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What Ironman Triathlon Did for my life

I was chatting with a fellow Ironman Triathlete about coaching earlier this morning and we were having a little chuckle about how your perspective changes after a season or two of ironman. You get to a place where you have a ton of mental Grit to get done (and do it well) just about anything you set your mind to. And just a ton of other wonderful things that happen. Let’s looking at this awesome list.

Mental Grit: There is something that happens when you push yourself past self imposed limitations, over and over, and learn that yes there are limits, but usually we stop way before those. I was really gifted with this two times, once in my first IM in Wisconsin during the swim portion. I had almost drowned as a child so getting to the point of being able to do the swim well without freaking the heck out was a ton of mental grit, through the whole season and race day. It’s was one of my most beautiful life moments. The other was doing the very best that I could at IMTX in 2018, where during the run it was a full moon, I was praying, and running. Running when I didn’t want to. Running when everyone else was walking. Running to chase down a time that I knew I wouldn’t get, but doing the best I could anyway.

Heal your soul: When you allow yourself get stripped down during ironman season … you see things about yourself that don’t serve you anymore. Things that you know need to evolve in order to get the astronomical task done. If you’re brave enough to face your demons and help them to heal … your soul heals. You evolve into that next best version of yourself. And it’s so much quicker than a lot of personal growth challenges. The feedback is pretty immediate. Kinda like pixie dust if you go the chops to look at it like that.

A story from my life, I almost drowned when I was little. And that was surrounded by ample amounts of childhood trauma. So the swim anxiety that I experienced during swim was of the extreme nature. Through a series of hard experiences, many failures, techniques, not giving up and a whole bunch more … I managed to move past fake it until you make it, to healing my heart. It was such a wonderful experience to complete my first ironman swim, Wisconsin Mass Swim start, probably one of the best experiences to be had, with no anxiety. That is the first time that I really grasped that I could move past my childhood issues. That I didn’t have to live a life of dealing with my crazy. Some of it I could transform into a healed cornerstone of strength.

Strong Body: If you are doing the training right, your body goes through a series of evolutions where you heal through injuries. If you have the help that you need, you end up cultivating a body that is more sound and balanced. You are left with a body that is epically strong, the mind is a metric f ton stronger and you feel invincible. You might still be a little fluffy and imperfect, but that’s really not the point.

Confidence: You have achieved something most people wouldn’t do. You’ve done something that you thought you couldn’t. You know how to approach fear and challenges and come out on top.

AND …. sometimes those things roll downhill and affect your friends, family and maybe even the little people.

#thelittlesarealwayswatching

Training for something very difficult can be very rewarding. It can be very hard and I have seen where people don’t make it. They turn and go another direction. And thats ok. You have to be READY to take on that challenge. Not feel like you are ready. Not think that you are ready. It’s a little secret that your soul shares with you, drives you forward. When you are doing something and you think to yourself … why the heck did I think this was a good idea, but somewhere in a secret place in your heart, a voice says to keep going. That READY. If you aren’t ready for the difficulties, that just means you have other work to do to get ready.

And that doesn’t mean that attempting an ironman isn’t where you do the “get ready” part. There is nothing that says that everyone will complete their mission the first time out. In fact, on paper that is just silliness. Most people that accomplish big A things fall on their face the first time.

GRACE AND GRIT: Thats what I think triathlon and ironman really gifts you with. Hopefully we all learn that we are all very capable. We are all enough. We are all FREAKING badassly awesome and we don’t have anything to prove. These hard things are just to help us learn and grow. Not prove a damn thing. Doesn’t matter if you are overweight and doing ironman. Or a pro athlete finishing first. We are all wonderful human beings that have a voice, have a story and need to SHINE our love and gifts out to the world. This is what I think ironman helps us learn how to do. At an Ironman. At life. As a parent. Spouse. Friend. This is why I tell my athletes …. train train train for the best damn finisher picture you can. This attitude is the sum total of this. To let your heart and soul shine when you FINISH your goal. When you ACCOMPLISH what you set out to do. You will look back and see that on the inside … you are soo beautiful and strong. You are enough. And you’re badass. πŸ˜‰ <3

YOU ARE AWESOME!
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How to start your “off season” well

So you are done with your season …. NOW WHAT!?!?!?!?

πŸ₯³ CELEBRATE πŸ₯³
<3 REFLECT <3

βœ… Step 1 is to to WRITE UP and race report and a season report. I love love love doing this part in my Journal One app on my ipad. Love it! I add pictures. Take the time over a week or two to get pics together and put all my thought and emotions down.

