Hi ass kickers! Today’s episode comes in two parts. First, I’m joined by my friend Ella, who participated in a sprint triathlon with me last month. You’ll hear how she SMOKED me and what I thought of that!
Then, I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned from triathlons, both the training and the race itself. Sports can always be great metaphors for life, and triathlon is no different (You might remember an episode I did on what roller derby can teach you about life).
Obviously, the audio podcast goes into much more, but here are seven ways triathlon is just like life:
Consistency matters. I’ve done a total of about 15 races in my life, ranging from sprint triathlons to a half marathon. I’ve trained well and I’ve trained not well. I’m stating the obvious here, but when you train consistent, you’ll see better results. Yes, you might miss a workout here and there, but if the majority of your training is consistent, you’ll do well. And when you join a training group and/or hire a coach, you’ll see even bigger strides.
This is the same with personal development. When you use your tools consistently, you’ll see better results. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with people on negative self-talk, they use one tool once, and they get exasperated that they still have negative self-talk. That’s like working out once in your life, competing in a triathlon and expecting to win the whole thing. It’s not going to happen like that, you need consistency.
Persistency matters. Directly related to what I just stated, you must keep going despite difficulty. In triathlon training, your muscles will get tired. You’ll not want to do that brick workout. You’ll get tired of the chlorine hair. You’ll realize how slow you are and feel like it’s not worth it. But, there’s nothing like the feeling of carrying on when it’s gets hard. The feeling of strength and courage is what builds confidence.
In self-help, sometimes it’s discouraging when none of your friends are into (btw, you can look for more friends), or when you feel like you’re not growing at the rate you want to or think you should. Or maybe you’re digging into a topic with your therapist that is bringing up trauma for you and you’re ready to quit it all, wishing you could go back to just living on the “surface” of your life. But, persistency is key. You must keep going because it matters and you matter.
If you fall off the habit, just get back on. Maybe you get sick or injured, maybe you just get lazy and don’t train for a week. And then you think all your training was for nothing. So, might as well quit, right? NO! Like Dori says, just keep swimming (and running and cycling)!
In personal development, you will have setbacks. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And many times when that happens, you might feel like throwing in the towel. You’ll feel like you already worked on this and you have to start over, which feels discouraging. But, in order to have the life you want, to get the results you want in your life, you have to get back on the horse. It’s that simple.
Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. I don’t like to workout first thing in the morning. I don’t like to try and put on a sports bra after swimming when I feel like I’m trying to put on a strait jacket while soaking wet. I don’t like coming in last place in my age group. But, I do it all anyway. Obviously I’m not going to do things that put me in danger (although some would argue that swimming in open water puts you at risk for getting eaten by the Loch Ness Monster), but the things I don’t like during triathlon training are uncomfortable.
Personal development is hands down uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s mild, and sometimes it’s hold-my-hair-back-while-I-puke painful. Either way, you’re stretching and growing and getting better. It’s the nature of the beast.
You’re training for something you’re most likely not going to win. The majority of triathletes are what we call “age groupers”. We’re not elite athletes, we know we’re not going to win the grand prize money. We’re training for ourselves only and the satisfaction we get from the training and the event itself. We know a very small part of the population does this, that other people might think we’re crazy, and we do it anyway.
In self-help there is no winner. “Winning” is in the work, it’s the freedom of not being weighed down anymore, it’s creating a life we love and are proud of. And, like with triathlon, a small part of the population does this, other people might think we’re crazy, and we do it anyway.
Fueling yourself appropriately is everything. This is an obvious one for triathlon training, but one thing I learned was on the morning of the past race I did. The morning of, I was awake at 4:30am, for a 7:10am race. I had a Cliff bar, some water and some coffee and thought that would be enough. I got out of the water around 7:30 after swimming 880 meters and the hunger pains kicked in. I knew the bike and run would be tough. And they were.
In personal development, your fuel looks like: the people you surround yourself with, what you consume (podcasts, movies, music, books, etc.) and your self-talk. It’s all important, so be intentional about it. The path to get to where you want to be will be easier if you do your best to make sure the fuel in your life is as positive as possible.
It’s all about the story you tell yourself. This is true in training for a triathlon and race day, and even before you decide to sign up for one. You might tell yourself you’re too old, too out of shape, too overweight, too whatever to do it. Unless you’re dead, you can do it. Or, you might tell yourself the drains in the pool will suck you down if you swim over them, or that a swamp person will grab your ankles while you swim in the open water (*ahem*, not that I tell myself that). If you let your fears take over, you’ll have the absolute hardest time. And if you get out in front of them and learn to manage them, the journey will be much easier.
In your self-help journey, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that you make up stories all the time. About how people feel about you, about what someone meant when they said that, about your worth, about what will happen if you do this or that, and on and on. It’s a natural part of the human experience, it’s what our brains love to do. While you can’t stop yourself from quickly making up stories, you CAN notice when it happens, and challenge the story.
I’ll leave you with this: With both triathlon and personal development, you’ll be proud AF of yourself when you do it. Every time.