Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Spirit of a Champion
What goes into the making of a Champion? Having the right genetic profile certainly helps if you want to win Gold at the Olympics, or win the Boston marathon, or race in the Tour De France. But we can all become a Champion of our own dreams. Champion of the local Sprint race, age group champion of a 5k, champion at cyclocross race, or champion of the group ride sprint to the stop sign, or top of Town Hall hill. It certainly takes a championship attitude just to finish an Ironman or your first 1/2 Iroman.
Some characteristics of Champions are:
I coach many athletes in pursuit of their dreams... like, qualifying for Boston, or championship events, or finishing a marathon or Ironman. It certainly takes many of the above traits and more to achieve a big dream. After racing and coaching for years, I would also add several characteristics to the list.
Direction:Having a plan, believing in it and sticking it to it will get you to your dream. Bouncing from 1 thing to the next without direction won't get you there. Realize, "your" dream may take a few years to get there, and if you fall short 1 or 2 times...you can't just give up and change focus. Stay on course, stay focused and follow the direction.
Taking Risks:Sometimes you have to do what seems impossible like...swim in the fast lane once a week , sign up for the race that seems like a long shot, invest in a "techie" piece of equipment that may offer some crucial data, or hire a coach who can do the "thinking" for you. Break out of the comfort zone, and take it to the next level, if you want to get to the next level.
Do what you hate:
Usually our weaknesses or limiters are what we aren't superbly great at. It is what is uncomfortable. These are the dreaded workouts, but the ones likely needed the most. Those limiters might just be what are keeping you from your dream. And this is what certainly separates a champion from the average....doing the ugly and dreaded, most uncomfortable pieces of the puzzles. For some, not working out or resting might be what is most awkward. Or, are you leading the race because you swim like a rock star only to be passed early on the run, and does it happen every time? Well its apparent some hard, hurting run sessions that a swimmer might no enjoy is what might hold the ticket. If the only way to get your workouts in during the week, is to get up at the crack of dawn before work and kid obligations when its dark and cold, do you do it? Its not fun, because it is so warm and comfy under the covers, but getting those workouts in during the week might be the key. I personally don't love to swim unless its a masters practice, but that isn't always an option so, I have to do what I hate and that is swim alone sometimes.
Set Demanding Goals:A champion will set goals that are a stretch and then put everything they can into reaching that goal. They might have shorter more attainable goals along the way, but the real goal is the one they are ultimately after. It is specific, and not vague. They understand the process and discipline it takes to get there.
Never Quits:Champions don't quit or give up. If it all falls apart in one practice or race it isn't the end of the dream. A champion will learn from what went wrong, make the necessary changes then move on and go for it again.
Believes:A champion never stops believing in their dream.
Do you have the spirit of a champion?