We talk about physical strength all the time, but I feel we need to talk about mental strength more often.
This topic has been on my mind for a while now, because of the increased training load i’m under in preparation for The Austin Triathlon.
I am in Week 6 of my 14 week training plan. I will have trained for 13 weeks come race day, therefore i’m eliminating one of the “recovery” weeks. No biggie! Anyhow, I am in the final week of a three-week “Aerobic Stage,” and next week will be the recovery week i’ll eliminate…so, next phase is “Endurance.”
Week 5, which was last week, was when things really seemed to get tougher. The most notable workout from last week was Thursday, which I have named the “Toughest workout yet.” This is an excerpt from my latest post over at OTBTri:
– 1700 yd / 00:55
I wanted to quit like twice but of course, didn’t
1 x 200 (L1) = 4:15, Rest 60
12 x 50 Drills, resting 60 between
3 x 100 (L3), resting 50 between (1:50/1:57/1:55)
2 x 200 (L2), resting 50 between (4:15/4:09)
1 x 200 (L1)
I almost fell over after I got out…space cadet! Thank goodness my client’s daughter cooked me Eggo waffles at 8:45, and I grabbed a Lean Body protein shake at the gas station…got up too late to fix breakfast. Massage yesterday was pretty brutal and felt sore from it today. Towards the end of my swim, I finally started feeling like I was getting what my friend calls a “sprint kick” down. YAY! Also, around the time of my last 100 yards, a group of kiddos came in to use the pool (summer day camp at the facility), and boy, were they LOUD. Good thing I was almost done b/c that would have been sooooooooooo distracting if i’d have had to swim the entire workout with them in there! They were shrieking b/c the pool heater is still not fixed, so it’s COLD!
This workout was literally a test of will. My body felt dead and I was rather “blah,” mentally. Also, being towards the end of the week, I was fatigued period. I swam around 1:00pm and was all by myself in the pool (until the kiddos came in right at the end, lol). It was a bit lonely without the little old ladies! I had thoughts going through my head like: “no one will know if I don’t finish the entire workout”…(soon followed by) “but I will know, and i’ll feel like a quitter…and i’m no quitter!” I also had thoughts like “why is this so exhausting for me?” and then “screw it, i’m tough enough and I CAN do this.” The 12 sets of drills seemed to take FOREVER…and gave me time to let my mind wander a bit. The 1o0’s at Level 3 were pretty brutal, and there were predictable points halfway thru each set where I felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. The 200’s were pretty tough as well, but I reminded myself that I was probably trying to go too fast, so I did my best to relax. See, relaxing in the water is my biggest challenge. I am still trying to find a comfortable pace, and then trying to match this pace with those required in my workouts. My technique is most definitely better, and still improving. The more efficient I am, the more relaxed i’ll be and things will just “flow.” This is why i’m sneaking in an extra swim workout this afternoon. 😉
It’s all in the mind, people.
Obviously, the body must perform…but without the proper mindset, all the physical ability in the world means nothing. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, you’re not going to be able to do it. Period.
Please do yourself a favor and eliminate these words/phrases from your workout vocabulary (I have):
- I can’t
- I’m not strong enough
- I’m not fast enough
- I’m not conditioned enough
- I’m tired
- I’ll do it later
- I’ll skip that part
- It’s hot
- It’s so early
- What if I fail?
- Why bother?
I could go on and on but I think you get my point.