Emotion and Training

How much do our emotions play into our training and racing performance?  I find that for me, in all my alpha male glory, I tend to hold emotions in.  Regardless of the situation.  Rarely do I show extreme highs or lows.  But I have learned to channel some of that energy, whether it’s positive or negative into my training.  Race is different for me.  Depending on the event, I am usually a tad bit nervous, my mind races with all the pre-race things I missed, the miles I didn’t log, the nutrition I cheated on (I like M&M’s what can I say) …blah blah blah.

But triathlon race days I am full of terrified energy.  So much can go wrong and yet, when you dial it all in, the day can sail by without a hitch.  Jennifer Harrison, my coach, will tell me to trust my training, and have fun.  Ok.

Training is different.  Much of the time I am training by myself.  I do have people I run and ride with but most all training is done alone.  I try and channel my emotions into that solitary performance.  Anger fuels me.  My friends joke that anger is my natural default emotion.  I will admit, it does help me get through tough workouts.  I can power through bike rides and runs when I am really bothered by stuff.  I guess the key is learning how to use how you are feeling to your advantage.  Face it, we must train, and sometimes race, when we just don’t feel like it.  Life catches up to us, and unless you are a professional athlete, life probably catches up to us more often than not. 

We see countless pictures of athletes crying or otherwise full of emotion during and after races.  I will admit, finishing big races does get to me.  Exhaustion breaks down mental barriers and it’s harder to hold in emotions I believe.  We are tired, hungry, sore in every way.  Our senses are on overdrive and sometimes it all just comes out. 

I think it’s good.  To me it is a release of all the mental prep we have carried through the day, through all our training, everything.  Letting it out in all the whoops and hollers, crying, yelling, fist pumping, chest bumping, whatever we do to release that last bit of energy, signals that we have accomplished something 98% of the planet won’t even try to do.

I look at it like I am erasing a chalkboard.  Everything up to that moment is done, no more…until training starts again! ? 

So, use it to your advantage.  Take your emotions and let them drive some of your efforts.  Sad, happy, blah, whatever.  It can work to your benefit.  And don’t be afraid to let it all out crossing the finish line.  Anyone who asks you why will never ever get it so don’t hold back!

Train hard, train smart!


Previously Fat Guy

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