Willpower is Not Enough

Mental willpower is not enough. Your heart needs to be in it. There are times where my heart just isn't in it when it comes to triathlon training. Don't get me wrong I love "tri-ing" and feel that I am getting closer each week to my goal of completing a triathlon and surviving. For example, when I began swimming, it petrified me. There was no way there was enough air for me in that split second I was thrashing my head out of the water to gasp before ducking back down to keep forward momentum. After a lot of practice though, I actually feel comfortable in the water. I still have a long way to go, but without question I am progressing. But even with the notable progression, sometimes my heart just isn't in it. My heart is the only thing I can see that is keeping me from hitting all of my planned work-outs.

The difference between heart and mind.
Ever notice when you are doing something you love, time and effort doesn't seem to be an issue? When my son was in the hospital, I had no problem with 3 or less hours of sleep a night, bad food and a job to boot. But faced with little sleep and a hungry stomach early in the morning in my own home, watch out! The difference, of course, is at the hospital my heart was so focused on the welfare of my little boy, that I didn't need to tell myself to get up early or work just a little bit harder. It just happened. However without the buy-in of my emotions, no amount of telling myself to get up early and work harder works.

Leading with the heart.
I've decided that to effectively train for any event, my reasons have to be very clear and powerful. Otherwise, I just won't do it. I've discovered that, for the most part, an event every 8 weeks is the maximum I can do. The reason: I typically suffer through a post-event let down period. It is a period after an event where my emotions just say "Whew, I am glad that is over with. I need a rest." I am not trying to say it is a traumatic situation to compete in event but often times the climax is followed by a crash. I am ok with that. I also believe that I can work with the let down period and simply schedule my events far enough apart to account for the aftermath.

I've also noticed that my emotional intensity and subsequent physical intensity doesn't really kick in until about 4 weeks before an event. Is it procrastination or do I inherently know that it is all I can really handle before the next adrenaline crash? I suspect my threshold would vacillate a bit according to the size of the event. If I were training for an Ironman, for example, I would likely begin sooner and last longer with my intensity.

What is my point?
The point is this. If you are struggling through your training program and can't seem to find the time to work out. If no amount of self-talk and grit-your-teeth effort sustains you to the end, then maybe you should find an event or a reason with a little more emotion. Many people have run races for a loved one, a special cause or even tied it to a family vacation. Maybe you should recruit a friend and add a little competition. Dropping an event for another with more appeal may help you in your training efforts and consistancy. This is what I am doing with my next scheduled event the Cycle Salt Lake Century. I am mentally canceling it. It just didn't have the power to draw me in and I am, as a result, ill-prepared. Rather then beat myself up over it I will focus on the Cache Valley Biathlon - June 11th. I was very disappointed I couldn't participate last year due to a knee injury and completing it will mean a lot to me. I am also excited because Cache Valley is a beautiful part of Utah and one of the things I like most about training is enjoying the outdoors.


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