workout that you were dreading? Chances are yes...which is a good thought to have in the back of your mind when the next absurdly challenging training session pops into your schedule.
Perspective is a great tool to have when it comes to triathlon. Think of it as a lens that can both zoom in and zoom out. Sometimes we get too caught up in achieving our goals and we need to zoom out to focus on the big picture. Sometimes we focus on the wrong details and need to shift our attention to the right ones! And sometimes we frame our story in a way that is neither helpful or enjoyable. This is typically what happens when we get trapped by the thinking that a result is the same thing as a performance. Sure, when our results don’t match our expectations it is okay to be a little bummed, but we can’t allow it to be our entire performance. Think of going to see a play or movie...the actor or actresses performance has an emotional effect. The same is true for racing. You, your competitors, and your support crew are all emotionally impacted by your performance in some way or another. So, when the chips are down, are they watching a story of self pity or a story of perserverance? We might not control the outcome, but we do control our actions and more importantly, our reactions!
Hope this gave you some food for thought as you head into your week!