Last week was the hardest week of training for me. But probably not how you are thinking. The mental challenge of training for an IronMan is the most significant part for me and doing it as a new mom has been wild.
Physically I was fine. I mean sure i was tired. But last week I had one question on my mind.
What in the literal fuck am I doing?
This wave of emotion came over me. It wasn’t doubt, it wasn’t fear … it was time.
All this precious time I was spending training. Spending away from Freddy and Mike. And, well, maybe it was a bit of jealousy.
MANAGING THE MENTAL CHALLENGES OF TRAINING FOR AN IRONMAN
Jealousy is just ugly. It happens to us all, but it is still ugly. I can be the most competitive person in the room and stand out for being obnoxious, head strong, stubborn … but every time I realize my emotions are being driven by jealousy I shiver.
A chill actually goes up my spine.
Simply put, jealousy is a quality that I can’t stand. And when I feel jealousy creeping it’s ugly head into my life I try my best to turn it into respect and inspiration. The key here is to realize that your emotions are being drive by jealousy.
Unfortunately for me it took ALL week to put my finger on it.
I battled through shitty workouts and crappy feelings. Ignoring my desire to quit. And trying my best to remember why I signed up for this race.
MOMMA RAISED NO QUITTER.
While I embrace this mantra, I hate it. Because knowing when to stop and quitting get lumped together. I have worked really hard my whole life to learn when it is the right time to stop. I have gotten it wrong too many times to even begin to count.
With my stubborn personality battling these sneaky feelings of jealousy I tried to find solid mental ground to stand on.
I rode my bike inside instead of outside because that was easier. I demanded the bare minimum from myself. The house got messy. I asked for more help from my family. And I had numerous sassy and exploitive filled conversations with myself.
In the end, I gave myself grace.
Not because I’m some magical human that always ends on their feet like cats. But because I realized I was destroying my own goals. Complete and utter self-sabotage when I was less than 7 weeks out from my goal.
Believe me when I say this… I did not make this realization of self-sabotage and instantly become reinvigorated. I first had to be annoyed with myself. My jealousy turned into a bit of anger towards myself, which turned into energy I poured into my workouts.
After a few workouts I felt the stress, jealousy, anger lift.
My mental feet were back on the ground.
GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
My story isn’t new. Jealousy has been knocking hardworking people down for centuries. But there is a broader message here that I live by. Sometimes the hardest thing we must do is get out of our own way.
Self-sabotage. Fear of failure. Excuses. There are a lot of ways we hold ourselves back. But with time spent in reflection or even simply with our own thoughts we can get out of own way and find balance and even the success we work for.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced is getting in all my workouts. And I know that I am not alone in that. It is a common theme for every person trying to train for an IronMan and have a job, family, hobby or any interest in life.
If you are really going to “get out of your own way” leaving the excuse of scheduling behind is necessary. I have shared a few of my training strategies in past blogs. If you feel overwhelmed by run training or just don’t like running long distances read my post How to Use Interval Training for A Successful IronMan Run.
And if you are struggling with getting into the pool to train for the swim read IronMan Strength Training for the Swim
MASTERING THE MENTAL CHALLENGES OF TRAINING FOR AN IRONMAN
Frankly, you don’t do an IronMan alone. You may think you train and race alone, but really you are surrounded by people who want you to succeed. They want you to cross that finish line.
I have found it very helpful to use the enneagram personality assessment to better understand myself, the motivation behind my decisions and goals and my approach to training. You can read more about it in this post Enneagram Types and Exercise: Finding What Your Type Means for Your Workout
LEAN ON YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK.
I spent Sunday planning every workout and every task this week. Getting my support network involved everywhere I could. To help me succeed.
Yes, I do have to give up some time with Freddy. But that means he gets more time with Mike and our family/friends. That is never a bad thing.
Parent guilt is a real thing I’m finding out. But IronMan helps me keep an identity I had before having Freddy. It helps me remember that having a child doesn’t mean giving up your goals or passions. And most importantly it helps me remember that life is hard.
NONE OF IT WILL BE EASY.
I’ve never had an easy workout. But I have had ones that felt incredible. That built me up. And isn’t that what life is?
Opportunities exist every day that won’t be easy. Some will make you feel incredible, and others will just be hard. But both will mold you. Both will help build your character, your you-ness.
If you have a bad week at training/work/school, maybe, just maybe, you need to get out of your own way.
Cheers to 7 more brutal weeks and 1 absolutely magical and unforgiving day!
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