“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Triathlon can be an intimidating sport. The idea of training for and completing three sport disciplines for one race can feel overwhelming for many people. Even the most experienced triathletes can let their worries get in the way of optimum performance. With proper training, support and mental preparation, those worries can fade away as you swim, bike and run your way to that finish line. It’s an amazing experience and one of great accomplishment. For athletes new to the sport or ones considering doing a triathlon for the first time, the importance of mental training is often overshadowed by the emphasis put on physical training in swimming, cycling and running. But, the physical and the mental must work together for the best outcome.
As an ambassador for USA Triathlon, when I go out into the community to encourage athletes to try a triathlon, I often hear these doubts: “I’m not athletic enough. I don’t think I can do that.”, “I am not a good swimmer. I’m too scared to try this.”, “I don’t have the right gear. My bike is too old.” But, guess what? As an athlete myself and a coach, I hear the experienced triathletes express worries as well. Every single triathlete in the world has had doubts about what he or she can accomplish. I completely understand this feeling. Testing ourselves in new ways is scary. Fear of failure is real. I said a lot of these same things to myself right before my first triathlon, “What the heck am I doing?? I can’t do this.” But, unless we take that first step towards a new challenge we can never know how that accomplishment feels. As athletes, we train our bodies to be strong but we often underestimate the need to train our minds to be resilient and think positively. We need to teach ourselves to believe in our strengths and follow that road to success.
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