Developing unshakeable self-belief is so important as an athlete. If everyone has trained the same amount of hours and done similar preparation, the one with the most confidence,the greatest self belief will win every time.
Learn to use this as one of your weapons, develop it every day. Sharpen your mental toolbox and it will serve you well when others give up or give in, you will keep going relentless in your pursuit of your goal.
How many times have you not felt like training and let yourself off the hook?
Sure a training plan sounds easy at the beginning of the season-we hear it all the time:
- Plan your season goals
- Break it down into smaller goals
- Write our your training schedule to reach that goal
- Wake up and execute what is on your schedule.
Could not be easier! But is it?
Standard training plans all lack the information on how to keep going when the chips are down! There are countless articles on how to train for a triathlon. Most of them focus on the “doing”: Swim, bike and run, duration, mechanics and speed.
There is not much discussion of developing mental strength and how to develop incredible self-belief. This is a skill that can be practiced, and can be learnt. Developing a superhuman self-belief is one the the most important skills you should learn as a triathlete.
When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe- you will be successful!
Your attitude, your will and your inner conversation rule everything.
The reason most athletes give up the sport or do not perform at their best is due to listening to their inner voice and their internal doubts. Being mentally weak. Succumbing to the masses sitting in the pub and lying on the sofa.
But we all know whilst this may be enjoyable in the short term, it only leads to incredible dissatisfaction in the long term.
That horrible feeling of looking back over your year and realising you did not achieve your goals, in fact you did not achieve much of anything. Never allow this to happen to you. The Freedom Journal is a great way to break your 100 day goals down into 10 x 10 days “sprints” which is a great way to chunk it down and manage progress. This process will work for business goals, personal goals or athletic goals. It helps you through the process of setting SMART goals: Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-Bound. This process helps keep you accountable to yourself so you do not lose momentum after the initial motivation has worn off.
Where Do I Get Self-Belief?
Make sure you are practising self-belief and developing mental toughness every day.
It needs to be practiced. It is a skill that can be learned. Attitude and self-belief control everything we do.
The ability to overcome barriers, obstacles and challenges comes through developing mental resilience and not caving in at the slightest challenge. A program like Renegade Triathlon Psychology guides you through each stage step-by step and is worth every penny. It can be very difficult to do by yourself as the mind wanders so easily and we never know if we are “doing it right”.
Say NO to de-railment by others
We all know that life has a habit of de-railing our plans if we let it!
Circumstances will never be perfect. There will never be a time in your life where you feel now is the perfect time, you feel in the best shape of your life and you have everyone around you to cheer you on.
No- It is more likely that you will always have a thousands commitments which you have to juggle plus fit in your training.
It is more likely that some of your friends and family will be trying to pull you back to the sofa, to the fast food place, to the extra pint of beer or glass of wine that you really don’t need.
It is more likely that your boss or your business will always be piling more stuff on you to do “urgently”.
Friends have been known to say this –of course they do it with your best interests in mind:
“C’mon mate, you train all the time- it won’t hurt to skip one training session…”
Or sometimes it may even be your training mates:
“I know a tough hill session is on the program today but how about we just do a zone 2 steady state ride…”
Sometimes your friends or family either unconsciously or consciously put doubts in your mind about your ability.
“Oh that sounds hard- do you really think you can do it?”
“But you were never really sporty as a kid!”
Maybe your success, your achievements and your incredible physique is making them look bad.
Maybe they want you to join in their mid-section bulge. Maybe they don’t want you to look better at 40 than you did at 20.
Maybe they want you to join them in whining about a hangover from too many drinks on Friday night instead of celebrating that you were up at 5am on a Saturday morning did a 50 mile tough bike ride and feel fantastic.
Excuses and mediocrity will destroy your goals and dreams.
Do not allow this to happen!
Say NO to de-railment by your inner voice
Do not allow lack of focus on your goal destroy your dreams. Do not listen to that inner voice of doubt and self-sabotage. Ignore that voice in your head saying you “cant get to the pool, you’ve got that important meeting today”
Or you have a sniffle… “it would not be wise to go out running today” (which may or may not be true). Maybe you could do a core workout instead?
It is easy to be full of good intentions at the start of the season but what happens when you let yourself off training for a couple of days as you “did not feel like it”
This means then you end up overtraining to get the mileage done. This means you may get injured.
This means you may have to pull out of the race
This means you end up sitting on the sofa binge-watching Netflix.
Sure you need to be on the look out for illness or injury and adjust your training to be respectful of that.
But most people completely drop the ball. If you have an Achilles twinge, it is wise to have 3-4 days off running. But do not stop training completely.
Instead, increase your swimming, jump on the bike, go to the gym and do your strength training and core workouts.
At all times be moving closer towards to goal. Do not get de-railed.
“I can’t train because I have a sore Achilles”
“I am not running at the moment because I have a sore Achilles so I am increasing my swimming drill sessions and focusing on my core workouts and flexibility work. If the pain is not gone in a week I will grab a physical therapist appointment to help it recover quicker.”
Champions Announce Bold Goals
You never heard people who achieve greatness whining and making excuses. Alexander The Great was never heard to be whining about marching the elephants over the Pyrenees with little food in the middle of winter. Steve Jobs continued to have unwavering focus on his vision of Apple ‘s success (despite his well documented challenges) until it became a reality.
Public accountability is a fantastic (but scary) tool which champions use to make themselves do great things.
