Saturday, January 16, 2010

Are you ready?

"To succeed, we must first believe that we can."
Michael Korda

Work has been kicking my butt up down and sideways (and I have been kicking back); the weather has been abysmally cold; finally “letting go” for the holidays took its toll in a BIG way on Thing 1 and Thing 2 and Esther’s sister Tootsie (the two fat sisters from the Roll family); and recent tragedies have left me spiritually spent.

Mind you, I am still keeping up with my modified version of the 100 days challenge, joyfully almost. I am still not back in the pool DUE TO MY WORK SCHEDULE ONLY( and not because I feel like Rosemary in Shallow Hal) but did re-up for Masters torture and expect to be back at it soon. I am doing drills on Elphaba and on the dreaded dreadmill along with weights.

I have also been thinking about mental challenges / roadblocks with training and reading up on some opinions lately. As with other areas of life, what we believe we can do often outweighs what the physical reality of the situation. In Friels Traithletes Training Bible, he says that mental skills are often overlooked part of training. One of the first chapters of the book has a self evaluation for an athlete to determine their motivation and thought habits, among other things.

I am not sure that I notice the effects of any brain stuff from my workouts but they do make me feel better . According to the Friel assesemnt I have no difficulty with visualization so I will eat my veggies, keep drilling, and easily visualize myself swimming biking and running like the pros this year….all with a big smile!

I got the Februay issue of Triathlete Magazine, and appreciate alot of the articles that was in it this time besides my usual oohing and aaahing over the eye candy. One article in particular resonated with me- lately the 2 minute rule has been effective so far!



Are you ready to learn ways to instantly motivate yourself when you're feeling too tired to workout, unsure about whether to sign-up for an event, or tempted to give up during a race? Consider these Top 5 Jedi Mind Tricks to be your ultimate secret weapon for motivation. Are you ready?

1) 2 Minute Rule.

Don't get scared by the seven-syllable word in this tip...but physiologically, several changes take place in your body during the first 120 seconds of exercise. Namely, at about that 2 minute mark, your cells begin to more easily utilize oxygen as a fuel, muscle temperature begins to rise, and exercise suddenly becomes easier. So what is the take-away trick for using the 2 Minute Rule in triathlon motivation? If you just got home from work and you're "too tired" to train, or you're trying to tear yourself out of bed at 5am, just tell yourself: get through the first 2 minutes. You'll be consistently pleased with what happens after that point!

2) Use Irrational Psychology.

This is a powerful trick for triathlon motivation, and involves affecting the appeal of one workout choice by comparing it to other choices. Here are some examples. Say it's time for a 90 minute hard cycling session, and you just don't have the triathlon motivation to get on your bike and head out. So give yourself three choices, and make two of those choices more unpleasant: Choice #1 - go on a 5 hour easy bike ride; Choice #2 - Do a 90 minute interval run on a treadmill instead; Choice #3 - do your 90 minute bike ride. The 90 minute bike ride suddenly seems relatively not all that bad. Or imagine the pool is "too cold" to go for a swim. So go in the locker room and take a cold shower. Suddenly the pool becomes relatively appealing. Or imagine you're running up a hill and you have an overwhelming urge to walk. Start sprinting on the hill much faster than you are running. Stop 5 seconds. Start running again at your normal pace. The hill running will instantly feel easier (yes, the brain is a strange thing).

3) Use Very Small Goals.

In the middle of a race and feel like giving up? This trick works very well. Tell yourself that you're going to take just 200 more steps, or 100 more pedal strokes, or get to one more buoy. Promise yourself that at that point you can either A) stop or B) keep going. By giving your brain the reward of having completed a small, intermediate goal, there is a slight infusion of dopamine that occurs which drives you to keep going when you get to that point. Again, it is a strange phenomenon, but works very well for triathlon motivation, especially in a race.

4) Use Extrinsic Motivation.

Humans have an innate desire to be accepted, and an innate detest for being rejected. We internally fear being judged by our failures, and crave to be accepted for delivering on our promises. Here's how to use this principle for triathlon motivation: the next time you're waffling on a workout, go to Facebook, go to Twitter, go to your blog, or call your best friend or spouse and tell them, "I'm just about to go to workout ______ (you fill in the blanks) Should be fun!". This tiny social expression will instantly give you a powerful urge to deliver on your promises. It also works well if you're on the fence about signing up for a race for which you're unsure you will have fitness. Tell the world you're going to sign-up, and the extrinsic motivation of not wanting to let the world down will make you far more likely to do it.

5) Re-Train Your Brain.

There is a big difference between wanting something and being prepared to receive it. In other words, it's not enough to have triathlon motivation goals and want to achieve them. Instead, you must actually train your subconscious to realistically see yourself achieving your goals. Want to know exactly how to re-train your brain? Do 2 things:

1) Read the comprehensive article in the February 2010 issue of Triathlete magazine;

2) Visit the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at, where you will find an online triathlon school that features weekly handpicked articles on triathlon motivation and lifestyle.

Memorize these mind tricks and add them to your triathlon motivation arsenal, and you'll be the person everyone is talking about when they say, "They're like the Energizer bunny! They keep going, and going, and going...".

Ben Greenfield is an author, personal trainer, nutritionist and triathlete coach from Spokane, WA. He produces the popular free fitness, fat loss, and human performance blog and podcast at

Ben holds bachelor's and master's degrees in sports science and exercise physiology, and is a certified nutritionist (C-ISSN), personal trainer (NSCA-CPT) and strength and conditioning coach (NSCA-CSCS). If you are interested in asking Ben a question, or learning more about utilizing his services, simply e-mail or call 1-877-209-9439.

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