1w6k1b99tnjW5qLK9QKgJCiG0NE The SportExcel Zone

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Comments that hurt your triathlon performance

An athlete recently asked me how to get a comment someone has made to you out of your head so that you can refocus on racing.

That is a great question from the point of view of both you and the person who distracted you.

The first thing you do is realize that the person who made the comment knew what they were doing, either consciously or subconsciously. In North America we are a very competitive lot and we do a lot of things to mess others up. Now this person who did this would likely be appalled if you accused them of throwing you off your game. It is so automatic that we can't help it sometimes. So, for starters, if the person who made the comment is hearing this, or you are someone who is prone to giving advice because you think it is helpful, don't, because this type of advice or comment isn't helpful.

For you the triathlete, since you'll never muzzle all the comments, you have to learn how to deal with them. Here are three suggestions:

1) See if you can get away for 30 minutes before your round. I call it the 30-Minute rule and it works to avoid most of the chatter. I teach various strategies you can do in this period of time - but just getting away helps. At the beginning of races this may not be possible, so certainly avoid talking to others during that time.

2) After every conversation, before you head off to do your 30 minutes of prep, take a mental shower. I imagine reaching up to pull the chain and all this imaginary water pours down and cleanses me. I've taught this to medical practitioners and other professionals who need to stay unaffected by some seriously sick people (and I'm not suggesting the person who made the comment to you was sick).

3) Replay the comment in your head and then "play" it backward in a way where you imagine it all garbled up. Play it forward, then backward again. Do this several times faster and faster. This is a bit like running a nail across an old vinyl LP and after a while you'll make no sense of it. You may even forget the original troublesome comment.

So give it a tri. Have fun with these strategies and see which one works best for you. And if you'd like to make people like this disappear, not like Tony Soprano does, but with the strategies as a part of my program, give me a call.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Three Steps to Sport Cross-Training Results

How elite athletes target high performance physiology from the get-go

Have you ever started off your season where running is just plain not fun and warming up takes forever? Or perhaps this sounds like all of your training runs.  If so, you’ll need to speed up the warming-up process, so you can step in where you left off in your last run, relaxed and in the Zone—whether it was last week or last year—and avoid the pain and potential of injury.

I used to run as a means to cross train for karate.  I’ll be honest.  As a martial artist I disliked running, but it gave me the fitness and stamina advantage I needed to stay at the top of my game.  So, when I stopped competing in karate, I stopped running and stopped the ‘torture’, as there now seemed no good reason to continue.   All too soon I could feel my fitness slipping away and the weight piling on. 

So I started to run again and it was the same old, same old.  In virtually every run I suffered through 20 minutes of mental anguish until I found a reasonable groove for about the same amount of time.  But the last 100 meters was pure joy—light, gazelle-like, powerful, adrenalized.  I loved it—but that was only a few seconds of my run.  So here are the three steps I took to resolve the problem:

1)      Divide and conquer:  This part is easy and although you can divide your run into a myriad of parts, keep it to three.   The three parts can be of varying lengths and times.   My first part was about 20 to 25 minutes, my second about 10 minutes and my third a few seconds.   

2)      Analyze each phase:  In the SportExcel system, I teach athletes to go to the outcome first.  In other words, you have to know what you want.  For example, I want my Ironman triathletes to be able to see themselves crossing the finish line in the Zone and full of spirit.   So in this step, I needed to find examples of the kind of physiology I wanted for my whole run.  So I analyzed all three parts of my run, found the obvious best part (the end) and noted my physiology. (If you have no examples of great physiology, you’ll have to call me for another exercise).  In my last few seconds I noted how my hips were moving...my shoulders…my core.  How did my arms move?  What was my breathing like? How did I feel?  I wrote down and itemized all noticeable components I remembered about my physiology at this point.   

3)      Apply the findings:  Once I had noted my physiological attributes, and literally had goose bumps via the memory, I applied these attributes to my next run, right from the get go—the rolling shoulders and extended hips, right down to the softness of my facial features, and the peripheral gaze of my eyes.  And it was amazing.  I got into the Zone in less than five minutes, not the usual 20.  By changing only my physiology, I was able to trigger my high performance  form in all parts of my run.  And the best part?  If ever my run started to flag, simply triggering one of the attributes would return me to the Zone.

So, before your next run, follow the three steps and divide, analyze and transform.   Whatever you find in your physiology, it holds the key to making your whole run efficient, enjoyable and sustainable.

Give it a try, and if you want to learn more strategies, call us—877-967-5747.  www.sportexcel.ca

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