(If you are reading this post and your thinking, “hang on didn’t Sarah Anne already finish her race?”. You’d be right. We’re posting our most liked blogs from our old to our new site. Enjoy.. again!)
Well, I’m 7 weeks away from my first Ironman distance triathlon.
Physically I’m feeling great. Training is going well and the cyclist within that took a break for a few years has reawakened, thankfully!
My approach to training has been very different from my previous methods when I competed in triathlons many years ago. Canberra half IM last month, saw me return to tri for the first time in 3 years. I’m training less than I used to, but while the hours are fewer the training is smarter, my nutrition a whole lot better, and my mental approach very different.
Competing now is all about excelling for Me, being the best that I can be. I’m not trying to beat anyone other than the monkey that sits on my shoulder and tells me I’m flagging, in pain or not going to make it. I’m returning to racing amongst people I don’t know, and that don’t know me. It’s a very strange and welcoming place to be.
My husband, Warren, has been training me. His knowledge of IM is well rehearsed as he’s been through a few, and I respect his achievements hugely. This time it’s his turn to be on the supporting sidelines on race day. While he can prepare me physically, only I can prepare myself mentally.
Mental toughness is something that your either born with or is ingrained into you through experience. The importance of training alone is huge, after all on race day it will be you alone on the swim, bike and run. You’d better get to love your own company and be able to put that monkey back in it’s cage when it rears it’s furry head! The strength you gain from pushing yourself out there when you’d much rather stay in bed, is massive and shouldn’t be under estimated.
Training has seen me riding, running and swimming alone. I’ve been racing during my training to get me ready to be surrounded by others in the red mist of competition. Also, in my 3 year break from triathlon, I’ve been taking part in other long distance events that have helped massively in pushing through the various barriers you come up against mentally and physically when you race.
I’ve recently been reading a book that I hope will tick the final boxes left in my mental prep. Spirit of The Dancing Warrior by Jerry Lynch and Chungliang Al Huang, is an amazing book that I think is relevant to all aspects of goal setting not only one of a sporting kind.
Mental resolve is what it takes to achieve ANY goal be it sport, weightloss, quiting smoking or even taking a risk on a new career. The temptations and excuses are everywhere.
I recommend it to anyone taking on a challenge in the next 12 months and wish you luck with every goal you set yourself in 2011.
– Sarah Anne
(Sarah Anne completed her first Ironman distance triathlon in March 2011 in New Zealand. She finish the race in 11hrs 29minutes with a smile on her face and a huge sense of accomplishment. All the smart training paid off on race day with an effortless and enjoyable race, she loved every minute of it!)