It was Vince Lombardi that said, “fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

I’ve spoken about how a triathlon beginner’s mental state can affect his physical performance, and why we want to practice good mental toughness principles every day that we train.  What I haven’t touched upon, is how this relationship can work both ways.  

You see, if weak thoughts can make our body weak and tired, then is it also possible that a body that is weak and tired from exertion and physical strain, can make our thoughts weak?  Do you think so, Vince Lombardi thought so.  

Let’s analyse what he said … “Fatigue makes cowards …”  What is a coward but someone who pulls up stakes and retreats, a quitter, a non competitor… Yuck!  Hang on a second, I have to spit.  Nothing less admirable in an athlete that cowardice.  Athletes respect both the winners and the losers, but never the quitter.  

Commander Warf, the big brown Klingon in Star Trek, once said (in a really deep voice), “There is no shame in falling before a superior opponent.” Right on my Klingon brother!  Preach it.

Our sense of compete is really the one and only thing that drives us forward.  Without that sense of compete, our inner drive turns to driving Miss Daisy.  Lombardi, perhaps the most inspirational coach to ever prowl a sideline, gave us both words of warning, as well as a formula for developing the heart of a lion.

The warning is this, in states of exhaustion, we can ALL become cowards and start looking for the way out, so we better expect it, and make ourselves ready for it.  

The heart of a lion formula is this, if we can face our cowardice and push through, we can become truly tough.  The beautiful thing about it is that pushing into fatigue is all we need to challenge our own fears and chisel away the cowardly responses ensconsed in our mortal souls (much easier than fighting dragons).

Beautiful isn’t it.

As a triathlon beginner, we will be facing our limitations every day in training, and sometimes we might ask ourselves why we do it.  Well, here is the answer.  Stay strong.

Don’t get Tire – ed!