Contrary to what many athletes think, endurance sport is rarely an activity where results are the main objective. Generally, we see athletes aiming for longer distances or faster times, however, sport is rarely a matter of numbers and more often a matter of passion, discipline, and sacrifice. In order to maintain our commitment towards such physically demanding activities, we must ask ourselves why we race in the first place.
In today’s blog, Alejandro Rivera – Counsellor and Coach at the local St Kilda Triathlon Club Davey Black Tri – will share an easy to follow and practical way of defining what gets you to the start line and what it is that drives you to train every day in the lead up to your race or season.
To engage in this exercise, you will need to find a quiet space with enough time to allow you to genuinely focus on your past, your present and your inner emotional self.
By completing the below exercise, you will find it much easier to get up and get your sessions completed if you are ever lacking a bit of motivation.
The ‘why’ is a pathway to your inner self. It makes you question what brought you to train in the first place. You might need to repeat this step multiple times allowing yourself to follow the different trajectories that brought you to your current state of fitness.
Picture yourself in the race. When thinking about your ‘why’, try to picture the first time you raced in a competition. It could have been one month ago, or way back when you were a child. Think of the moment itself. Where were you in that moment? Were you at your local track? A fun run? A school sports day? Who was racing? Was it with friends or family?
Describe the moment as if it was happening right now. Try to transport yourself back to that moment. Try to recreate every detail that you can remember. Think of the location, the weather, the clothes you had on. Try to remind yourself of every tiny detail around that specific moment. The more you think about this, the easier it will be to connect with the emotions around that moment.
Identify the emotion. Once you can picture yourself in that moment, try to think of what you were feeling right then and there. Remembering the emotions can help you associate that scenario with your emotions. These emotions can range from happiness to excitement, or from shame to pride. Understanding the primary emotion throughout the situation will allow you to understand that strong reason behind your desire to continue to train for that, or other, events.
Feel the emotion. Now that you have identified the primary emotion surrounding the moment, relax and allow your body and mind to feel it. Every part of these feelings is extremely valuable. Once you get these answers, you may start to understand more clearly the reasoning behind your relentless efforts on the track.
Finally, it should be noted that if you read this blog in detail, you will realise that often our ‘why’ can translate into a ‘what’. What makes you run? What pushes you to get in the ocean for a swim during winter? What makes you get on your bike and ride for hours and hours when you could be sleeping in? Our what can be something as simple as “I want to be fit”, or it may be more specific as “I want to be a good example for my kids”. It can be a reason hidden in the deepest levels of our unconscious.
Learning to understand our meaning, can be the secret towards breaking down barriers and obstacles on our way to self-growth. If you would like to read more on this topic, then check out this blog I wrote last year on breaking through the pain barrier; Breaking Through the Pain Barrier | Davey Black Triathlon