Conquering the pain is all about rhythm, says one 
leading triathlon competitor. *File photo
Conquering the pain is all about rhythm, says one leading triathlon competitor. *File photo

Mental preparation is undoubtedly one of the most important facets of endurance sports. 

There are many aspects to this mental preparation but as we approach the May 24 Marathon Derby I thought that  I would share some words from B78 Triathlon Coaching’s Jasper Blake, the former Ironman triathlete and Ironman Canada Champion who coaches the triathlon camp held each January in Bermuda.

Blake said: “People who do not partake in endurance challenges often wonder why anyone would put themselves through such physical and mental discomfort. I’ve always wondered how anyone can live without it.

“It struck me many years ago that there are two great mental secrets I discovered early on in my life. The first is that endurance activities are meditative.

“There is a rhythm to it all — legs moving, heart pumping, lungs expanding and contracting. If you focus on the right things your brain becomes free of its usual nonsensical chatter and becomes very peaceful. 

“The second leads from the first in that once you get to this point, the discomfort becomes something you control rather than it controlling you.

“When the mind is quiet and your body and brain are in a meditative state you can observe the discomfort and push through it. In a way you can become friends with it rather than reviling it.

“When you get to this state of mental bliss the possibilities for how hard you will push yourself are endless. You will start to find joy in the effort and peace in the process.”

So there is the lesson. On Monday, or whenever you are racing, try to do the following:

• Stay in the moment and focus on what you should be doing at any given time and don’t focus negatively on the weather, the hills ahead, the competition, whether you have done the right training, etc.

•  Say to yourself, I have done the training, I know what I need to do and am capable of doing today and I will stick to that plan.

•  Believe that not only has your training given you the tools to deal with the physical demands of the race but also developed the motivation, confidence, focus, and emotional tools to handle the mental demands of the race as well.

Good luck to all the runners on Monday.