Monday, December 6, 2010

the big limiter

yesterday was a day of races, two big triathlons on the same day, one in Auckland, the other in Mt Maunganui, I've never raced any of them in the oly distance, and I hope to do so next year. 
Anyway, a day of races and many guys in the squad were stoked to have achieved more than they hoped for at this time of the year. They were not big races in the national calendar, but for these guys they were either the first one of the season, of the first one ever or a good hit out before a big race in the next month or so. That got me thinking on how good it is to have great results, and how important it is to discover that most of our boundaries are locked from the neck up. 

Our mind is the biggest limiter, and our ability to whithstand pain on the third place I'd put flexibility. But there's no doubt a great deal of our training and racing is played in the head. I had my doubts about being able to run below 40 when I first entered triathlon, I wondered if it was at all possible to run under 40 after biking for a good 70 minutes. And then it happened. 

The same thing during training, every now and then coach will throw a crazy number for a swim or run interval. There are two types of answer, the first one is to start thinking about how feasible it is to go for it, this is the mind trying to avoid the body getting yet another trashing by going hard. The other answer is to duck down and see what happens. I never know which one I am gonna give, but I am trying to marshall my thoughts towards b. 

As the months go through we all get to know more and more about our body, its strengths and weaknesses, and at times we may take other people's word on what they think is one weakness of ours. This can be rather toxic if it stays in the back of our mind. For example, someone could say that I am not great getting off the saddle in the bike. If it comes from someone that I respect, I'll take it, but I need to be strong and proud enough to know that this is an observation of my fitness on one particular time, not an observation of my cycling skills in general. If I can't get to isolate or contextualize the observation, there's the risk that I'd believe and live by that opinion, which will increase my limitations in getting my arse off the seat when I'm racing. (by the way, I am not famous for jumping off the seat of my bike)

 How could I become a smarter racer? I wondered, and although I don't have an answer to that, I am taking this year to explore and be as good as I can in remembering every little thing that goes through my head during training and racing, and how many times I focus on what I think I won't be able to achieve.
I hope to find the triggers and work through them. I have enough experience and more important, I've seen a lot of my mates do what they believed was not possible, that should be able to counter balance the limits the mind tries to put so the body doesn't hurt. 

On the training front, I'm still spitting the last bits of the flu, I'd say that I am 90% there, and in good spirits for a moderate/hard week ahead. 
Stay tuned for more on the upcoming race, miles, and hopefully some fresh photos. 

1 comment:

  1. I like this post...I am aiming to overcome my limiter in 38 days on the back half of AZ 26.2 - I know the time will come and I really want to step it up not back down...

    fer sure neck up must be overcome for me