I have to be honest. Triathlon training really sucks. I’m serious. I willingly subject myself to swimming in a pool until I’m gasping for air, which really isn’t smart since 50% of the time I can’t touch and my face is underwater. Then I purposely ride on a bike fending off boredom while the bike seat grinds into me creating a discomfort that only new cyclists over the age of 40 can relate to. Finally I lace up my running shoes and go jog around town trying to talk myself out of quitting. And why? Because I want to compete in a triathlon. It honestly makes no sense! But I think there’s a greater purpose out of all this. You know all the talk about it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey. Or enjoy the process.
Triathlon training is a lot like life. We need to be able to deal with pain and set backs on a consistent basis if we’re ever going to reap any rewards. Think about it, those who are successful in life and achieve their goals are the ones that work the hardest through their pain, discomfort, and difficult situations. They simply keep grinding. The physical training I’ve been doing for the last few months has been some of the most mentally demanding challenges I’ve been through, and honestly I think that’s the appeal. I know what I want to accomplish and I’m willing to pay the price to get there. By purposely subjecting myself to a challenging situation I get better at overcoming. As Inky Johnson says,”We need to impose our will.” We all have negative situations that create pain yet give us an opportunity to improve.
Some days I simply don’t want to swim, but I know that’s my weakest link so I have to grind to improve. I take a small improvement from every single pool session, as well as a source of frustration. I’ve always hated running. I look at the clock and wonder how much longer till I can stop. I have found running with my Boxer pup has made it way more enjoyable because now we’re improving together, plus spending time with a young dog is just fun! The bike has been total mind numbing monotony because honestly the seat hurts like Hell and it’s just a mental hurdle to keep the legs pumping while my quads are on fire. However, it’s given me an opportunity to listen to TED talks or books on audio and grow as a person.
I trust that God planted this seed in my head to make me a better husband, father, and Coach. Hey, we all deal with pain and challenges every day! It may not be your workouts, it could be your out of control schedule, your finances, or simply the haters of the world that would love to see you fail. Here’s the deal; the no quit attitude, the mental fortitude to grind through pain and discomfort simply to achieve something you’ve never done before is the exact thing I’m enjoying. That’s the addictive aspect of triathlon training. As a father, I can also use my training as an example to my son when he’s dealing with anything from trash talkers to important exams in the classroom… you just need to put your head down, embrace the misery, work hard, and keep moving forward. I guess it is more about the journey than the destination. Pain presents itself as an opportunity to improve.