On Getting ‘Good’ or Shall We Say Our ‘Personal Best’

People are always asking me why I do so many different types of fitness training and outdoor sports activities. They say “are you going to get great, or even good, if you don’t focus on just running or just mountain biking or just strength training, ect. this year? “ Well let me tell you- as an endurance sports and a life-biz coach myself, I do understand training methodologies and the ‘rule of specificity’ as far as it comes to physical adaptation of a human, including myself. But I have also seen and experienced first hand both the winning and the losing sides of sport and life- where all the focus and energy was put into one specific goal. What I learned through it all (and am still learning today at 50;) is that we each get to define our own ‘personal wins’ and we each must also determine what ‘good’ feels like to us.  

Gym Shananigans @headstrongfit

In the health and fitness fields it is pure science. How the body adapts to stress, how it recovers and how over time the process we call ‘getting fit and healthy’ evolves. It is unique to all of us how fast, slow, big, small, weak, strong and full of or lacking in health we each become over time and experience. Yes our genetics play some role but they DO NOT dictate our fate. What does however are our CHOICES. If we want to develop as an athlete or a professional (name any career you have your eye on) or ideally develop as a good human being, we must first get clear what the skills are that are required for that role. Then we have to craft a plan to invest in learning, getting proficient at and then getting expert at those skills. That goes for everything in life! Consistency of practice, mental and physical patterns and growth opportunities all collectively provide ample experiences for you to develop towards your personal best. We Coaches are in the biz of all this! And this human development cycle never ends. No matter how ‘good’ we get, there is always a way to progress further… plus the competition we are often compared to is always changing as well. Sometimes it is hard to get clear what competition is all about and why exactly do we chase an external podium that labels us at good, better, best anyway?       

After spending my last 20 years racing road, triathlon, trail and ultra, I know plenty of you can relate to setting highly specific athletic goals. Goals that require specific skills and gear, calendared training blocks, intensity targets, heart rate or power metrics and big ass chunks of life time dedicated towards mastery and achievement. Through the roller coaster of races in my own journey, I was surprised how often- when I was the most focused, dedicated and trained- I still failed race day (meaning it was a shitshow). I was also shocked how at times, when I was basically winging it or attempting something I hardly trained for I crushed it. Feel free to ask me about my 100 mile runs one day! #WTF This was all totally counter to what I had been taught and slightly crazy making! For years when I would fail, I’d look for all my errors and chip away at controlling all the aspects possible to ensure that would not happen again. But of course, sometimes it still would. So I had to ask myself, why was I letting the win or the lose, steal the joy from my training journey and overall accomplishment? What was it about endurance sports and adventure that pulled me in and how would I best use these powerful gifts in my life? My honest answer had ZERO NADA ZIP to do with the podium, the bragging rights or even my finishing time.  

Me at my first 100 miler (the one I had no right even signing up for)

Those of you I have trained along side of or coached have also chased the same goal or target race year after year. You’ve been following the same training plan (with some grace added for age maybe) or structured fitness program every year. Maybe it is time to rethink your game plan. For me, I have chosen the path of trying ALL things and seeing what the results are for me, both mentally and physically. Endurance sports and adventure came into my life when I needed it most. It was a true life line out of illness, depression and obesity. Racing and training became a way of life so I could get healthy, fit and build community. Along the way I pushed myself hard and used it to explore my edges. The exploration of self, learning of new skills, discovering new places and meeting new people are where the JOY is for me. I train to win LIFE, not medals. My glory is in the game itself, not the after party. And so it must be said (and therefore embraced) that I may never get ‘good or great’ at any sport. But I also know that I will undoubtedly set a PR or Personal Best in every damn thing that comes my way since that is what happens when you do all the things!

#PRlife #exploreyouroptions #nojudgementzone #endurancetownusamindset

Me CRUSHINGIT at 50 in the Senior Games Cross Country Mountain Bike Race

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