Damn, that shit actually works...I thought to myself as I stated at the computer screen mulling over the data from the last 4 weeks of training.
I’ve just completed my first four week block of triathlon training. I have hesitated to call it “triathlon training” because I wouldn’t want to explain later what happened if that shit blew up in my face.
When I started, I told my strength coach Mitch that I was just getting invested in the process and not worrying about the overall plan details. At first I meant it to be kind of my failsafe in case I failed, but then I really decided to go for it.
He’s a big fan of process over progress, as am I in coaching my clients. He details it in about a million posts like this one, which I have to read often when I start to hyperventilate about my own goals. But as a coach and an athlete, it’s sometimes hard not to let your ego creep in. So this time, I really let myself feel like a beginner. There were lots of weak spots in my game to help me create that assumption- I hadn’t really been doing much cardio, and I hadn’t been running at all. So it was easy to be really gentle on myself as I ramped up training.
What was harder was living with the fact that I would only be able to do so much. I had a training plan- one that I wrote to begin in January- that had set me on the path to competing in Triathlon Nationals in Omaha in August- that never got started. Because #life. Probably not worth detailing, but suffice to say that moving to a new state +single parenting while Mr. Prepared worked in a new location+closing a business = didn’t happen.
So my current plan is 16 weeks instead of 8 months, and I’m just sticking around Chicago racing, not headed to Omaha. That’s what feels doable, although my ego keeps telling me it’s not enough time anyways. I keep telling my ego to STFU. I’m winning the war, but occasionally it wins battles. Like when I pinned myself trying to get a new 5 rep max on my bench press last week. Well played, ego, well played.
Being invested in the process has given me a lot of tangible wins. First off, I am mostly enjoying training. I mean I love the biking, swimming and lifting parts of training. Running and I have that kind of dysfunctional, codependent relationship that great melodramas are made from. 😉
Also, I’ve grown personally from the training I’m doing. I have been doing a really good job moving away from being overwhelmed by the plan laid out in front of me by getting back to the process and the training task for that day or even that moment. I have lots of joyful moments in appreciating what my body is able to do. This practice helps me stop becoming overwhelmed in other areas of life, which is easy to do when you’ve moved your family to a new place. My ability to live with presence has never felt so strong.
In the process, I have seen progress. Lots of it. By treating myself like a beginner, I’m able to notice all these progress bits. It helps to do things like sit with the data, or at least be mindful of splits, paces, and distances. And while data and plans are nice, being immersed in the process is infinitely more joyful and will continue to motivate me a whole lot more than a spreadsheet of numbers.