When training for a triathlon, the transition from the swim to the bike, or the bike to the run, can be the demise of an athlete. Along with the physical component of engaging and disengaging certain movements and muscle groups, there is also a mental shift that occurs. This inner battle that the athlete undertakes as they combat the self-talk that is attempting to derail their forward progress might be the difference between a PR and a DNF.
I can assure you that there have been times 3 hours into a triathlon that I would prefer to forget. It is that moment when, instead of monitoring my heart rate or breathing, I begin to think about how tired or uncomfortable I am. I call these moments the “tipping points”; when the thought of stopping to take a break or quitting altogether have crept into my mind. Had I not prepared myself physically and mentally for that moment, things would tip in favor of giving up. But, because I had identified the potential for a breakdown, physical or mental, I have been able to tip the scale in favor of pressing on to the finish line.
The role of the training for the transitions during a triathlon got me thinking about the significance of transitions in life.
Think about it, trying to run on legs that have just cranked out 50 or 100 miles on a bike is extremely painful because the body has become accustomed to performing one task, repetitively over the course of the ride. Now, connect the dots between the bike path and your career path. In an attempt to make it through another day on the grind, at the same old unfulfilling uninspiring job, you have become complacent. Simply striving each day, as opposed to attacking it, is comparable to dragging yourself through a long run despite a nagging injury that requires rest. In the end, this type of destructive decision making becomes an impediment to your success.
Instead of approaching each situation as an isolate event, be proactive in preparing yourself for the next chapter of your life in the same way a triathlete prepares for the transitional stages of a race.
Because your achievements are directly tied to your actions, being in control of your priorities and habits are of the utmost importance. Would you attempt a triathlon without first taking time to prepare and develop a training program based on your strengths, weaknesses, and performance goals? Then it would only make sense that you have invested that same effort in evaluating the positive and negative aspects of your life; developing a process for changing those things that are bringing you down.
While it’s true that we each have certain qualities that can be considered strengths; we also poses a host of weaknesses that can be improved upon. In all likelihood it will not be fun or easy, but it will be rewarding. Consider the former college swimmer who dominates the swim portion of the triathlon, but lacks the endurance required during the run. Because she has taken the time to analyze her abilities, both the good and the bad, her training was designed to address this endurance issue. With the proper planning and dedication, she was able to overcome a hurdle that had previously stood in her path.
By applying this same analysis and preparation to your life, you are sure to be better prepared for the next transition you encounter.