The Sports Scientists wrote a good blog the other day about mental attitude in sports... the mental vs physical debate... no one will ever have the answer, but I think if we take a close look at ourselves we can get a bit closer to figuring out how much of our performance is based on our mindset vs our physical abilities.
I know that for me, mindset going into a workout is HUGE. If I think the workout is supposed to be easy, it better be easy. And physically I'll be pretty much unable to do anything other than easy. Sometimes I make a decision that today is going to be HARD, and that I am going to go FAST. And guess what? It's hard and I go fast. Amazing how that works, eh?
I'm working on this now with my athletes- especially the ones I get to train with sometimes. I'm learning how to push their buttons and get into their heads and elicit higher levels of performance from them. Take Todd, for example. This morning we were swimming and doing sprint 50's. Todd and Nalani and I were swimming side by side. After the second one I told him, "You are a sprinter! There's NO WAY Nalani and I should be able to hang with you on these." And then guess what happened? Nalani and I sprinted our brains out but Todd ended up a full body length ahead of us after just a 50. That's where he should have been. He's very fast. He just needed to believe that to make it physically happen.
This Sunday will be my first race since Ironman! It's just a short time trial on the bike... 12 miles I think. I was watching the news tonight and the weatherman is predicting high winds and rain for Sunday morning. Niiiice. So I sent a text message to two of my local athletes who will be racing on Sunday (their first TT's ever!) I told them what the weather forecast was and that they should start mentally preparing now. One responded by saying she would do her anti-rain dance all day tomorrow. NO! I responded back. Embrace the weather! Mediate on this all weekend instead: I LOVE riding in the wind. I LOVE riding when the rain is pelting in my eyes. I thrive under those conditions! My other athlete texted back immediately, "I will crash if it rains." NO! Again I wrote... NO NO!! You are a bad ass and you love riding in the wind and rain! Rain and will will not slow you down!
It took a few more tries with this one but eventually she wrote back, I AM THE STORM!" That's better.
Because really, you can completely defeat yourself right from the beginning if your attitude is that the conditions suck, you will be slow, you're not fit enough, you didn't eat the right dinner last night, blah blah blah. Whatever. You have to decide. You have to make the decision that Today Is Your Day... Today, you are going to be fast. You decide. Then make it happen.