Ironman – Its Mental

In a recent question from an Instagram follower, I was asked about mental preparation for Ironman.

@mummytrying said in a question to my Instagram account @gitricoach “apparently, 70% of success is between your ears”

For all of the athletes out there pushing the pool yards, putting in the hard climbs and pounding the trails, this may come as a surprise and disappointment, given you may only working on 30% of the requirement for success.

Whether you can give credibility to Ironman success being 70% mental, perhaps depends upon how you view success and what we consider to be the whole…allow me to elaborate:

All the hard yards are a result of a decision made, pretty much every day.  Ironman triathletes often have between one and three training sessions each day, in order to get themselves in shape for success.

Of course, the coach’s go-to phrase is “the key to success in training, is consistency” and in order to be consistent, you have to have the right mental approach to training.

Many athletes talk about having (or losing) the “motivation” to train.  I have an issue with that particular terminology but I’ll talk about that another time and perhaps, in another place?

There are mental tools that you can use on race day to squeeze out that last 0.5% of your performance, in the moment (that’s a heavy clue), to achieve a personal best, or gain a podium place (success!).  However, for the rest of us, the main way to use your mind to influence the outcome on race day, is by applying it year-round, to maintain consistency in training and thereby “success” on race day.

My thoughts on how to apply your mind to achieve consistency?

I recently re-blogged something I had written a few weeks ago about goal-setting.  Once you have your aim, goals and objectives in place, you have a framework for defining what “success” means for you.  More than success, there should, if done correctly, be a whole series of successes available to you that occur throughout the year.

As part of goal setting, I recommend writing down your aim, goals and objectives, as early as possible.  All athletes I coach have written goals and objectives, which are provided back to them, along with their training plan every week.

Just a few moments at the beginning of each week, when first looking at the planned sessions, will remind any athlete not just of the time, or pace they hope to achieve but the bigger meaning that their aim and goals have to them.  Why are they undertaking this monumental task of training for months, to push their body close to its limit, on one particular day in the future?

If you have set your aim, goals and objectives correctly, then take a few moments of reflection each week to remind yourself of what success means for you, its value and benefits, whether tangible or intangible but nonetheless personal, then I challenge any athlete to not be motivated that week to get out there and do what it takes!

So there, you have the key to consistency, in the most powerful mental tool to deliver race-day success.


GI Tri Coach

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