Found on Ironman.com and written by Lisa Dolbear
Don’t let these sneaky little daily routines derail you from becoming your best.
This is the time of year when many athletes have committed to their races, and are back to training in earnest. As you continue to focus on our goals, now is the perfect time to take inventory of the behaviors you’ve adopted and figure out where you could use some adjustment. Since the new year arrived, you might already be forming bad habits (it can take as little as two months to make something a habit) and catching them now will help ensure success later on.
Here are four habits to avoid, and tips on how to kick them if you feel them creeping in.
Complaining about everything
From time to time, we all like to throw around a few exasperated sighs and whiney groans when it comes to working out. Whether it’s making complaints about the weather, or commiserating with others about the [insert your issue here] situation at your local pool, we all have moments where we fail to muster that much-needed positive attitude. Over time, complaining can go from an “innocent” way to blow off steam to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maintaining a bad attitude about something over time (like how crowded the pool is when you want to swim), and you’re likely to attach bad behavior to it, too. (Like never getting your swim workouts in).
→ Kick it: Try to find at least one positive thing about every workout. An over-chlorinated, unorganized pool with crappy hours doesn’t have to be an annoying morning—it can be an opportunity to practice being adaptable (a key skill for any triathlete). Try putting this positive observation in your training log (along with your interval splits.)
Oversharing your workouts
Posting every detail of your training on your favorite social media outlets is not only time consuming, it’s a veritable “boring bomb” lobbed straight into the news feeds of your friends and followers. While the intent of your posts may be to inspire others (and yourself), left unchecked it can easily turn into an unnecessary use of time—and just plain annoying.
→ Kick it: If you just can’t get away from social media, try bringing some creativity into the mix. For example, rather than posting “line items” from your training log every day, think of a goal you’d like to accomplish that week and post about it Sunday night. At the end of the week, share an update on how things went. These more concise posts will be interesting to read and still give you a sense of accountability in your training.
Leading with your injuries
When you’re doing high volume training in three sports, you’re likely to encounter an injury at some point in the training cycle. A niggle in your knee, a pulled muscle, a dull ache—whatever it is, you’re not alone. That doesn’t mean you should approach every workout with a broadcast about the obstacles you’re facing. Yes, sometimes we want to pre-qualify our performance with a disclaimer about our current condition, but by constantly talking about your injuries, you’re letting them define who you are as an athlete and enabling them to further limit your ability to perform.
→ Kick it: Approach your workouts with a focus on executing well because of your body (your strength, focus, energy, etc.), as opposed to getting through them despite your body.
Editing for convenience
Who hasn’t cut a run short or bailed on the last 400 of a swim workout in order to save some time? It’s perfectly normal to modify workouts when we’re balancing seemingly impossible schedules and doing a workout in its entirety simply isn’t always possible. The difference between editing out of necessity and editing out of convenience is subtle, but important to acknowledge. By its nature, training for a triathlon (or simply maintaining a regular exercise schedule) will inconvenience you. But that doesn’t mean you should consistently shorten workouts or skip key sessions when they don’t fit perfectly into your schedule. Over time, these “convenient” decisions will inconvenience your race goals.
→ Kick it: Focus on completing all your workouts as prescribed, whether by your coach or your training plan, and saving the modifications for times when you know your schedule will make training more difficult (i.e. on vacation, during busy times at work, or during poor weather conditions).
Label the areas you struggle with most and recommit to turning the ship around. Taking regular stock of the habits you’re forming will help you maintain greater control in many areas of your life—and perhaps next year leave you with fewer resolutions to make.
Lisa Dolbear is a three-time IRONMAN finsher, USAT Level 1 coach, and mother of two. Visit her blog on mental skills training at trimojo.com