As an athlete, sticking to a training schedule is crucial in order to make progress and to meet whatever long term goal one is training for. However, many endurance athletes have “Type A” personalities which means we want to do every single workout that is scheduled, when it’s scheduled and exactly the way it’s supposed to be done. The problem with that is that life doesn’t lend itself to perfection. Appointments come up, kids get sick, spouses need us… the list goes on and on. Whether you are training for an Ironman or a 5K, a Fitness show or a Century Ride- be flexible. It is a far greater skill than attempted perfection.
I am an endurance athlete training for my first Half Ironman triathlon. Race day is less than 4 weeks away and I’ve had to learn to practice this throughout my journey. I used to be an “all or nothing” person. I would commit fully to things (sometimes to a fault) and when they didn’t go “right” or when I made a “mistake” I would give up. This is what led me down the yo-yo dieting road for over a decade.
My Half Ironman journey has helped me overcome the “all or nothing” mindset and understand balance and flexibility over perfection. It’s the fine line of sticking to a training schedule while making time for the equally important events and people in our lives. The most important ones for me are my husband and son. I want to be present when I’m with them and enjoy our time together. Learning that I can be all things; wife, mother, triathlete, coach and teacher has helped me feel more complete and whole.
Setting big goals takes big sacrifice. I struggled with balance earlier on in this journey and thought that if I missed a workout, got sick, got injured, etc. that everything else would fall apart. Then slowly but surely, each of those things happened and I dealt with them. With the help of my friends, my husband, and my coach, I handled these situations and continued to learn about myself. That is the amazing thing about life: we never stop learning. We can learn to pick ourselves up instead of giving up. Many people set goals and think they have to have it all figured out. The minute they miss a workout or eat something “bad” they give up, whether it be physically or mentally.
The lesson is to push on. Be flexible and strive for balance. Ask your friends and family for help. Know that everyone gets busy, everyone gets sick and NO ONE is perfect. Dedicating oneself to a specific fitness goal is a huge feat. It takes dedication and drive. It takes sacrifice and patience. But in the end, when you can say “I did it,” it will all be worth it. Remember, life gets in the way. It presents us with hurdles and obstacles all the time. That doesn’t have to derail us. Make your dreams come true. BE happy!! It is that simple.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013