I can’t believe I wrote this, all but the last few lines back in January but forgot about it until now. So here it is, delayed, but still relevant.
I’ve been doing a few presentations lately, ever since Hawaii 2011, and I’ve really been enjoying these opportunities to pass on what has taken me several years to learn, in a matter of hours. In January, in the space of 9 days I was involved in 4 presentations, and after each one it became clearer to me what it is that drives me and makes me able to challenge for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Melbourne was the first stop, and with the help from the Urban Hotel at St Kilda ( a very strong supporter of triathlon in Australia), Shotz (my nutrition sponsor and advisor) and Leon Griffin (world duathlon Champion and pro triathlete), I held a training day with all proceeds going to the John Maclean Foundation. The day included a swim, a ride, and a run, and all the theory to race at your best.
The theory all starts with the Hawaii Ironman 2011 footage. Anyone I show this to, and talk over, understands instantly what this race is about, and that it takes an incredible mindset and commitment to achieve a solid day on Kona. What they don’t understand immediately, and go on to ask about, is how do I cope with it all. The pain, the internal negative voices, the heat, the pressure, the dehydration, the fatigue, the preparation and the sacrifices. How?
The day was a huge success, as stated by the participants who learnt in a few light bulb moments during the run or swim technique sessions how to go faster with less energy. What some people are being taught about how to swim or run astounds me, and I’m so happy I am able to help some people reach their goals with more ease, so they can reset their goals higher as they realise they can do more with a different approach.
A couple of days later I was in Adelaide, and through a friend, Henk Vogels (ex pro cyclist and now coach/director of Rusvelo pro team) I was asked last minute to be a guest at a presentation on sports psychology. It was a semi formal chat with a few people in the clinical field, along with Henk and myself and 120 in the audience. A few things that resounded strongly throughout the night.
– Confidence needs to be built up in training and racing.
– A persons personality and the environment they grew up in can make the path longer or shorter for learning how to cope with difficulties.
– Having the strength mentally to push oneself to it’s absolute limit physically takes practice.
Two days later I was showing my Hawaii 2011 video, talking through the race, and explaining to people how I cut myself off at the neck and leave the negative thoughts going around in my head. How I don’t let the negative thoughts affect my body, no matter how strong they are I don’t let them from my head down to my body.
Two days later again I was coaching swimming and running technique to Adelaide triathletes, and once again seeing the improvements instantly in a very receptive group of athletes was another inspiring day as they showed persistence and desire to improve.
Even better than the results on the day, was the feedback afterward that one lady who attended the day passed on some swim tips to her husband, and he’s swimming faster now too. The fact that she understood what I was trying to explain, and could pass it on is another rewarding experience, and hopefully everyone can continue passing on tips that have helped them to others, and so on and so on.
Reflecting on my own successes, of which I’m still surprised of how I’ve been able to accomplish what I have, I’ve realised my ability to be aware of my body and what it’s doing, what muscles are working and relaxed or overworking (tensed), is something that helps me work very finely on my technique and become more efficient than some other athletes. It is something that I guess has been born out of necessity due to my inability to do long hard miles in training that many others are able to do day after day after day.
Whatever your approach, good luck, and enjoy.