So, I’m sitting here on a Monday as I always do, working through training logs, email updates, and programming training for the folks I have the extreme pleasure and honor to coach.

You know, I’ve always been known as a pretty intense guy. Serious. You know, an “achiever.” Music, training and racing, and even parenting, it didn’t matter.  

The way I’m wired certainly has contributed to some of my success and achievements. Well you know what they say about our greatest strengths also being our greatest weaknesses?  Ha! 🙂

Are you the same way, *|FNAME|*?

In my early days of running, I was only concerned about speed and endurance, getting faster, and making sure I did the work to be ready for the next race.  When I moved into triathlon with the goal of getting to Kona, I took that serious approach to a new level of commitment.

Well, as I sit here right now…all I can say is, forgive me my mistakes. 

The rather funny thing is (yes, I AM chuckling to myself right now!), I’ve found (not coincidently) that most of the folks I work with are the same way.  Serious, hard on themselves. I call some of them members of the “self-berating” club.  While I understand and admire their determination, I sometimes feel sorry for them and wish I could change them

As goal oriented athletes, we all go through many transitions – transitions that in so many ways, mimic those larger changes that happen to us in a lifetime.  

Regardless of who you are, whether you’re getting ready for an important race and chasing an age-group win or PR, or on the flip side, coming back after a long period of inactivity or injury, one thing is for sure…

….if you don’t take the time to truly enjoy every step of this journey you’re on and savor each moment for what it is, a gift, then you will miss out on the most important things

…how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown, how much better you are now than you were at one time, and how rich your life is now because of your goals, your commitment and your support group of loved ones, who help you make it all happen.   

It’s about balance: are you striking it? 
Has anyone ever said to you (or have you said to them), “have fun,” at the starting line of a hard or long race? Think about that: “Have fun!”  It doesn’t make any sense, does it? How is pushing yourself to extreme levels of fatigue and suffering in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable, “fun?”    

Something to think about…

Yes, *|FNAME|*, you have to train “hard.”  You need to execute and sacrifice and continue to learn. You need to get up and out of bed some days of the week, even when every fiber of your body is telling you to ignore the alarm. Yes, you need to persist through the (seemingly endless) periods of fatigue that set in during peak training.

But you also need to sleep in once in a while – savor and appreciate how fortunate you are to be doing this, and remember every day, just how far you’ve come!
Don’t take your goals or yourself so seriously.  Take nothing for granted and don’t act (or talk to yourself) like this amazing adventure of life and training is guaranteed, because as you know, it isn’t.
Every single training session, every day and every race, is a new beginning – a new starting line. Treat them that way. Calm yourself. Take a deep breath. Smile. Be patient and compassionate with yourself.  You are amazing. 🙂
And heck, you know…while I’m at it, I might as well leave you with a few other recommendations (all related): 
  • Eat real food (not something that says “energy” on the package).
  • Sleep naked.
  • Honor and respect your body. Train that way.
  • Simplify everything.  (Seriously, simplify!)
  • Have lots of, you know… 🙂
  • Start slow, finish strong.
  • Get an outdoor shower and use it regardless of the weather.  🙂
  • Have dessert (ideally fruit or whatever makes you smile!).
  • Get off the road and into the woods. (Use Oil of Rosemary to ward off the ticks).

When race day comes, prepare as best you can and just do the best you can. 

No matter what happens or what the finish line clock says, if you smile throughout and remember to be grateful for the opportunity, you’ll finish feeling better about yourself and ready to look forward to the next adventure, the next challenge.  

If it didn’t go as well as you hoped, no worries!  The next race will be here soon!  And everyone, including me, will still be here with our love, gratitude, respect, support and admiration.  Onward and upward! 

To your success,
~Coach Al