Thursday, March 3, 2011

Triathletes Path

How to prevent the deceptive heart from leading us down a path of overtraining, undertraining or just bad attitude? A traditional coaching path is to adopt some kind of sports psychology training. It's behavioural adaption using a number of tricks. I attended a class once that taught how to identify your mental trigger to be used during training or races. This has some success however it can be only temporal and has side effects.

The thing is if your heart is deceptive, as we examined in the last post, then adopting the mindset of the trickster can hardly be an unhealthy approach. Deception + deception = greater deception. This is a spiral of thought that could lead, and often does, to selfishness. Everythings fine so long as we're all playing according to my tune, my training needs and suppporting my goals. Woe betide the loving wife or girlfriend who routinely supports or even shares in her man's passion for sport who decides she wants to do something different with him.

My submission is that we want to be athletes, not just with healthy and efficient hearts, but also athletes with good hearts. Do you know what makes a heart good? Generosity, compassion, forgiveness and sacrifice makes for a big heart. Every club I have belonged to thrives on the people with big hearts. Those willing to direct their time, talents and energies to supporting others. If you really want a good coach look at the way he treats his wife or she treats her husband. If you see respect, tenderness, gratitude, honour and dignity then you probably have a person worth listening too. If you set you own plan then it's self evident that to succeed as an athlete first you have to love well the people in your life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You'll have heard ideas, even shared them, about whether people tend to let their heart lead their head or vis-a-versa. You will have heard of the idea that there are creative types and more technically minded. These are vain attempts to stereotype you and in many cases, provide you allibis when your performance fails to meet your aspirations. The road to hell is paved in good intentions or perhaps the road to the salad bar is hindered by diversions to the hamburger stall!

Whether you be a champion or a beginnner, before you go any further in your athletics career I want us to examine our hearts. Think about it. If the rational mind was the answer to delivering the best performance in training and competition then we would all be champs. There would have to be a line of podiums for all the winners! We would follow the coaching rule book, line up our goals, you know the type: be fitter and healthier, look like the guy in the picture or get the guy in the picture, be a better person, enjoy the community of my sporting friends, get a sub 10 hr IM etc and success would follow. The deceptive heart would be of no consequence because the rational mind with its access to reason, experience and a plan would overide the obstacles.

We know this isn't the case so our starting point is going to be to explore why. CS Lewis said that, "if a man is dying of thirst in the desert, it doesn't matter which path he chooses if it doesn't lead to the only well". So we need to set out on the right path if we are to reach our destination. The point is that if you are on the wrong path no matter how hard you try you'll never get where you are going, it makes more sense to turn around, head back to the beginning and start out again.