Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Let's Get Mental

For some reason I had some trouble figuring out what to write about today. I was having a hard time focusing on a good topic, all of a sudden I realized it was staring me in the face.

There is so much in our lives that are dependant upon our mental focus and intensity. The Trilogy, as I call it, of Family, Work and Triathlon is always trying to pull us in several directions at once. With so much pressure it is easy to lose that focus and intensity in our daily lives. I've been reading The Triathlete's Guide to Mental Training and thought I would share some thoughts about Focus and Intensity. This is just a brief overview of two chapters from the book. I haven't finished the book, but so far I would recommend it to anyone. I'll be reading it several times.

Intensity is one of the harder aspects of mental preparation to deal with. Everyone trains/races with a different level of intensity that works best for them. Some athletes are super serious while others are very relaxed before and during events. As different as the people are in the previous example, they may both finish a race at the same time and set a PR because they utilize the exact amount of intensity required for their personality. Determining your optimum intensity may take some time. Think about past training or racing and see if you can remember how you felt during a bad, good or great race. How did you feel going into the race? What happened during the race and how did you handle it? You also need to learn how to control your intensity and keep it at the right level through self-motivation or relaxation techniques.

Focus is often related to single items or events. People often "focus" by tuning out external distractions and burying themselves in the moment. But this chapter helped me realize that triathlon is about three sports and two transitions that require a different focus during each of the five segments of a race. Your triathlon focus allows you to perform well and block out those external distractions that can derail your attention. As you flow from one aspect of the race, or training, leave what's happened in the past. You can't change it and there are other things to focus on. The book mentions the four Ps of focus.

  • Positive: Focus on positive things and avoid the negative that can impact your performance
  • Process: Focus on what needs to be done during the race/training to meet your immediate goals
  • Present: Focus on the present and forget the past, you can't change the past, but you can influence the future
  • Progress: Make sure you are making progress toward whatever goal you have set in front of you
So there is your Two for Tuesday. Sorry it's late for the day but my "focus" was elsewhere.

So go out and get your Mental Game On.


qcmier said...

Great thoughts. For the past several months I have been training five components: swim, bike, run, weights, brain.

Love the song too. I've only got one shot...

E-Speed said...

YAY more eminem! Good post!

This is so true. Amie and I are polar opposites with this. I am super intense before a race and she is so laid back but our results are always good and pretty similar. v. interesting.

Cliff said...


It is so true about the first part in intensity. Everyone is different and will react differently.

Some ppl are more serious (like me) and some are more laid back. To tell a serious person to laid back and vice versa is a recipe for disaster.

Dante said...

The intensity stuff is pretty interesting. I take it pretty easy pre race, I've even been known to nap between registration and start, whilst another guy I know gets pretty edgy before a race. I'd often wondered if I'd perform better if I could work myself up first like he did, but the day I did it I had perhaps the worst race to date, filled with mistakes in transition and poor pacing. Perhaps the change in intensity resulted in a loss of focus?

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