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Cry Me A River

How many times did we hear “cry me a river” growing up. I know I did, a lot; my dad was a “rub some dirt on it” kind of guy. We were taught to move on, and move on quickly.  There are multiple deliveries of the same saying, and mine were most often met with an eye roll. 

Never ever did I think those childhood moments would come back and play a pivotal role in my adult sport life, if you want to call it that. 

We see it all the time in sports: golf, football, basketball, and yes, even triathlon.  In golf it usually shows face when a player three putts, and then pulls out a diver and “goes for it” on the next fairway. Now, more times than naught the player deep down knows he should hit three wood, put it in the fairway, and “move on”. Nope!  Let’s get that shot back that we lost on the last green ASAP. Mr. Golfer, cry me a river on that three putt, do the hard thing, which is not always easy, and take the three wood out and move on. 

In basketball, it’s more of the same story. You miss the layup at one end. CRAP!  I NEVER MISS A LAYUP!  Bound and determined to get those “points back”, the player will play harder and more aggressively, and nine times out of ten get a foul, sending the opposite team to the foul line. 

Now to endurance sports or triathlon. Yup!  We do it there too, all of us. 

One thing I preach to my athletes is rolling with the punches and compartmentalize the race.  Now the hard part, how do we do that.  Well, here are a couple things I suggest: 

1) Control what you can control. Nutrition, pacing, general attitude is something each one of us have individual control over.  You can never control the wind, heat, humidity, rain, or even snow. It’s also important to realize that not every day is going to be your day. 

2) Always be gathering data points. Think it’s windy, ask someone you're biking next too.  Think the swim was long or rough, ask another athlete around you in transition.  Power a little lower, well, are you riding into a head wind?

3) Break the race down into manageable portions. Break the swim down buoy to buoy, or count strokes. Break the bike course down into segments, and think “ok, from mile 10-20, focus on cadence and heart rate”. On the run, think about running your pace to the next aid station.

4) For gosh sakes, practice the active thought of crying rivers, and not crying oceans during training. Rides with transition runs are great way to practice. Can’t hit your numbers in a ride, or if those numbers are a lot lower than previous marks. Cool. You better get out there and start running. 

The mental game of sport is something we all can practice or think about more than we all do. So next time your long ride doesn’t go well, cool, now go have a good run. If the run stinks too, cool. There’s always the next workout. 

~Brad Strater - QT2 Coach

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