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24 September 2017 One Comment

Persistence prevails when all else fails

Too many of us expect to achieve our goals, our targets, too soon. Patience is not all that common amongst the triathlon community. Most of us want it now. I’ve stated before, you can’t hurry biology. Improvement in endurance sport will not happen overnight, it’s a long term plan.

I used to train with a group years ago, in that group I met a guy who really was not your typical endurance athlete. You would not say he was a gifted athlete, but he loved the training, he loved the camaraderie of the group. The members of the group loved him. He was a popular member of the squad who was always there.

I watched that guy not miss one training session for two years. Other’s would find excuses here and there, some legitimate ones, some pretty weak. Even when our mate had a party to go to, or had to work late, he still managed to make it to training. It became a real important part of his image, people started to compliment him on his persistence. This made him more determined to never miss a session.

Through his obsession for the perfect attendance record, he started to advance through the squad. He was never going to be a star, he started right at the back of the squad, the slowest at each discipline. At first the only thing he was good at was turning up for every session.

We’ve all heard the saying, “the more work you do, the more talent you uncover”. Well that’s exactly what we were witnessing. I watched Ronnie do his first Olympic Distance triathlon in over three hours. Each time he raced, he nibbled a bit more time off that. He eventually posted a PB of  2.15 for an OD triathlon. Along that way his body had changed dramatically, he started out not looking at all like an athlete, but transformed himself with pure hard work and persistence.

While Ronnie was working away at his own task, not too worried about what anyone else was doing, I saw many more talented athletes come along, train with the group for three months or even a year before giving it away, and moving onto whatever they did next.

I’ve coached a lot of athletes who lost the belief that they would reach their ultimate goal, many of them only months away from achieving it. Once the belief is lost, it’s rare for it to return. If only those athletes had of taken a longer term view, if only they were more patient, I’d say most would have achieved their ultimate goal.

The road to the top is never one straight climb, there are ups and downs along the way, minor setbacks. These setbacks are tests to see how much you want it. Accept the tests, never lose sight of the major goal, be persistent.

Persistence prevails when all else fails

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