Friday, February 26, 2010

You Decide

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.

14 comments:

Lizzie said...

Absolutely agree with this. My trainer is always telling me that the only reason I can't run a 1/2 is because I'm telling myself that - she says I can be faster and stronger than what I limit myself too. Having read your post, I suspect she's right - don't yo hate that? :) Hope guys are OK - heard there was a tsunami warning in effect.

Running and living said...

This made me laugh bc this is how I actually operate. Right now it is snowing and it will rain in an hour or so, and I need to go run 20+...yes, I LOVE this weather:)

cherelli said...

Have fun in your bike race! I totally agree on the mindset thing; it's quite similar to the slow evolution of belief as one does half or iron training for the first time ("theres no WAY I can do those distances! then.."oh yes I can, I just had to be taught to believe I could through training"..)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I love riding in the rain as well. Its like an automatic cooling system.

elizabeth said...

I LOVE embracing the conditions and workouts I am faced with. GREAT work with your athletes and trying to get them to understand that as well :) And, I am with you... EASY = EASSSSSYYYYYYYYYY!

Chris said...

Hope you guys make it through the tsunami all right! I've got my fingers crossed here from the east coast.

Angela said...

Nice!

Jon Gilchrist said...

so very true and so very powerful!!

N.D. said...

great post! totally true!!

Mary IronMatron said...

I want to hear how the race went!
I just read Magical Running by Bobby McGee which gets at this. It's basically a sport psych. book. I recommend it--for your athletes too.

Carole Sharpless said...

Mindset is EVERYTHING. I think you are so right, speedy girl.

Funny though, I try to do that with other things... "today you are a hot model, today you look like a hot model...." I enthusiastically rush to the mirror top confirm that I now look like Heidi Klum.... and, *sigh*, nope, just me again.

:)

Gear it up, girl.
Happy riding!
xoxoxoxoxox.

X-Country2 said...

Totally agree. I'm such a head case, and I know I need ot work on that.

DC Running Mama said...

You know, this isso true. I've been going into workouts the past few weeks thinking, I'm tired, I'm defeated, I'll just try to make it through. And, you know what happens? I barely make it through. Maybe I just need a mental adjustmnt.

Mer! said...

Love it!!! Great advice!!

My dad always had me visualize scoring soccer goals..he actually did it more "jokingly," for fun..like "running, running SCORE!!". ...but it's something that stuck with me for life.

Great advice!!