  • What did you really enjoy!? KEEP DOING THAT SH$T!
  • What didn't work so well? Objectively look at it. Think about it from a couple of different views if you can. Try not to judge yourself harshly. But it IS OK to re-experience the situation, work through the emotions a bit in order to process them. Write them down. This activity takes the power away from them. When you see it in black and white, you can look at it from a couple of different perspectives. Then decide if you need help with making changes. Or do you need help with figuring out what to do?

one side note … sometimes we don't know what we don't know. Thats why getting different eyes on the situation is a good one. For triathlon for example, maybe you feel like you just suck because your running at the end of a tri has always sucked. But … maybe you need to hear that if you were to do your electrolytes different, maybe that would totally change up that picture? Worth the ask right?!?

another side note … a LIFE TRUTH is that generally, in order to be different we need to do different. And in order to DO different, we need some different in our lives. Whatever that is. In my 15 years of coaching, I have seen over and over that until someone allows change to come, things never change. That means that you need to be teachable, coachable, open to change. Doesn't mean that you need to be all NAMASTE about the change, but that you see it and are ok with it coming and deal (hopefully well) with the uncomfortableness of change.

GOD / Universe / Life / Karma are all very faithful in giving you the next lesson. The next thing you need in order to get to that NEXT BEST VERSION of yourself. For me … these lessons are coming from Coach John and Coach D, and my kids!! <3

So … WRITE UP your race season. Your life season. From here back to the last time you did the write up or … you'll know when. REFLECT.

…. this is part of the activity of our health/performance assessments. This is how you set up for doing the next step well.

πŸ’₯πŸ’₯ SET NEW GOALS πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯
CHALLENGE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

βœ… Step 2 is about committing to doing something different. About working towards that NEXT BEST VERSION of yourself. After having spent some time in step 1 …

(and this is why goals and such don't work all that well sometimes, you skipped step 1, the connecting with your heart and soul <3 <3 <3)

You will be crystal clear on what you want to keep and what you want different. Will you know how to get there. Sometimes not. Thats why we have coaches, teachers, mentors, strangers, etc. While I think books are ok … they don't have a lot of ENERGY and JUJU in them. People do. So if you are particularly stubborn and think you can do all this yourself … well, I'd challenge you to look back historically and see how well you do change and personal evolution by yourself. You are biased. ;) hehehe.

Seriously though. We need each other. Our tribe.

The things you want different …. less sucky runs, drop some belly weight, faster on the bike, take on a LONG race … it's time to set the goals. High level goals. Then start to break it down. And if you aren't sure how to get there. Don't lower the goal. Go get help.

βœ… NUTRITION
EVERYONE can stand to look at nutrition and work to make changes. If you are considering a long distance race season, it's stupid smart to work on nutrition, body systems (example - hormonal balance), etc. Things to work on in the off season …

Sleep better (hormonal)
Gut health
belly fat / brain fog (hormonal)
Drop stubborn weight (hormonal)
Do better at fat burning
Decrease anxiety/depression (hormonal)

βœ… STRENGTH
WE MUST DO THIS. If you want to be injury free.

(as most of us aren't spring chickens πŸ₯πŸ₯ πŸ₯ and already have out of whack things going on…)

Strength training is key for being a well rounded and injury free athlete. It's a great time in the "off season" to learn some of the basics of smart and balanced strength training for runners and triathletes. If you consider the motions of running and triathlon, you can see the common sense need for good/smart strength training. To be faster. and to remain injury free. Or get there. Admittedly it is not the easiest thing to do to balance strength training with endurance. It's a skill and hard to do during the season. Our athletes spend the off season cultivating change, balance, strength and skill so when they get to the big season and sneaking up on their A RACE, they are in a great spot to be more aggressive, know what they are doing and change navigate it all. Plus … they are learning that they can focus more on strength work at the expense of all the time for endurance. With the same or better results in performance and happiness. IT WORKS!

βœ…SPEED / TECHNIQUE
WHO doesn't what to be faster?! You have to really get outside the comfort zone to accomplish this. (though strength training is probably the quickest way to get faster once you've reached a certain level of technique).

INTERVALS (with good fueling and hydration practices)
Drills to change the way you do things.

Sometimes you don't need to work harder, you need to be more efficient. Doing this work in the off season is S M A R T!! Say you decided you want to take on IM Wisconsin! OK!! Cool. Now you need hill climbing legs! How do you get those? You start in the off season because doing both speed / technique work and endurance is a lot to ask. If you spend the off season cultivating change you get to the A RACE season more prepared to KICK TAIL.

You know what this buys you? LESS ANXIETY about your race, your training, yourself and what not. So that means a happier experience. For you. (and those around you).

Do you now where you are? Do you know where you want to be? Do you know how to get there? If you want help, we do free athlete health/performance assessments. It's an online form you complete and a phone call with a follow up email with recommendations and resources, and coaching options if you'd like. Easy Peasy. No Strings. Our gift to the community.

What is your off season going to look like?
Free Athlete Health/Performance Assessment
πŸŒŸπŸ‘‰πŸ» www.bonniekissinger.com/aha

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