The current world wide pandemic has brought all triathletes to one same crossroad. All of us have collectively been through the agony of a race cancellation in 2020. We spend months and months preparing for a race, following a triathlon training plan consistently, keeping our hopes up, thinking about crossing the finish line and proving to ourselves how capable we are of reaching our dreams and goals. All this immense effort invested in a single event or series, just to see the race get cancelled or postponed.
To most of us, these cancellations bring feelings of frustration, anxiety and anger. Loss of motivation may develop and feelings of helplessness set in. The last few months of lockdown and restrictions have been hard, but they can also be used to think about and work on our own personal growth and resilience.
Davey Black’s Behavioural & Mental Health Counsellor, Alejandro Nestor Rivera takes us through the 3 steps of moving through the disappointment of race cancellations and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
1. Feel the emotion
Give yourself space to feel the anger, the sadness, or the anxiety when your races are cancelled. We might be a bunch of unstoppable runners, swimmers and cyclists, but we are humans before we are athletes and we are allowed to feel. We can have a triathlon training plan, a running program and many well thought out preparations, but we train with our hearts and our minds. Let those emotions flow through you, and express them in any way you see safe and healthy. Activities like writing, drawing, talking with friends, going for a walk, skating, horse riding or surfing are all great ways to clear your mind.
2. Get back to you
Remember that first time you went for a run, a ride or a swim. Were you planning to become an Ironman from the moment you ran your very first 5km? We all started in this amazing sport because we wanted to try something new. Maybe we wanted to be healthy, or we wanted to explore. Sometimes we need to leave our watches behind. Try it at least once a week and exercise just for the love of it. You’ll see that the world looks prettier when you are looking ahead and around and not into your watch.
3. Planning with ‘you’ as a priority
This next step is very interesting, as it needs you to be honest with yourself. How many of your training sessions are valuable? How many of them do you love doing? How much do you love the process? Why do you want to enter your next race? These questions are for you to synchronise your love of the sport with your love for yourself, your family, your friends and ultimately your life. Training should not be a pretext for avoiding reality but to live through it and get the most out of it.
By following these steps you will be able to face the challenges ahead. But most importantly, by giving yourself your deserved space as a priority, you will be able to face any challenge that lies ahead.
Finally, remember that your Mental Health is just as important as your Physical Health. If you feel like you are in need of some support or just someone outside of your social circle to talk with, you can book a confidential Counselling session here at Davey Black Sports Performance, or click here for alternative Mental Health Services.
“I’ll be happy the day I run in a big race again. But I’m already happy for having the bliss of running.” Alejandro Nestor Rivera – Runner, Triathlete, Counsellor, Coach.