I thought I should share this email from a coach I work with in TrainingBible, but who also is one of my athletes. He sent this email out to his athletes this week, and I think he had some great things in it. He is fitter than he has ever been, and is ready to race Kona. I'm excited for him, but this email he wrote proves he has what it takes mentally, not just physically. And I believe the mental part is the key. Enjoy...
As another season comes to an end I have some athletes still gearing up for their final "A" Races, while most have already started to consolidate their victories and defeats from the year. Once again this season proved to be a huge success for my athletes but also myself.
As to not let any one of my athletes feel singled out, I would like to relate this to myself as some recent readings have really struck a cord with me.
I am traveling to Kona this week now to try to have the best race there I ever have done. I know for a fact just looking at the numbers I am more fit then I have ever been. Running faster, holding more sustained watts, heck for the first time in my life I feel I am at an ideal race weight, down 7 -8 pounds from last year's Hawaii Ironman.
Additionally I am for the first time confident about my race prep and my ability to do well. There is no doubt in my head I currently posses all the tools to do what I want to do on race day.
I was relegated to a trainer session on the bike the other day and decided to use an old Ironman video to help motivate me. What stood out to me were the pros that had bad days. Here were athletes no doubt as prepared as I am now, if not more, combined with more physical ability, and they blew up. My first instinct was how much that would suck. Here were athletes that on other years before and after had been in the top finishers, and this particular year, were not as lucky. Point is, they are clearly not worse athletes, worse ability, and more then likely just as mentally tough.
As life would have it, I decided to start re reading a book Magical Running by Bobby McGee. The chapter I was on referenced goals and targets. The author defined them differently.
Goals were less specific, and or not as based in outcome.
For example, you might want to figure out a way to be more confident while running hills.
Targets were objectives you would like to hit if you are able to achieve your goals.
Using the above example, you might have a hilly 10K or triathlon you are targeting a specific time for. If you are able to be a more confident hill runner, you will eventually be able to hit higher targets on hilly courses.
"Goals are who we want to be, Targets are things we want to do"
This is important and I have witnessed this exact thing in one of my own athletes this year. I have an athlete that set MASSIVE PR's in all his racing and absolutely became a much better cyclist this year. So much so that they felt the pressure to deliver on everyone's new expectations of what the community thought they were capable of at Ironman. When that target started to become un realistic for the race that day, the mental approach to the race fell apart and it resulted in a DNF and massive disappointment.
What this athlete needed to concentrate on was that the goals for the season were in fact met. They wanted to become a better cyclist, and they were! Races, group rides, solo training rides, etc all were better. This athlete accomplished things on the bike this year they never have before. While the target of the time at IM was still important, it didn't erase the fact that this was a different, better athlete. No matter what the time was for the day, it was MUCH better then they would have produced as their former selves.
Back to myself.
What is important to take from this is goals are more process oriented. It goes on to ask how many times you have set a goal then faced the anticlimactic feeling when you do eventually achieve it. If your goals are to become a better more confident person / racer, and your target along the way is met, the goal is not over. You simply have to set new targets.
Hawaii this year will be one of my best races I hope. But whatever the result it doesn't mean I didn't do everything I could have to be ready. I am a better athlete today then I was in 2009 and I need to be proud of that, no matter what the outcome.
If I swallow sea water and become sick, suffer a flat tire or 2, or cramp on the run, I would be disappointed. However it is simply a missed opportunity at a singular target. My goal has been achieved. This year I set out to be more fit physically, metabolically, centered on a more specific goal, have better nutritional practices, etc. The focus, or target, of those goals right now is to do the best I can at Hawaii given the new achievements.
Good luck to everyone racing soon! If you are in your off season, I am jealous! :-)