Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mental Game

I am learning very quick that this triathlon thing is a mental game. I have known for a long time that most things in life have a very large aspect of mental training. Take school for example, we all know that you must use your brain power to succeed in school, but I think it's more than mental ability. Most people can pass through high school and college based on their mental ability. The difference between a college graduate and a high school graduate is their mental toughness or desire to finish. Same goes for someone with a graduate degree versus a bachelors degree. A professor of mine once told me that my degree only meant two things, that I was willing to finish something that I started AND that I was trainable.

Don't get me wrong, each level of education you go through takes a certain amount of mental ability, but I think the bigger factor is mental toughness.

The same can be said about sports. Almost anyone can play youth sports. Then comes high school sports where many people stop and even more drop off at college sports. Now it takes a certain amount of God given talent to make it from high school to college, especially at a big name school. However how many athletes do you see in football, baseball, etc that have the talent but cant survive in college sports, let alone the rigors of professional sports. This is where mental toughness kicks in. Can they OR you take the daily grind of being an athlete at an elite level?

Where am I going with this?

Well if you are a triathlon athlete you know exactly where I am going. To be a part of triathlon you need the metal toughness I am referring to. The daily training and nutrition is a full time job let alone the fact that almost all triathletes have full time jobs and families as well!

I am now fully starting to understand what it takes to compete in the world of triathlons. It takes determination, dedication, discipline and mental toughness.....DDDMT? (Trying to get a good acronym here, maybe change a few words). The first three I can manage and make work, but how do you train your mind to be tough and take it to the next level to become a triathlete?


  1. Honestly, I think the mental aspect of the training is the hardest part. Sure the workouts hurt, but pain goes away. Going into it knowing that it's going to hurt... and doing it anyway? That's toughness. Some people swear by mantras. Others have a favorite quote. Others reward themselves with new gear. Whatever works for you is great. You just have to figure out what it is.

  2. Theia's right. And you know it yourself. To train like you need to, you know pain is just waiting to strike. Understand that and embrace it. Don't let it surprise you.

    But the biggest piece of advice to give is "take it at your own pace." Don't expect to go out for a 3 hour bike ride at a 22mph pace on your first day. Ride out for fun on a safe path and time it, but have fun; that'll be your mark. Next time try to do it faster. Chunk little pieces of the mountain away at a time. Before you know it, you'll be enduring more pain than your body knew existed and you won't even realize it.

    Rule #1 though - have fun! Lost motivation ruins all previous progress.

    I'm happy you found my blog, and I yours. If you ever want to bounce any training, triathlon, or just random question off me, PLEASE feel free!


  3. First, thanks for the comment on my blog! :)

    I'm with the other two - the mental side of triathlon is DEFINITELY the hardest part. And no matter how long you train and race, you'll always be fighting it to some degree. I think the best thing you can do it remind yourself why you are racing and training, and keep the sport about you. It's easy to get caught up in what other people are doing, wearing, using, racing, etc. Triathletes are a very welcoming group, but it's a very individual sport.

    If you ever have any questions, let me know. Obviously no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've fought the mental side and the training side for a few years now! :)