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Some highs and lows of big challenges

Just this morning I was chatting with a girl who is about to swim the English Channel next week as part of a relay team. Although she has done all the training that was suggested by her coach, she was saying that she felt she had not done enough.

How many of you have felt like you have not done enough … just days before a big event?

I suspect there are many, like this girl, whose nerves are starting to get bigger and the fears starting to grow just before the big day. I reassured her that because she had done all the training that was suggested, she could trust her coach and trust the training program that was suggested!

I also reassured her that her reaction was normal and almost to be expected before any such big challenge. Yet rather than letting those nerves and fears get bigger, I encouraged her to focus on the positives and focus on the end result of what it will mean when she DOES complete this challenge! By focusing on the end result, on all the benefits she will gain, and all those ‘feel good feelings’ she will have; she will more easily be able to get to the start excited rather than nervous.

I also suggested using some visualisation techniques. By imagining herself doing the swim, and completing it, and making the images as detailed and vivid as possible; she could help herself to actually do it. One study showed there was a 13.5% increase in muscle strength by weight lifters simply by imaging themselves doing the exercise. There was a 30% increase for those athletes who actually did the exercises. So, this swimmer could improve her performance by 13.5% simply by imagining her efforts!

Then there are the lows … I was also chatting with another girl last night who has had to withdraw from the London Triathlon this weekend due to a health issue that happened last week. After 12 weeks of focused training, she will not be competing. I encouraged her to focus on the things that she can feel good about … like taking care of her health as a priority over doing something simply because she had signed up for it.

I also encouraged her to pick another goal later in the season which would give her time to ensure her health is more robust and take advantage of all the great training she has completed so far!

In sports, as in life, there are many highs and lows. There are times when we are excited, yet somewhat nervous, about what we are about to do just as there are times when we are disappointed not to be able to do the things that we want to due to injury or ill health. Yet, by putting things into perspective of the big picture of our lives can help us get through those highs and lows!

When you look at your goals, how do they fit in with everything else in your life?

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