4 Essential Motivational Lessons

Triathlon is a physical and mental sport.  It takes a strong body and an equally strong mind to pull off elite performance.  Sometimes our mental focus can suffer during our day to day grind, and we may feel unmotivated to simply get through a simple training session.  I've always found that the wisdom of others has been a strength to me during moments of psychological weakness.

The following are 4 motivational quotes that are essential for every triathlete to know and understand:

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Always Room For Improvement

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest.  'Til your good is better and your better is best."                                                                                                                             - St. Jerome

There's always some improvement to be made.  This may sound, at first, as an un-motivational quote.  If there is always improvement that can be made, we may feel we will never reach our true potential. But that is utterly false!

Everyone has room to improve. Yes, even Gomez, Jorgenson and the Brownlee brothers have improvements that can be made.  That is why they train.  That is why they are committed to their craft.  They know that even the smallest of improvements can be made, and that those tiny improvements can bring them amazing results.  Once you realize that no one is exempt from working towards perfection, it is easier to see yourself as a capable athlete who is also on that same path of self-mastery.  You are on the same path of self-mastery as any professional or elite athlete.

Without the aim to better ones' self, there is not much purpose to training or racing.  Set goals, make a plan of action, and then continue along that difficult road of self-mastery.  Don't settle for good, strive to be the best YOU can be.


It's All in How You React

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."                                                                                                                             - Charles R. Swindoll

This is a common one; one I've heard a lot as of late.  It's interesting.  Bad things are going to happen to everyone.  The yearly training cycle has it's disappointments nearly every year:  an injury here, a week or two of illness there.  Sometimes greater tragedy occurs, and we find ourselves in difficult situations and circumstances.  

The question is not whether we will be afflicted by these downfalls and tragedies or not, but WHAT we do WHEN they happen.  Get up, brush yourself off, and make adjustments to your newly found circumstances.  Greatness is not stumbled upon; it's created.  It's created out of the ashes of heartache, tragedy, hardship and adversity.  We can either let those moments beat us down and allow us to become weak, or we can turn those experiences into moments of learning, growth, self-discovery and triumph.  

When we realize that this is literally our choice; we can then choose the direction we want our lives to move in.


Invest in Your Future

"Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."                                                                                                                       -Og Mandino

This is an important one for endurance athletes to understand.  Better yet, this one is critical for endurance athletes to live.  Most triathletes do understand the importance of looking ahead to the future and seeing the bigger picture.  After all, we are in the midst of the winter months, and preparing in training to race at full potential months from now.  But I strongly believe that the majority of athletes out there are more concerned about the here and now, than the months and years ahead.

Remember that what we do with our time now will have a great impact on what our season will become in the months and years to follow.  Make excuses and short-cut your training sessions, and you will reap what you sow in the upcoming season.  There is no short-cut to amazing performances and celebrated success.  It will all come down to what you have done.

Like a field with insufficient care failing to produce a crop, the slothful athlete will be insufficiently prepared to tackle the demands of racing when next season inevitably approaches.


The Snow Ball Effect

"It always seems impossible until it's done."                                                                                                                                     - Nelson Mandela

From the inspirational Nelson Mandela comes an insight into the key to success.  If you want success in whatever you are doing, you need to grab hold of smaller successes and build upon them.

Think about your hopes and dreams within the sport of triathlon.  Do you have plans to make an Olympic Team, represent your country at a World Championship, or simply to represent yourself in achieving personal bests. It really doesn't matter what the goal, often those dreams and visions seem nearly impossible.  This is why creating short and medium term goals are so important.  Take those small victories and convert them into momentum.  Build upon them and take pride in them.  Allow those successes to boost your confidence and push you towards your larger goals.  

If you truly learn to thrive off of the small victories in life, you will awake one day to suddenly realize that you have done what you thought was nearly impossible. You will be amazed by the things you can accomplish when you allow yourself to simply move from one goal to the next.

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Coach  Kyle Jensen Triathlon


Kyle Jensen is a B.Sc. Kin., CPT, NCCP Competitive triathlon coach from Calgary, AB.  Kyle is the Head Coach of the Kronos Triathlon Club and T1Triathlon.