This post was lost in “Draft-land” and never published – but I thought it was important to share as its been a new chapter in my triathlon training (not the smoothest journey).
2018 flew by… but even though it went by fast – it had professional challenges, personal challenges and continued physical challenges. But I’ve always been the type of person to want to learn from experiences and not let them define or limit me and my ability.
In terms of my physical fitness – I accept the fact that some injuries are always going to be with me. I accept that my body is not a machine and it needs rest. And I have to humbly accept that I could (and need to) take better care of my body.
So after some soul searching (and soul searching for my friends out there with planters fasciitis) I decided that 2019 would be when I stepped up my game. And no – this wasn’t a New Years Resolution… I see it more as a PLAN and something more defined than any “new year – new me” post on Instagram.
So, when most people were planning their Christmas vacations and picking out what they were going to wear to this years New Year’s party – I started my plan to improve on my personal fitness.
A big part of this plan, was the crazy idea I had to compete in my first full IRONMAN triathlon. For those new to the world of triathlon, an IRONMAN is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run (or in my case – “trot”).
And while triathlon is often referred to as a sport of three disciplines (Swimming, Cycling and Running). I have come to find through Trial & Error (emphasis on the Error) to learn with experience it actually is a sport of FIVE disciplines…
- Mental Fitness
Recognizing that I have five disciples to train for, meant that my planning had to be different and had to be smarter than my approaches in the past.
I know that I can swim – and swimming better comes with drills, practice and endurance.
I know that I could cycle – and this was an area that I’m going to need help improving on through group rides, a power meter and an expensive bike (the more expensive they are the faster they are, right?!?!).
And I know that I can run – but I need to continue to train to improve my pace, distance and endurance.
But how does a person improve nutrition and mental strength?
…that wasn’t hypothetical – if you have the answer I’ll gladly take the advice!
I started this new journey by finding podcasts on the subjects. I travel a lot and like to listen to podcasts to keep me motivated, challenge me mentally and providing me with new ways of learning.
I actually started my journey looking for nutrition podcasts – but this only made me hungry and I quickly realized I do not like listening to people talk about food (yet I would watch the FoodNetwork for days on end).
But – I stumbled on two podcasts that I really like and have been hooked on for months now –
10% Happier by Dan Harris and the Endurance Nation Podcast.
The 10% Happier podcast by Dan Harris is tied to meditation and the power of the mind – not something I thought I would be into – but I dig it! I love hearing peoples stories and how they have used meditation practices and exercises to find peace, reduce stress and build mental strength – and two months into it, I truly feel like I am growing in my mental strength through resources and stories shared by Dan and his guests.
The Endurance Nation Podcast was also a game-changer – and this podcast had me literally change my training and game-plan for triathlon. On the first EN podcast, I heard a guest sharing their journey in triathlon and how it has positively impacted their lives and their “purpose” – Boom, I was hooked.
Little did I know at the time, Endurance Nation was actually an online training group (like the biggest) for endurance athletes. And I’ll fast forward the story – I’m a member and now I have a training plan that will (ideally) get me to the IRONMAN finish-line in one piece and with a smile (my new relationship with EN will have its own post in the near future).
So – back to the planning – I am now working daily to get my body to where I need it to be for the level of performance expected of me on race day.
And I started 2019… With. A. Plan (and my plan is bigger than an online training plan – BUT the plan is a daily kick in the ass to get to work).
My workouts have a start time and goals – whether it’s heart rate, distance or time there are metrics involved.
And to swim, bike or run – there is a great deal of strength training needed to be strong enough physically to endure the duration of my workouts – and to keep me from feeling drained the next day.
And a plan has to be followed if you want it to be successful. Which means that cold weather, rain or travel aren’t excuses (I feel for my fellow road warriors out there – we may not know which time zone we are on, but a workout is a workout)!
One of my favorite parts about being part of a training group – is that we have a group chat (literally dozens of people that I’m too intimidated to communicate with yet). So when its 35 degrees outside at 6:00am in California and I want to complain about the cold – I see other members posting about their workouts in (literally) inches of snow – which gives me less excuses and more reason to get to work.
And while it is a lot of work – starting the day at 5:00am – 6:00am gives you more time in the day and makes the start of every day about “YOU” and bettering yourself. I am finding that getting two hours of “personal work” in before my work day starts has allowed me bring more of “myself” to work. I usually plan my days out and my to do lists while swimming in the pool or on my final lap on my run course which lets me hit the ground running at work.
For anyone taking the time to read this – I am working hard to stay on my plan and to continue to improve on all five disciplines. Podcasts, YouTube videos and social encouragement help.
What is social encouragement? To me, this is posting online knowing that others are on similar paths. I don’t have a community of runners, cyclists or swimmers who are always around to push me, make sure I get to the gym or to give the priceless high five for a workout I know that I absolutely crushed…
Getting the praise online really helps (cue the narcissistic millennial alarm). My training communities are on Instagram, in group Texts and in GroupMe – so I share to keep myself motivated and to contribute to community of other people who “get me.” There are a half dozen people I regularly interact with on social media strictly to cheer each other on and to recognize each-others successes. They speak the language and I know we keep each other accountable.
Much love to me EN Out-Season Group, my IMAZ19 Group, my OTF GroupChat and my Insta-Friends who show love – and of course anyone reading this blog (at least those of you not asking yourself “how many selfies does this guy take?!?!” – that is nobodies business… but I do love portrait mode on the new iPhone, haha).
To me, physical fitness is a race without a set finish-line. There are milestones and accomplishments on the course – and they are different for every one running (or walking) their way through it.
A person whose goal is to walk a mile without stopping could be on the track as a person training for a sub 2 hour half marathon (that’s 13.1 miles in under 120 minutes).
The person who walks 3/4 of the mile in 30 minutes may look “slow” or “weak” compared to the person sprinting and finishing 3 miles in the same 30 minutes – but who gained more in that workout? It all depends on the individual and their goal – no two people are running the same race.
I have had ups and down on my training since January 1st, 2019 – but I keep finding my way back on track – much to do because of the support of my online communities and the people that I do get to see in and around my workouts.
Ten weeks ago from today, I said my goal out loud at the end of an OrangeTheory class… And since that class I get asked by someone every time I walk into OTF about how my training is going – it’s going – and sometimes just so I can have a positive report to share!
To anyone out there on their own journey following a plan (or making it up as they go along), I feel you – and you can do it! We start with a plan, we build on it, learn from it, stray from it, find it again and with faith, determination and the support of others we will all get there together!
Thanks your indulging me and following me on this new journey- if you have any podcasts, Youtube videos or even playlists that you recommend, let me know! I’m excited to hear what else I can learn from – especially while I work on my Swimming, Cycling, Running, Nutrition and Mental Fitness!