This entry is really a further exploration of what components go into triathlon toughness and why that might matter.  I liked cadaver lab in university as much as the next guy, so I figured, why not dissect the triathlon champion’s brain and see what’s squirming around in there.

First, I’ll tell you why being triathlon tough matters.  That’s the easiest one.  Quite simply, your mental state will determine 100% of your actions, and your actions determine the result that you get.  Your goals are real.  They are real and they are important, for individual reasons, but we must first recognize the validity of our athletic pursuit.  If we don’t give our goal validity in our minds, then we will invariably short change ourselves due to the busyness of our lives and the formidable disciplines of succeeding in our chosen sport.

Without a goal that we commit to, and a strong sense of who we are as people acting out the habit of success, we are literally dead in the water (or the road, or on the bike).  We cannot succeed without it, instead we make conscious or unconscious excuses, which sport psychologists call tanking.  

Tanking is a sign of mental weakness.  It will steal your dreams.

Instead, an athlete should try to achieve what is called an Ideal Performance State or (I.P.S).  What is an IPS.?  Well that depends on the sport and a little bit about who you are as a person.  It can be very individual what mindset each athlete needs in order to achieve their best performance, but there are commonalities.

As a triathlon beginner, just think of ideal performance state as a mindset of really fun competetive challenge.  Here’s the basic reasoning for that …  it is the only thing that will work!

The only thing?  How could I say that?  Easy. Here’s why.  The thing that makes us go goofy when we pit ourselves against a challenge is called “competition stress,” and competition stress is closely related to fear.  Fear of what?  Sadly, it’s usually fear of failure.

The first way that an athlete learns to overcome the crippling weakness and exaustion brought on by fear, is by using anger, if you can believe that.  Anger drowns out fear allowing people to “dig deep,” get angry, and find new strength, but that strength is not sustainable.  When you dissect a champions brain, heart, and mind, you will not find anger.  Instead you will find a whole lotta really fun competetive challenge.

More about that later, along with the rest of the blueprint for a triathlon beginner to be competition tough.


**photo above by Tom Devard