Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pros Have It Easy

I am a sucker for inspiration. I will take it anywhere I can get it. Nike commercials. Crowds at races. Oprah. Blogs. My dog licking my sweaty leg (inspiration for a shower), or smelling my dirty underclothes (inspiration for laundry).

That is why I am eating up this book and yes that is me on the cover if I had a penis.

P1090733

Sure, it is mostly a book about triathlon training, but it is SO much more.

The first part is devoted to the mental aspect of endurance sports. Basically if your mental state is in the toilet, so is your performance. But, you all knew that, and so did I. However, it’s one thing to know it and another thing to KNOW it, as in do whatever you can do to build yourself up mentally for your next event. And, to take care of yourself and value rest and recovery.

Some gems I’ve highlighted along the way:

  • Most of us go through life never coming close to our limits and living only on wishes. Wishes are important; they’re the start of great feats. Wishes grow into dreams when you are able to mentally “see” yourself accomplish the wish. Dreams turn into goals when a plan for attaining them is defined.

    I’m a huge believer in the FACT that we can do WAY more than we think we can. Only we impose limits on ourselves.


  • What you believe, you will achieve

    I like this because it is true and it rhymes and  it is easy to remember.


  • I thought my success depended on training as much as possible. That approach led to frequent injury, overtraining, illness and burnout. It took me many years to figure out what I should be doing – only the training that was necessary to achieve my goals.

    I’m not going to admit how much I probably need this lesson. For a type-A’er like me, “more is more” all the time. I have to constantly teach myself when to say when. It bites me in the ass. And the hip. And once in my foot.

  • Professional athletes typically sleep ten to twelve hours a day, breaking this down into eight to ten hours a night with one or two daily naps. You may not be a pro or have time for naps, but the more training volume and intensity you do, the more rest you need.

    Damn pros. WTH?

  • Aim to finish workouts feeling as though you could have done more. The time to abandon a workout is when it is perceived as very hard, your speed has decreased noticeably or your technique has changed.

    So I guess that time I threw up in my mouth half way into my run I should have jumped ship? I’m glad they didn’t say stop when you have a small squirt in your shorts or I would never get any workouts in.

The best thing so far is that this book challenges the athlete to find where they are lacking mentally. You do this through a mental skills profile quiz. I have learned that while I am very strong in the areas of focus and motivation, I need to work on my confidence, thought habits and visualization techniques.

One area I really suck at is that I am such a pessimist. One thing goes wrong be it getting my period, the weather or forgetting my Garmin and I have a hard time remaining positive. I do this in every aspect of my life. I’m working on it.

Here is the Mental Skills Profile to give you an idea of what’s involved. Go HERE to submit on line and see your scores and what you need to work on.

mental skills profile

You’re welcome for being the one to take responsibility for your mental strength.

In what ways could you be stronger mentally?

SUAR

43 comments:

  1. ha ha, my poor husband sleeps maybe 7 hours. Master swim at 5am. Maybe someday he'll get to sleep that much.......retirement?

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  2. I'm thinking of my first Tri so I'm also thinking that I need another book (not really but I have a book problem) so I will have to put this one on my list. I love the quote about when to abandon a workout. I've really had to step back from my training the past few days because of feeling really tired and not being able to hit my goal times in workouts. You'll have to check out my the giveaway on my blog since you're training for this triathlon now...unlike me, you can wear a tri shirt without being a poser. :)

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  3. I am so glad that I can now justify my afternoon nap!

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  4. According to the test I need more motivation, confidence and focus. Can't disagree there. I guess half training this summer will be the time to work on that. Maybe I'll be over this last full by the time I do another one next year. :)

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  5. LMAO! RTFO... "the coach says: you need to train harder!" And they put the exclamation point in there, too :P

    I'll let the night nanny know she needs to be more 'on it' with the kids in the middle of the night... and the chef and day nanny know that they are slacking at prime running time and I am doing too much of THEIR work! lol

    Sheesh... the pros have it so easy :)

    This was really cool to do. I think I want to get that book. Thanks for putting this out to us, SUAR.

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  6. I'm not sure but I *think* he just gave me permission to take a nap at work. I feel more positive already.

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  7. hmmm, according to that test im a mental basket case....but i already knew that. ive got some serious work to do!

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  8. I am always thinking 'more is more' too and that is why I end up injured!!! I NEED this book now! Looks amazing! It is amazing how the mental aspect of training is just as important. You can be completely physically ready for a race and then completely mess it up by thinking negatively about yourself!! I will be reading it!

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  9. Stronger mentally? Drink less beer. Guess I'll never be a pro...

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  10. oh great! i need to train harder, my husband and kids will be thrilled. I better get that book and fast....

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  11. This books looks fantastic, I need to get my hands on it!
    Clearly I need to devote more time to sleeping each day. Right.

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  12. Very interesting and the book looks big so it might be a workout just to read it. Going now to do the thing.

