|The view outside my desk window|
What I have come to realize is that I have not mentally prepared for my own training as well as I should. Notice the 3 levels of mental training below:
Level 1 - People Skills, Goals & Commitment, Motivation, and Attitude
Level 2 - Mental Imagery & Self Talk
Level 3 - Concentration, Managing Emotions, Managing Anxiety
I've got the first level 90% down pat...the other two need work. It's always easier to train others than to stick to my own plan.
It's so easy to track and quantify our physical improvements by looking at our times or feeling our strength and skill level improving. Measuring our mental strength is a different beast. How do we track how well our concentration and self talk is from one day to the next? We all know that any sport requires mental toughness...those last miles on the road or in the pool are difficult at the best of times. What happens when things don't go our way? I learned a while ago to always have a plan A, B, and C when racing.
Plan A - things are going perfect...the weather, the music, the crowds, and all the stars align to deliver the best situation.
Plan B - okay...so the weather isn't perfect...but things are good
Plan C - epic fail - but I'm going to finish and be proud!
Mental training is not a substitute for practive and other training, it is meant to be supplemental. However, how many of us spend just as much time mentally preparing for our races and competitions as we do the physical aspect? Not I! And I know I'm not an elite athlete, and far from it, but mental strength helps us in all facits of life, not just in our races. It's time to start working on my self talk, concentration, and mental imagery.