Something I repeat to the athletes I coach is to focus on the process. Be present in the moment and put your energies into what you are doing at the time and the details around that. Let the outcome take care of itself which will happen if you follow a process.
In a World where we’re consumed by distraction and it’s easy to chase the brass ring, the ability to be present and stay in the process is where you will find success. It is when we take ourselves out of the process and start to think about the outcome that things can and often fall apart. However, it is easier said than done.
Even while you’re reading this blog most of us will probably be thinking, how long does this blog go for? Your phone will be next to you constantly pinging, your internet browser will be open and our minds rather than focusing on reading this blog (and gaining the amazing wisdom from it) will be already thinking about what is next.
Everything and everyone want our attention. And studies have proven that despite what we might think the ability to multitask is not possible. This is especially relevant when it comes to our endeavours in endurance sport.
At its core endurance sport is the ability to endure discomfort. A battle against ourselves to see if we can overcome the natural inclination to slow down or stop when our bodies are saying no more. If we are to overcome this challenge the ability to be present and focus on the process is the only way.
But what does it mean to follow the process?
- Start with a goal. Something that is challenging, hard but not unrealistic. It must challenge us but not to the point where it breaks us.
- Identify the steps required to achieve the goal
- Take it one step at a time until you achieve your goal
The ability to be present is when you’re taking the steps. Some steps will be harder than others and when this is the case simply think about what you need to do.
Stay relaxed, run with an upright posture, exit at the back of your stroke when swimming, consume liquids on the bike every 15 minutes, sight every 10 strokes in the open water, relax your breathing, push the pedals down on the bike.
In endurance sports when done correctly even the longest of events such as Ironman triathlons will go quickly. All because you are present and engaged in the process. And like any skill it needs to be practiced in training.
The next time you are training, and you find yourself disengaged from the process try the following:
- Accept where you are, how you feel and what you are doing
- Embrace the situation. What we resist persists so don’t waste valuable energy fighting it
- Address the situation and focus on the process to complete the small steps to achieve the overall goal.
Repeat this daily and come race day that challenging goal that was tough to achieve will be ticked off.