Tag Archives: motivation

Dealing With F’N DNF

pool

If you race long enough, you will certainly meet up with the dreaded DNF. (Did Not Finish) It’s the 800 pound elephant in the room, that no one wants to talk about. DNFing can cause a range of emotions from embarrassment to being just plain pissed off. I just put in X amount of time training, and $$$ amount of money to race, and this is my result. Argghh.

At the very least you will be frustrated, and rightly so. Reasons for DNF can be anything, an injury, adverse conditions, or just a really crappy day. Whatever the reason may be, as an athlete you need to deal with that race, and move on. For most of us one bad race will not define you, or your athletic career. Learning to deal with the disappointment from a DNF is a skill that requires mental toughness.

Here’s some suggestions for dealing with DNF:

Limit the pity party

Your friends, families, and training partners won’t think less of you for a DNF. Most of us over inflate the importance of our athletic goals in our mind. Take a couple of days to process your thoughts, and then just move on. You only get so many days on this planet, do you want to spend them pouting about some race? Be proud of the work you put in to make to the start line. Plus no one else wants to come to your pity party.

The best way to learn is to fail

When you were a toddler learning to to walk, did you parents let you fall down once, and then decide to not let you keep trying to learn to walk? Of course not, That’s crazy. You learned to walk by continually falling down and getting back up, until you figured it out.

The same is true for racing. You may not have hit your goal, but what did you learn along the way. Did you gain some course knowledge? Did you identify your weaknesses? Did you get a sense of the work you need to put in to reach your goal?

Don’t let the DNF be a total waste of time and energy. Figure out what you can do better, and crush your next race.

Winners don’t make excuses

There will be valid reasons why you had to DNF. Figure out how you can overcome those challenges, and succeed in your next race. Rationalizing your bad race with a bunch of excuses won’t help the situation, and is harmful to your mental toughness. Focus on the parts of the race that went well, and the things you can improve.

“Failure is just a lesson, until you make an excuse” – Jordan

Get back on the horse

If you’re not injured, then find another race to jump in. Don’t waste all of your fitness on that DNF. Find a race that looks like fun, and focus on that. Shift that frustration to motivation for your next race.

I’m sure you won’t have a DNF, but if you do, I hope these tips help out.

 

 

 

 

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Know Your Limits, Then Crush Them

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” A goal is a dream with a deadline” – Napoleon Hill

This post is not meant to be some self help guru speak about goal setting and changing your life. It is meant to be a practical look at setting big goals, and the power and momentum that comes with them.

Big goals motivate and inspire us and the people around us. Think of a time when you set a goal that you had no idea that you could reach. The bar is set different for everyone. Your goal could be to run across the country, or finish a 10K. Whatever that goal is it needs to stretch the limits of your perceived abilities. (aka step out of your comfort zone. That term is completely over used.)

Here’s my best advice for planning and achieving big goals.

Start with why.

When you pick your big goal, ask yourself. “Why am I doing this?”

Are you testing your limits?

Do you think it would be cool?

No matter the reason, be sure it is a reason that means something to you personally. This is intrinsic motivation, and the most powerful form of motivation. Outside motivation is short lived and weak.  Thrill of posting your accomplishment to social media will last a day or so. The feeling from accomplishing something personally important to you will last forever.

Know your limits, then crush them

Achieving big goals takes time, and normally more time than you think. When setting a big goal, assess where you are currently. Then determine how much progress you need to make, and the time it will take to get there. Be self aware, and realistic with your time frame. It’s a balancing act of picking a goal that challenges you, but doesn’t set you up to burn out. The best goals are ones that are slightly out of reach.

If you want a shortcut to your goal. Talk with people that have already achieved your goal. Get their feedback about your time frame, and current fitness. Find out what worked for them and what did not. You can use their experience to accelerate your own progress. Everyone progresses at different paces, but the quickest way to meet your goals is hard work and smart training.

Celebrate along the way

Your big goal make take months or years to accomplish. Set up milestones along the way to measure progress and celebrate. These smaller goals will keep you more focused, and motivated along the way.

Many people training for their first marathon have never run more than a half marathon before. As the plan progresses they will be running their longest run ever each week. Every time they hit a new long distance they should celebrate, and know they hit a new milestone toward their goal.

Enjoy the process

Life is short and time is precious. Spend your time pursuing something you enjoy. The goal is just the finish line, and a small part of the process.

Let’s take the marathon example again. Your goal is to finish a marathon. Where’s the start line? The start line is when you make it your goal and start training. The race is 26.2 miles, but your will train many more miles than that. You better enjoy running, or this will be a long miserable process.

