Everyone has different life experiences…some of these experiences (especially while training and racing triathlon) have taught me some valuable life lessons.
- “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” My very wise mother has repeatedly reminded me of this over the years, but triathlon has only reinforced this. There have been times that I have felt like I might die during a tough workout or race, but I have learned and grown from each of these experiences, not only physically, but mentally as well. The most recent one was Legend 100, but we finished.
- Enjoy the ride!! There are ups and downs along the way…unfortunately injuries happen, workouts don’t always go as planned, races don’t always go as planned, the weather doesn’t always cooperate and life happens. The roller coaster ride of every journey makes it so much more rewarding.
- More isn’t always better…Recovery is key to recharging the batteries. The offseason is important for the body and mind to recover. Both the body and mind need proper down time so they can function at 100% during peak season. It is also important to soak up rest days and recovery weeks during peak season, to help prevent injury and allow your body to be it’s best!
- Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals is not only important when training and racing, but is important in other avenues of life as well. All goals should be specific…focusing on who, what, when, where and why. They should be measurable…concrete criteria should be established for measuring the progress of achieving the goal. They should be attainable…attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them should be developed to help you reach them. They should be realistic…you should be both willing and able to work toward achieving your goal. They should be timely…having a time frame promotes a sense of urgency.
- Discipline…doing everything you can to achieve your goals and dreams takes a lot of hard work and consistency. The daily grind can get tough at times, but it is important to keep your focus on the dream.
- Patience…the body can only be pushed so hard before it “breaks.” Being patient in your training and recovery will be key to setting yourself up for a solid race. Being patient in life is also very important. Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball and things will not go as planned. It is during these times that being patient will reap rewards and make you a more well-rounded person.
- Passion takes you many places…find something you love and have the desire to work hard for. Let your passion guide your dreams. There is no dream too big.
- Listen…whether it is to your body, to your loved ones or to your coach, just listen. I have to focus more on listening to my body since I am self coached and do a fairly good job of listening to my husband. Your body knows what it needs…sleep, certain nutrients, hydration, a less intense workout, etc. It is important to carefully listen to your body to get the most from it during any given workout or race. While training for Ironman Wisconsin 2014, I made the incredibly tough decision to listen to my body and not toe the line at Ironman Kansas 70.3 due to injury. I knew that if I started the race, I would push myself and not pull myself out before I did further damage, so a DNS was in order if I was to fully heal and be successful while racing Ironman Wisconsin.
- Don’t fear failure…you are going to have limitations and mistakes are bound to happen. Our limitations are not failures; with the right attitude, we can turn our limitations into opportunities. Opportunities to learn; opportunities to grow. As long as we learn and grow from our mistakes, it is not failure. Failure only happens when we do not learn and we make the same mistakes over and over again.
- Believe…we are going to have bad days, but even on these “bad days,” we have to believe in ourselves, believe in each other and believe that it will get better. Even on our worst days, we need to be the best that we can possibly be. Dreams can and do come true!! One day my biggest dream will come true and I will make it to Kona because of my desire, hard work, determination and perseverance…or maybe I’ll just outlive the competition 😉
What lessons has triathlon taught you about life?