A big topic of conversation between athletes and athletes, athletes and coaches, and athletes and their families is the balance between sport and life.
As much as many of us would like it to be, life can’t all be about training and competing. Sometimes life requires us to turn our attention to other areas, and that is completely normal. It might be a promotion at work, a tight deadline, renovations, having a child, study, or a new relationship, just to name a few. All of these examples, and many others, represent a unique challenge and an opportunity for you to reorganise your life around what you are doing.
In this blog, Mental Health Counsellor Alejandro Rivera will help us to develop the skills required to maintain the balance when planning your season, your important life events as well as your athletic ones.
Training programs are often organised in terms of months, even years. An athlete needs to know that some moments during a yearly program are meant for them to push harder, dedicate more hours and overall focus most of their energy towards training for their big event. There are other periods when sessions need to feel easier, take less time, and, overall, require less energy to complete. That way you will be able to plan your objectives around your normal routine and your plans for that year.
A Triathlon Coach Melbourne based, or an Online Triathlon Coach, will often plan around the athlete and the objectives they have in mind.
Likewise, life presents us with cycles around different aspects of our lives. We will find ourselves at some point of our lives being able to train 3 or 4 hours per week because of responsibilities, and a few years later with enough time in our lives to train more than 30 hours per week. The key is to make the most from each moment of your life.
Being in constant communication with your coach is crucial to understanding where you are in terms of your program and how much energy and time you will need to put into training.
We know that time is of the essence when training efficiently. This means that we need to make the most out of every available moment we have. Choose a coach that understands your situation and creates a program that they design around your specific needs. That way you will feel every session as valuable, and your performance will vastly improve. Every training session should have a specific purpose.
Find a coach that adapts their program to your life, don’t force yourself to adapt your life to their program.
Focus on what you are doing:
Some call this mindfulness, which means returning to the present moment. Focus on training when training, focus on working when working, focus on family when being with your family. Understanding what you are doing right there and then will allow you to enjoy more of every moment in life. Don’t allow your attention to get dragged away by the thought of living a reality that is not there.
Live in the moment and you will have no regrets.
Take the ego out:
We sometimes pay too much attention to personal best times and finishing positions in a race. Instead, turn your focus to having fun and enjoying the progress you are making in terms of wellness and healthy habits. Keeping these thoughts present bring the risk of developing an obsession with the thought of being the fastest or strongest athlete. Once you take out the ego and stress of always beating your past times, you will have more time to think clearly about the different commitments and responsibilities around you.
Focus on the big 4:
True balance in life comes in finding the perfect connection between your personal and significant relationships, your career, your spirituality, and your physical activity. All of them are connected and need to be nurtured to give you the balance you need in life.
It is important to mention that this balance is dynamic. What you consider balanced today might change tomorrow. All athletes, no matter what their level or their skill, will struggle with this one. The only answer is to do your best to respond to all the important aspects of your life by also giving yourself the time and space to rest and recover.
Prioritise nutrition and sleep:
These two are the most important things to nurture in your life. Do your best to get a good amount of sleep every night as this is when your body recovers the most efficiently.
Just as importantly, you need to keep an eye on your nutrition. What you eat and drink is the fuel for your body. The higher quality fuel that you use, the better results in your overall performance physically, emotionally and even in terms of cognitive sharpness. It is always wise to consult with the Davey Black Clinical Nutritionist with the knowledge to guide you on that path.
Bring your family on board:
It doesn’t matter how strong you think you are, you will never achieve your athletic dreams exclusively on your own. You will always need your family, your loved ones, to be with you. That will mean continuously seeking middle ground with them. Use your race destination to book some nice holidays after the big race, invite your family to your training camp, think of them.
Tell them about your process, about your training program and invite them to get involved as much as possible. They will appreciate being part of your big challenge and you will certainly need that support and motivation more often than not.