This week, I have been reminded of the need to properly invest in the body. You can’t prepare for everything, but you can plan for most.
I am bunkered down at home nursing a swollen face, post dental surgery. I will spare the details but it hasn’t been fun and as a consequence I cannot race this weekend at Challenge Gold Coast. For that I am a bit gutted because I have been looking forward to this race for some time now!
This is my fault. It is a puzzle that I could have solved, easily.
I can come up with a list of where to place blame. Damn those sports nutrition companies and their cleverly marketed highly sugared gels. But ultimately the blame is mine to own. It would be no different if I was lying in bed with a torn calf muscle, weakened immune system or any other avoidable affliction.
At the end of the day, that is the reality that I created.
Sounds harsh. But the truth always does.
My mistake? Ignoring things that I could have changed. Pretending that the pain I was experiencing was nothing and my intuitions incorrect (they are almost always right). What is worse is that I have had ample opportunity to avoid the reality I now face. Plenty of chances to take immediate and responsive action.
Instead I chose NOT to invest in my own health; the very thing that keeps my body doing the awesome things that I like to do.
As I have been pondering this, I cannot help but think that most athletes are terrible at investing in their bodies. In fact, of all the things we like to spend our money and time on, maintaining a highly functioning body seems to slip from the top of the list.
We love spending money on gadgets, and toys – all good things to have sometimes. But we tend to forget what the best piece of equipment really is.
Athletes tend to be reactive when it comes to health. Why wait until a muscle is torn, or your adrenals depleted to take action? Why not do secure your investment and it’s longevity by taking simple steps (daily, weekly) to ensure your investment provides the greatest possible return.
By now – if you read these pages often – you will have learned that training isn’t everything. It is only part of the puzzle. And the pieces that relate to training are completely reliant on the pieces that relate to health. Think of your health as the corner-pices of a puzzle, or even the edges. Have you ever tried building a puzzle from the centre?
No, you start with the easily identifiable edges and corners. Then you define the general picture, before filling in the middle pieces.
Your training is the middle piece. Without them you have no puzzle. Without the maintenance of health, you have no puzzle. You need all of those pieces to complete the puzzle.
And at the very end of the day, there is on;y one person responsible for the completion of that puzzle. ok people like Kristian and myself exist to help athlete find the right pieces, but at the ned of the day…
It is YOUR responsibility.
Your health, is your choice. If you choose to focus on simply curing things when they occur, rather then taking preventative measures, the you are doomed to fail. As a coach this frustrates me. Why wait until an injury occurs when it could have been prevented weeks ago? And word, blame everyone else but yourself.
Don’t worry, I am guilty of this myself.
It is easier to blame everything and everyone; it is reactive. It is much harder to take the ownership and admit that you are where you are because of choices you made. That sting stye ego, no doubt. But reality is reality.
But, it isn’t forever. And you can do thing sot change your situation. Sure you might be injured, sick, or performing poorly now, nut there are thing stat you can do – immediately – to start turning it around. Of course it start with the right attitude. But from there you need to acknowledge the fact that if you are in tis situation, and it isn’t new to you (you have been here before) then you need to address what you need to change.
Change is hard for people. Especially triathletes. We love our routine, our discipline and our regimen. We attach ourselves so strongly to this that sometimes we lose focus. We get so caught up in train train train that we lose sight of the very things that allow us to do so.
But if you are stuck in that cycle of sometimes ok, sometimes not, and everywhere in between. Then you have to be prepared to change. This could mean changing your behaviour, your expectations, or the way you go about things. If you change nothing – then what will happen? Nothing.
But if you change habits and behaviours then you start to be the athlete that you want to be. It is always a choice.
But like I said – it starts with taking responsibility. We have said this many times: OWN IT. Your body, your health, your performance. Don’t shirk that responsibility.
Pro athletes are great at this. The best in any sport are the ones that are meticulous with their health and ensuring that they are doing the right things. The argument that they have more time isn’t really valid in my eyes. Everyone has 24 hours to use. It is always how you choose to use that time that matters most. And if you want something bad enough, you will find the time.
So if your puzzle looks jumbled and unrecognisable, start focusing on the corner pieces – sleep, recovery, nutrition, hydration. Make those your priority. The rest of the pieces will follow from there.