It’s only a failure when you give up

“A failure is only a lesson, until you make an excuse.” – M. Jordan

If you are truly pushing your limits, you will encounter bumps in the road. There are two paths you can take accept defeat or learn from it. Your goal is always in reach if you believe it. History is full of examples, Lincoln, Edison, and Col. Sanders. If you have a moment, look up their stories. They had unbelievable persistence in the face of failure.

When we fail our minds will start to pay tricks with our motivation. That crack in the armor will let doubts creep in. We then rationalize these doubts, and start to talk ourselves out of our goal. These rationalizations are excuses, and excuses are weak. Excuses will sabotage all of the progress you made already.

My best strategy to combat failure and excuses is to decide I will meet me goal at the start of the process. Once you make up your mind, doubts won’t derail you. You are already know the outcome, you just need to put in the work.  Your results may not come on your original time frame, but with persistence they will come.

 

 

 

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Steel Bike Declan

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Declan Kenny:

getting-medal

This is me getting my medal as I crossed the line for my first half ronman, the ‘Ireman Triathlon’ in Northern Ireland, 27 Sept 2015.

Read more about Declan’s first HIM on his blog: http://unironedman.com/

If you are a new or beginner triathlete and would be interested in coaching, please email me at firsttimetri+coaching@gmail.com.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

Motivation Monday – Get good at having fun

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

“Never, ever underestimate the power of having fun” – Randy Pausch

This quote is from Randy Pausch’s last lecture. This lecture is details how his childhood dreams would shape his life. If you haven’t seen it before carve out an hour and check it out. It will change your perspective.

If you want to really improve your training and race times, get good at having fun. As an endurance athlete, progress comes from dedicated practice over a long time. Dedication is way easier to maintain when you are having a great time. Being able to train and race is a gift, not punishment for your body. Motivation will wax and wane, but you should always enjoy your activity.

It’s easy to start treating your training as a second or third job. Workouts are scheduled for weeks out, and certain paces must be maintained. This mundane day to day training can become a grind and suck out all of the fun.

Here’s a few suggestions for adding some fun into your training:

  • Find a soft grass field, and do some barefoot sprints.
  • Get a group ride together and try a brand new route.
  • Race you friends for fast 50m in the pool.
  • Sign up for a short race, and let it rip.

The saying is “Love your work, and you will never work a day in your life”. Try to apply that same principle to your training, and see massive improvement.

Motivation Monday – The key to long term results

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

“Long term consistency trumps short term intensity” – Bruce Lee

I’ve been dealing with some sub par results lately. I was starting to question why I race and train so hard, and don’t always get the results I want. Paging Shawn, pity party table for one. Then I took a step back and looked over a longer time frame. I have been consistently improving year to year. By training purposefully and consistently, I have continued to improve. There have been peaks and valleys, but over all my times have improved. For me the key to improvement is to train consistently, and eventually I will reach my goal. When I start to have doubts because of recent results, I need to step back and look at the long term trend.

Below is a video from six time IM world champ Mark Allen. Mark dnf’d his first IM Kona, and one second place finish sent him to the hospital. In all, it took time seven attempts to win his first IM world championship. Mark is a true example of consistent training and improvement.

Do you have along term goal right now, that is not going as planned? Do you want to quit? Or do you keep taking step forward with consistency until you get where you want to go?

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – First Time Triathlete Michelle

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Michelle Carroll, (Bolton, Lancashire)

 

Michelle Caroll FTT

Michelle:

Despite the elements being against me, on Sunday, I competed in my very first triathlon! With the rain and wind at their best, I tackled the hills of Rossendale to successfully complete a 400m swim, a 14 mile bike ride and a 5km run! Despite all my worries, I enjoyed almost every minute of it and now I have definitely got the triathlon ‘bug’. If anyone ever thinks they would like to compete in something like this but feels they couldn’t – go for it!! Honestly, I felt exactly the same, but it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. I don’t really swim and I had to borrow a bike as the nearest I’ve ever got to bike riding is doing a spin class at the gym, but it was all worth it!!

Great work Michelle! Way to preserve through the conditions and finish. You didn’t let not having a bike hold you back and you borrowed one. That is a great idea for first timers. Don’t throw down a bunch of cash on a bike. Borrow a bike and see how you like the sport.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

 

Monday Motivation – True measure of excellence

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Continuous effort not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential. – Churchill

How do you feel when you finish a race or workout, and know you have given it your 100% effort? Fanastic, most likely. How about when you miss a goal time by a few minutes? Probably not so good. We look for ways we could have gone a bit faster, and have some regrets. If you gave that race your 100% effort, then you have no doubts or regrets. It was the best effort you give on that particular day.

