In the last blog I covered the times of the year that I see as very common and recurring pitfalls for endurance athletes. In this one, I want to identify what I did as an athlete, and what I help, as a coach, athletes do, when these times occur.
While it may seem simple, it takes patience and perseverance to remain progressive during these times. The easiest thing to do is a trap, more often than not. It is waiting for you to walk down the path of negativity. The battle wages within us daily during these periods in our training. That constant back and forth of “am I progressing” and the ever-present comparison to those around us are pitfalls that are easy to slip into. To avoid those or combat them, here are my tips:
1. Circle of Life – No not the song from “The Lion King”. This is the group of people (friends, family, training partners, coaches) that we develop relationships with and entrust with the power to help bump (some of us need to be kicked) us back on the path we told them we want to be on. These are very powerful influencers in our life because we have deemed them loyal and important in our journey. Use them.
2. Goal Setting – This is a very important task to take on either at the beginning of the year or between races. I don’t mean the goal setting of “I want to PR” or “to get more fit”. I am talking about very specific goals that include outcome goals, performance goals and process goals. These are the ways you set yourself up for success and they come in very handy during the tougher times.
3. Accepting Goals – Setting goals is one thing that is important, but the most important piece with goals is to recognize them. Place them in 3 places you will see them. Car speedometer area, locker at the gym, bathroom mirror, pantry door, outside of your dresser drawer, etc. This will ensure when you hit a rough patch, they will be in your face. The trick is, your goals must be high enough that it will take work and consistency to achieve them.
4. Believe and Trust – Seems simple, right? When times are tough these are 2 of the hardest things you will encounter. These will seem nearly impossible, (refer to #1 for people that can get you to the place where these are achievable) but something that you must seek out. Try to tap into the times you had solid workouts, felt strong, and believed. Remember those feelings as if they are real and in the current moment.
5. Patience – This one is by far the hardest to attain on a consistent basis. In a time where everything is available at your fingertips, it is becoming increasingly harder to put in the work consistently and then sit back waiting for the results. Think about the farmer just planting his corn. If he doesn’t see it full grown in the first 4 weeks, does he set the field on fire? No, he waits, waters it, and is patient. Grant yourself the gift of patience and watch what happens!
In conclusion you can see that there is no magic bullet for breaking through the tougher times. It is a sequence of events that are set in motion when things are going right. Seeds planted when you are in that good confident place. Seeds like our circle, goals and the trust you have in them.
Sow the right kinds of seeds and the droughts won’t seem so long and your goals will remain achievable!
- Coach Jeremy