Lord knows I am NOT the almighty authority on always knowing what is right for my body and my mind. With age comes wisdom (at least with this grandma), and I’m happy to note that I have gotten better in recent years at assessing when I need a break and some recovery. I can hear the collective sarcastic, “Really??” But, it’s true. The only carrot I seem to be chasing right now is longevity– (and a sub 3:30 race at Boston in April.)
I’ve also gotten really good at talking with athletes I coach about which races or distances they should conquer. They don’t always listen, of course, but in the vein of “honesty is the best policy,” I’d be remiss if I wasn’t constantly asking the question, “Now, WHY do you want to do this again?!” (Often, it is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black because I’m usually also signed up). Part of my conversation involves encouraging them to actually keep a daily journal of “Whys.” Some days you’re full of motivation. But, there are days when you just want to say, “F*ck It.” It’s on those days that I tell athletes to open up their journal and start reading all of those accumulated reasons “why.” If they aren’t enough to motivate you to get on the bike or in the pool, give yourself the day off and really assess if this race or distance is for you.
In fact, I received this email from an athlete just this week:
It’s sinking in…You don’t start driving across the country without a GPS. Having a training journal and log is the same thing. You need to have direction and a full tank of motivation. You also need to refuel along the way. It’s a long damn drive across the country.
I talk about this so much that I wrote a book about it entitled, “The BabyBird Guide to Triathlon: Decide Your Distance, Focus on the Finish.” In this book, I discuss the various factors to consider when making a distance decision. Aside from motivation, I also discuss costs, physical aptitude, experience, course conditions, and more. Knowing you are on the right journey is certainly one way of optimizing your success!
Ironman.com recently published a couple of small excerpts from the book, available now at Amazon.com. So, yeah, I don’t always have all the answers. Or, if I have them, I don’t always listen to them myself. Nobody’s perfect. I do, however, have a lot of experience and can say this with all of my fortune cookie-like wisdom: Your WHY is your Finish Line.