The universal is always placing obstacles between us and our goals. In triathlon, it could be wind, rain, heat, illness, flats, insects, flooded roads, inconsiderate drivers, inconsiderate racers, overzealous moto refs, pot holes the size of a trash can or any host of issues. (Sorry for the long list, I was listing things that the universe has thrown at me). These forces are beyond our control, and conspire to take away our PR. When the race gets difficult the only thing we can control is our effort. When you cross the finish, forget the clock, and know you pushed as hard as possible. Only you know, if you gave 100%, don’t cheat yourself.

Motivation Monday – Excuses the Enemy of Excellence

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Excuses

This sounds like one of those hard core quotes you see with some huge dude flexing in the background. If you stop and think about how we use excuses, the quote rings true. We will not accomplish anything meaningful or difficult by using excuses. Excuses are how we trick ourselves into doing the easy thing, instead of taking the necessary steps toward our goal. A life of progress and propose is not filled with excuses.

I’m certainly not immune to making excuses. After I make an excuse, I rarely feel good about it, but I do it anyway. I see excuses like an ice cream sundae to someone on a diet. If they have that sundae, it will make them feel pleasure now, but it is in direct conflict with the goal of losing weight. I only mention this because I love ice cream, and have faced this dilemma myself. The mind is always going to seek pleasure, and avoid pain. If we want to make meaningful progress toward your goal, we need to put more pleasure in seeking your ultimate goal, that in the easy path offered now.

Excuses slow the learning process of excellence. We will all fail at something along our path. Failure is a lesson, until you make an excuse. The excuse will get you off the hook in the short term, but if the problem isn’t corrected, the same mistake will be made again.

Excuses lead to procrastination. We make excuses instead of doing what we really want in life. I’ll take on that big goal, after I have more time, money, experience. The problem is that time, money, experience, may never come. The enemy of excuse is action. Instead of making an excuse, take the next step toward your goal. It doesn’t matter how small the step, just make progress. When we put together enough of these small steps, excellence will be on the horizon.

What excuses can you overcome, and take that next step forward?

Do it today, and see how it feels to move toward excellence.

Monday Motivation – Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Exhausted runner

“From great struggle comes great reward”

When was the last time to said to yourself, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”? How did you feel as you were saying it? Did you have a smile on your face? Most of those super hard things we encounter are not that difficult, it just seemed impossible before you began. It was so difficult because your inner voice was convincing you, it was beyond your capabilities. Keep pushing the limit of what is your “hardest thing”, and you will grow as a person immensely.

Keep the measure of your hardest thing relative your your own capabilities and progress. Don’t get wrapped up in comparing yourself with the achievement of others. We all have to set the bar for ourselves. Each person is just in a different place on the path.  Keep making forward progress on your own path, and keep reaching for that next hardest thing.

What is your next hardest thing?

Race your first Triathlon :)?

Run a PR 5k?

Give a speech?

Whatever it is, put in your full effort, and know you are making a break through.

Motivation Monday – Hardest part of a workout

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Opened door

Last Sunday I had my last long run before the marathon. The schedule called for a 20 mile run with the last 10 miles at race pace. It’s a long workout, and I wanted to get done early, so I set my alarm for 5:00. I get up and dressed no problem. Then, as I am getting ready to leave my mind starts making excuses not to do the workout. I’m thinking, its too cold 22F, maybe I should only do 16, I could go later. After 15 minutes of whining and stalling, I finally get out the door. Once I am running I feel great. It was one of my best runs in this training cycle.

I know it sounds cliche, but getting out the door or showing up is the hardest part of working out. It’s a constant battle with your inner laziness to get moving. When you win the battle you feel great. The more times you don’t give in to the voice telling you to stay home, the more power you have to make progress.

Here a couple of tips to making showing up easier:

1. If you doing an early morning workout, lay out your clothes the night before.

2. Find a workout friend. You are way less likely to skip the workout, if someone else is counting on you to show up.

3. If you don’t feel like running, just go and run one mile. After a mile, if you still feel like stopping, quit. If not, finish out your workout.

4. Have a plan B. If you plan to run in the morning, but you wake up  to a monsoon. Have an alternate plan to run on a treadmill, or do some cross training.

Do you have any tips that make getting out the door easier? Please share in the comments.