Training for a long term goal can be hard, I know. Makes you wonder how our Olympians do it right?
How do you stay focussed for so long?
How do you maintain that physical, mental, emotional and nutritional discipline to reach that end point?
Well, it all comes down to how you prioritise your goal. Is it just the end goal, that outcome of making podium, or top 10, or is it about your personal growth?
A PERSONAL JOURNEY VS OUTCOME
Some may say that the personal growth and journey stuff is teetz, and too airy fairy but the truth is this is what helps you bounce back when you don’t meet those outcomes the first time around so that you can meet them the next time you try. It builds resilience and that is something missing in todays society, especially with our younger paddlers.
Too often paddlers will give up thinking they have failed. They put so much hardwork in and didn’t get the outcome they were hoping for so give up.
I can relate to this because its how I spent my first years in sport, not just paddling (although I did think I was the shiz in paddling ha ha, such a newbie).
An outcome goal is not enough to keep you motivated to get out of bed so early in the morning, or commit to such a huge lifestyle change, because thats what it requires.
When you have thoughts of “oh its sweet, after I finish this I can go back to eating like I did, or not training so much”, these kind of thoughts are what will trip you up in your race because when it gets tough out there its this that creates the negative self talk, the lack of belief in yourself.
Keeping a training journal has helped give me the awareness I needed to deal with these thoughts quickly and easily, giving me the tools to be able to kick it during a race (most of the time).
I say most of the time because the thing is, once we are successful with a challenge, another presents itself. Its how we grow as human beings.
I used to think, “oh sweet once I get over this hurdle I’ll be sweet,” but yeah nah, they keep coming at you in different ways. But thats life huh, how boring would it be without a few challenges. The downs make you appreciate the ups so much more.
Having a routine is needed, because you do need to be able to measure your improvement somehow. But be flexible with it. Just because your programme says each day of the week you have to do this, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it a little. The weather maybe bad, or you might get sick. Beating yourself up over the programme will only give you more brain damage.
Also, try not to let yourself fall into default with your programme, you know, like groundhog day – where you wake up each day and its the same thing over and over and you end up doing it without thinking. This is not a good space to be in.
Make sure you connect in each day, with why you are doing this in the first place, and be deliberate with your actions, taking conscious action because thats where the gold is. Its those actions that reset your brain to what works for you and not just being an imitation of someone else. It sets the pattern for you to be able to react the best way possible for you when you hit challenges out on the water.
There’s nothing worse then coming off the water or in from a training session where you feel like you were just going through the motions. It feels like a waste of time right? Start backing yourself and honour your time and effort by being intentional.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
Its never failure when you take away the lessons from it, and there are always lessons. If you don’t see that then you need to start digging a bit deeper, into why you even do what you are doing.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Firstly, I’m pretty damn stoked with myself for what I managed to achieve and the opportunities I had to paddle with some pretty cool paddlers. But I am going to admit that I did have a moment where I was upset with myself for not trying harder, giving it my best and letting my own self talk get to me. In all honesty I still have that nasty dialogue go through my mind when it matters most, but, and this is a big one – I no longer let bring me down. Its important to ‘feel’ those feelings, because if you deny it starts a spiral of downward actions and you will end up at the bottom.
I could have sat and wallowed in my pity but I chose to accept it for what it was, I thought I had a shit race, felt bad for a teeny bit then decided, “this ain’t helping me at all” so I let myself move on. Too often, especially us females, we can hold on to feelings, and let them rule our present and future. This is not healthy for our paddling at all and it starts to subconsciously show up and then we react to it, usually in the wrong way. This can present itself by not taking up opportunities, or in the waka focussing on someones else role instead of ours, or by nit picking at somebody because they rub you up the wrong way, when in actual fact you are probably seeing your own reflection of what you need to work on yourself.
This is why mindset is so important in your paddling and sport. It’s the stuff that can either make you or break you and is the key to being your best self.
When I started writing this blog I thought about doing it as a personal wrap up from my own LDNs, which in a sense it is. There are definitely elements in this that I need to pay attention to. Its where my inspiration comes from, lived experience. But, from conversations I had while there and the themes coming from it this approach felt better to me.
My daily routine consists of the physical aspects of training and connecting in to my surroundings, atua (gods, guardians) which fills me spiritually too, as well as my mental/emotional well-being by checking in with myself to make sure I am being intentional with what I do and making sure my thoughts and feelings are my own and not me getting caught up in someones else stuff. I do this by journalling, I have a training journal and a business journal which helps me to work through and process my actions. I also meditate by grabbing a moment to sit still and ask “where am I right now?” It always brings me right back into the present and gives me clarity.
So, coming back to the title of this, I’m hoping you are still with me here ha ha, yes Long distance Nationals did live up to the hype for me, but I have a whole new bunch of things to work on now, which I’m grateful for because I know its going to help me grow evermore and is another deliberate step toward my dreams and goals.
I am grateful to everyone who came up to me and congratulated me on my medals, thats very humbling. But even more so thankful to those people who came up to me to share their thoughts and feelings on this mahi (work) I have been doing around mindset. I have always been pretty open about what I do and share from my own experience. I do have a Sports Science and Sport Psych background too as was a PE teacher once upon a time, so I do have the academic knowledge to back me up (it’s not all made up lol).
I share because my own journey was so difficult that I want to be able to help others. We have so much talent out there in our communities going unseen because of our current culture around paddling from grassroots to elite. Not blaming anyone particular person or group, but reminding us all that if we can be more open and not afraid of sharing that you will actually see it helps lift us all.
Would love to know if anything in here as given you a lightbulb moment. Please share the aroha, share with anyone you think will benefit from this, and then drop me a comment on here or head over to my Facebook page and drop me a comment.
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#imagine #believe #achieve
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