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  13. This is a fantastic post Beth! I am a HUGE believer in visualization and taking command of self talk. I feel like it is human nature to replay poor performances, when in actuality we need to be replaying the positive ones to reinforce great future performances!

    Also, I featured YOU on my ass today. ;)

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  14. Okay, it's official: I'm becoming a pro athlete, because 12 hours of sleep including 2 daily naps sounds epic.

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  15. according to that quizzy thing i'm lacking in everything? oops? i think i did it wrong.

    amen to too much training = injury. story of my life it seems.

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  16. I really want to get this book after reading this post. I have always struggled with the mental part of sports and I am also training for my first triathlon right now

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  17. It says I need to train harder. Bah! I already train too hard for this old bod. It's on the ragged edge of failure and collapse, and that's before I get started

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  18. hmmm I leave Body Flow class when we get to the meditation part...I guess I should not be surprised that my weakness is visualization...

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  19. OH!!! I will have to get this book!!

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  20. One of the points in one of the coaching seminars that I took regarding pro athletes is that the main difference between "them" and "us" is their ability to recover. The more I train, the more I agree with that.

    You may want to read "The perfect distance" focusing on 70.3 or "Going Long" focusing on 140.6. All good stuff.

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  21. 82 and 8 on that test. AKA fail. My mental game is my biggest weakness. Anything out there that can help me work on that is awesome. Keep the great info coming!

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  22. It's all well and good saying we need to sleep more, it's the practice that's hard.

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  23. Note to single kids out there: marrying a professional athlete sounds glamorous, but if they aren't training, they're napping on the couch.

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  24. I have this book on my coffee table right now. I find my mental game is much different depending on the sport. I have very high expectations for running events because I see it as being part of my identity (I am a 'Runner'), but see bike racing and triathlons as fun. I have to remind myself I do it all for FUN!

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  25. This book was sitting on my bedside table for months. But then i remembered i always watch tv in bed so i would never get to reading it. It is now on my dining room table but i have no idea why, since i eat dinner in the living room in front of the other tv. Thanks for reminding me that I really should read this book!

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  26. Hi SUAR, I keep getting stock in my Dashboard before the "S's" and haven't stopped by for a bit. The book reminds me of my favorite quote. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or can't, you are right".

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  27. First of all, I am buying the book! Second, i personally can relate to being mentally weak in my training. Take "finishing". I tend to half-ass things. I start out strong, then finish in a slow blur. I've been mentally training myself to finish tiny mountains. Dishes, cleaning the garage, or even that 12 mile run i promised myself. When i finish, even the smallest things, i feel confident, as if i can take on the world. We can't all be professional athletes, but we can sure feel like one!

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  28. great book. this winter i got to meet joe friel and attend one of his seminars , it is way more interesting coming from the horses mouth! joe is awesome--

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  29. what timing, I just put up another mental marathon trainign post today. I swear the biggest thing I've learned is that my running is so mental and staying positive makes a huge difference.

    the idea of not overtraining...well that's still a struggle

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  30. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! I've read a few other ones by joe friel, he is awesome.

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  31. I have been amazed to learn over the last couple of years just how important the mental aspect of this sport is to being successful. I feel like I've really gotten a handle on it this round and will carry ALL of those cliches with me on race day, because they are true!!

    If you believe it, you can achieve it...

    Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right...

    Etc!

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  32. surprisingly this IM is not filling me with fear.. I don't know why! I'm much more relaxed in this process than I am with a marathon

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  33. If I ever get to sleep for 10 hours a day...or even 5 at this point. I would take 5. If I ever get to sleep for that long, I would be in heaven.

    Looks like a good book. I'm heading over to the survey now!

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  34. one
    day
    I'll buy the damn book

    and
    probably
    a
    bike would be good too.

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  35. I just discovered Friel's book and his blog about an hour ago! Now I'm trying to decipher OBLA, MLSS and FTP. (Mutter: triathletes...)

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  36. I tried to read Friel's book. I devoured the first parts about the mental aspects, determined that lack of confidence is my biggest stumbling block. Then I tried to do the worksheets and found them overwhelming. I put the book down somewhere, vowing to go back and finish it. Then we had a plumbing failure, a couple of rooms in the house flooded, and the book was destroyed. I was relieved that I didn't have to finish it.

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  37. I took that test and aced it.

    Your Total Raw Score is: 164
    Your Combined Rating is: 23
    The Coach Says: You're a winner! UNSTOPPABLE!

    I am unstoppable, but what I can't be stopped at has yet to be defined.....

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  38. Thanks for highlighting some of the gems. I need to get to the bookstore.

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  39. I love that book!! It is full of tons of great info!

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  40. Sounds like a great book. I discovered the Iron Nun last year. She is just awesome and amazing. I read her book and it makes me feel brave after a fall. She always got up and still will get back up! Amazing.

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