The following is an actual conversation with an athlete. (Names omitted to respect athletes privacy and vulnerability):

Athlete:
Welp. Learned my lesson. Slept through track…. expected to have time this afternoon…. got emergency late night work. Rushed home to get to the gym to crank it out on the treadmill…. treadmills were taken for the first time I’ve seen. The only one available was broken…. now I have 3 clients until 9pm. lesson learned.

Coach:
Lessons are best learned the hard way
So the question is, why did you sleep through track?
And expected to have time this afternoon. What exactly did you plan to do?

Athlete:
Well…. candidly. I knew it was going to be hard….. I knew I had an easy work day with a more free afternoon so I thought i could get out early. Do an hour on my own and contact the coach for the workout….
So I planned… early afternoon. Track, then home by 6:30 eat. Then client, client, client. Then sleep.
None of that plan worked out. Except for contacting the coach and getting the workout. Which I was correct in believing was very hard.

Coach:
So you slept in because it was going to be hard. Are you being silly or serious

Athlete:
Ummm kinda serious. I think I just wanted more control of it. That sounds bad… but you wanted honesty.
The plan was still to do the workout. I just wanted to know what I was doing.

Coach:
I did want honesty. What control were you thinking you would be giving up by coming to track?

Athlete:
I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I talked to (name) about it last night and I’m disappointed in myself…. but I get a lot of anxiety before track days. Like dream about it… eye twitches…. all of that. I think it’s the fear of letting myself down.

Coach:
We need to dive into that more. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense. I get it completely
What about track specifically brings the anxiety? Is it seeing other people working hard (or perceived to be working harder than you)?

Athlete:
It’s nothing about hard work. I know I work hard…. I think it’s the intimidation of other people yes. But it’s more me. Like I put a pressure on myself to out perform… and then psych myself out. So like yesterday…. I knew it was going to be hard. But I would want to do it. But more so that I’m the only one that had to witness me sucking wind…. it is definitely something I need to work through. And it helps now that (name) knows and he can help me Tuesday nights.

Coach:
So some of it if internal and some external. The internal is the fear of the workout. The external is the fear of other witnessing your perceived weakness. Right?
What would you tell you about performance anxiety.

Athlete:
Well. I would tell myself to go back to what’s true. And what’s true is that my performance doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make my people love me anymore or any less. Showing weakness to people that I don’t know doesn’t change my self value and their opinions shouldn’t influence my own. People have good days, people have bad days. The most important thing is to be there… to show up.

Coach:
Good. That’s a start
Thank you for being vulnerable, open and honest. That is of great value to me
Fear has a valuable place in our life. Whether real and genuine or fabricated. For you we must accept that it’s there but not give it the power to guide our decisions.

Athlete:
Yeahh. I think it was really good to share it and voice it. I guess I’ve always known it was there but not always identified it. It’s been there since I was little little. So It’s gonna take some time. But i have to start with showing up and honestly probably failing.

Coach:
I need you to fail. I need you to fall on your face and rebound. It is a requirement for the IM distance. You must make mistakes. The earlier we expose the cracks in the armor you seem to have, the sooner you make the BIG gains. Gains are paid for with failures.
Just know that I see what you don’t see. I know what you don’t know, just yet.

As you can see, no one is unique when it comes to the struggles. We all have them. Embrace them and use them to help you grow! SHOW UP!

– Coach Jeremy