One of the many things I love about endurance training is the time we have to ourselves. Time to feel our body working hard, enjoy the environment around us and let our thoughts wander in and out. Today while riding long, I was thinking about the process. We all work hard; but I know for me, there are times I feel more motivated than others. This year has been challenging as it hasn’t been a smooth ‘flow’ of train-race-recover-repeat. When the body doesn’t fully cooperate, it’s easy to lose some motivation. However, I often find that it’s during times of adversity and setbacks that I’m forced to ask myself why I’m doing it, why it matters, and how much I’m willing to do to get back to where I want to be. Call me crazy but, I tend to embrace these challenges as much as a hard session or a competition.
So, my epiphany of today was this. Hard Work Matters. The process matters. How many times have you put in months of work only to get to race day and fall flat? And you’re left thinking “What did I do all that for…how could that happen? I was so much better in my training.” We’ve all been there. But I’ve realized that the day in-day out grind of consistency and persistence…that ‘hard work’? It doesn’t go away. The gains you make in your training, the fitness you accumulate? Your body remembers this. The mental strength rubber band you’ve stretched daily? You’re still better for it. It doesn’t mean hard work is an instant equation to success, but knowing in your heart you dug deep when it mattered, when nobody was watching, and you’ve done all in your power to be your best? It counts for something. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life, in sport, and there sure as hell aren’t guarantees on race day. Nobody owes you anything. And while confidence and past results can be incredibly powerful for future performance; ANYTHING can happen when the gun goes off. But when you step into the arena to perform, to reap the benefits of the hard work, draw upon those gains you’ve made. Use the small challenges you’ve faced the past months, weeks, years to propel you to perform; despite the adversity thrown your way (and it will be).
So this is what I’ve learned. Put the work in because you enjoy the daily challenge. Commit to the process. Be consistent. Stay positive. Put your best foot forward each day. Take confidence in the work you’ve done when nobody is watching, when nobody cares. And use this to propel you to constantly be expanding the boundaries of your success.