Lisa Bentley is a Zone Athlete who has raced for 20 years as a professional triathlete, winning 11 Ironman and 16 Ironman 70.3 events. She made her rise to the top hiding her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic lung disease which should have shortened her life and left her unable to compete. During that time, she learned and lived the tactics for being a champion whether in sport, business or life. In this blog Lisa gives her tips for training in the “off season”.
Everyone Starts Somewhere
We all have different start lines for some it might be in an office, a school, a mall, or a home. We are all running different races, but a world class athlete is no different than a world class parent, world class custodian or world class CEO. We are all competing with ourselves and against others, but we will only win when we act from a place of love and compassion. Accept who you are and have the courage to make the changes to be your best self. Wholeheartedness trumps talent every time and when you are driven from what’s inside, peak performance is truly possible.
Thinking About a Summer or Fall Race- The Time to Start Training is Now
Welcome to ‘repair, rejuvenation and renovation’ season otherwise incorrectly referred to as the off-season. It is absolutely not the “off” season. It is “the” season to lay the foundation for 2019 – to heal any injuries, to revive your spirit and to strengthen your weak links. Motivation can be challenging with the lack of daylight, the cold and the distant race season ahead.
Here are some tips to spark up your preparation for summer 2019:
- Establish a short-term early season goal. Whether your goal is a 5K, spartan race, 1/2 marathon or triathlon, aim for a winter/early spring goal such as a 5K, ½ marathon or a destination race. Since these are not likely to be “A” races, set a mini goal such as boosting your run speed, honing your mental or nutritional game, perfecting your pacing, etc.
- Write your goals on a card and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Stare your goals in the face each morning. When you read, “I want to run faster, I want to have more energy throughout my day”, you will be excited to lace up your shoes and get started.
- Visualize the benefit of completing the activity. It is easy to say, “it is too cold or too dark to workout” and then roll over and sleep. What you are really saying is “I am going to stay in bed because I want to be slow at my next event”. Instead, focus on the benefit of executing each workout – “I will get fitter, faster, be energized for the day and be so proud of myself when this session is done.” Picture yourself doing the training and see the associated benefits. Then, contrast that with the picture of skipping the workout and the associated regret.
- Schedule your workouts for the morning before work. The only thing competing for your time in the morning is sleep but if you postpone workouts to the evening, now training has to compete with dinner, playtime, socials, rest, television and general relaxation. Wake up, train, feel accomplished and on task for the rest of the day.
- Plan a training camp, weekend clinic or training seminar. Think of this as a physical and mental retreat where you will learn new skills, get fit and re-charge your battery in pursuit of your sport. Every profession has team building weekends or motivational meetings or groups that train for the event. Everyone can use a “spa day” where you can grow as an athlete in mind, body and spirit.
- Keep a training log and include your daily emotions as well as workout data. At the end of the week, write down what you did well and what you can improve on for next week. Be honest. When you overcome a hurdle in your preparation, you will be empowered. This is your short story of your journey to your goal. Make it a piece of art. Be creative.
- Establish a theme for each month. This mantra should motivate you and should be personal. For example, the next few weeks in March might be about consistency with the goal of getting some type of activity in each day. April is likely to bring warmer temps, so it might be "Get Outside". Then each morning, repeat your mantra to yourself. Write it on your bathroom mirror and on every page of your journal and that will be your mental cue to get the workout done.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people at least once per week. Share these tips with someone else and then check up each other to see how you are doing or meet up for a workout. Compare training journals. Show each other your goal cards. Discuss your themes. When you share motivation, you will be motivated.
There is no question that the winter can play havoc on your training no matter your start. But a positive, on task and goal-driven mind is stronger than any winter storm. Your attitude is trainable and controllable. If you can overcome the usual training winter lulls, then imagine how indestructible you will be when you hit a curve-ball in the middle of your goal race. Attitude is more important than fact. The fact is that winter is tough on our race day aspirations. Let your attitude rise up and make you a champion of winter and then a champion on race day.