Once you announce to your family, your office and your friends that you will win the IM70.3, it tends to focus the brain.(Incidentally, if you want some guidance on training for a 70.3 grab my latest book. Winning at 70.3: How To Dominate the Middle Distance
In many sports, the competitor announces to the media that they “know they will win” the upcoming tournament or race. This provides incredible motivation to train harder than ever as they have made their goals public. They do not wish to look foolish. Chris McCormack did it all the time. He was a master at goading the media and goading his competitors with bold statements. He had total self belief. The media sometimes told him he was delusional, that his career was over and that he would never make it. But this just gave him more fuel to prove everyone wrong. And he kept winning against the odds.
“I’ve been calling out for 12 months how I was going to win the race and everyone said the guy is delusional, can’t happen.” Chris McCormack. Here is a great article from First off the Bike interviewing Chris.
Muhammad Ali was also a master of this. He said massive self belief statements all the time and believed them!.
“I am the greatest”
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
“My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.”
Bill Gates announced in the 1990s when no one had a computer, that he would put a PC in every household. Now it seems obvious, But at the time, no one could see why they would need a computer in their house!
Massive self-belief statements. Of course then they had to go and work hard and deliver massive results.
Be bold. Be brave. Make yourself accountable.
Winners are not timid with small goals.
Mental strength and unshakeable self-belief must be practised
You are not born with mental toughness. You decide to develop it.
Accept in advance that there will be tough times and do it anyway.
You will have days where you want to skip training- but you don’t!
You will have days where it is inconvenient to take your workout gear to work and train at lunchtime.
You will have days where you want to slob on the sofa instead of doing your 1-hour hilly turbo session.
You will have to decide whether to you listen to the excuses in your head or focus on your dream, your goal.
Spend 5 minutes a day focused on your goal. Visualise yourself crossing the finish line and imagine how good that will feel. Visualise your friends and family patting you on the back and looking at you in admiration. Feel how proud you will be of yourself that you actually did it.
“There will be haters, there will be doubters, there will be non-believers, and then there will be you proving them wrong.”
Do this every day.
Believe it. Stand with powerful posture. Take deep breaths. Have a smile on your face and a knowing look. Think about your goal as you are training. Movement creates power. Taking action creates power. Try to internalise this feeling. Do it so many times you believe. Repetition is key. It works. This is what separates consistent champions from the “very good”.
Write your goal down every day.
There is something powerful about the act of writing.
Keep doing this until it is a reality.
This internal voice in your head tempting to you to get off track never actually goes away. Develop a ritual that allows you to acknowledge it then banishes it from your mind immediately. Never succumb to the excuses, to the average or to the mediocre. Never succumb to the boredom of having no goals and achieving nothing.
Nothing is ever achieved in a comfort zone. Yes it might be painful, yes it might be difficult. Do it anyway.
Plan ahead, push to your limits and keep going. Champions do not allow what is going on around them to distract them from their goal. They are consistent. They work the hardest, they show grit, determination and composure consistently even when chaos is all around and it looks like the opposition are drawing ahead. They dig deeper.
You will be rewarded a thousand-fold by experiencing incredible exhilaration on the finish line, developing self pride and reinforcing your self belief. You will grow as person and as an athlete.
Become a Powerful Force
Be the person who says something, then goes and does it without excuses and without complaint.
Make it happen.
Do not succumb to other people’s norms of what you can achieve.
Do not let people put you in a box of “you can’t do that because…
- You are over 40”
- You have 4 kids”
- You broke your leg when you were 10”
Play to your own rules.
You will respect yourself more.
Other people will respect you more.
Put yourself in a powerful emotional state of self-belief
The emotional state you are in when you try to summon super human levels of self-belief is critical.
If you are scared, afraid or very nervous, it is difficult to feel powerful and in control.
Confident consistent champions summon this supreme self-belief every day and especially on race day.
Use imagination! You must believe things how you want them to be rather than how they are. Walk how you would walk if you truly believed you will win. Talk how you would talk as though you knew you will win. Act with total certainty.
Focus only your goal and on what you want, NOT what you are afraid of.
Visualize yourself crossing the finish every day to great applause. Visualize yourself over taking your closest rival.
There are countless stories of supreme athletes who were told by their high school coach to give up, that they would never amount to anything, that they were ordinary. Instead they went out to prove them wrong and focused on what they wanted and made it happen. Unshakeable self-belief. Never listen to doubters (especially if they have never achieved anything in their own life).
Laser Like Focus
Netflix is awesome but watch it while you are on the turbo…not while you SHOULD be on the turbo. Yes everyone CAN do a triathlon or a marathon or create a business but not everyone does. The difference in most cases is the ability to apply laser like focus to your goal and banish distractions. It is not easy- but it is simple.
People with one leg, no arms, blind, deaf or with cerebral palsy train for and complete triathlons. If they can do it, how much easier is it for most of us? I am always so impressed with the para-olympians. You think getting to the pool is tough before work? Imagine the logistics of getting there twice a day in a wheelchair?
Total respect- it just blows my mind.
Dream big. Write your goals down and announce them to the world.
Spend 5 minutes every day focusing and visualising you achieving your goal. Tell yourself you are great, that nothing stops you, practice laser like focus.
Remember what you have already achieved and accept that challenges will come to test you along the way.Welcome these as they will cause most people to give up. Stay focused-and keep going.
Nothing is achieved by looking for the easy options.
Do what needs to be done every day.
And the best thing about Netflix- you never miss a show. It is always there (ready for your next turbo session).
Or to binge watch the night after your triathlon race as you are polishing your gold medal!!!
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