Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Time Management is Key

When I first competed in the Ironman in 1984, people used to say to me, “Wow that’s amazing,” or “I couldn’t do that.” I used to say, “everyone can do the Ironman - all it takes is dedication.” As I’ve started training again in the past 2 years, along with traveling and working, I’ve become very empathetic towards the general population and what they have to go through to achieve a goal physically. I’ve learned that my statement that “anyone can do an Ironman” is absolutely untrue. It’s become evident to me that I’m working very hard to get back in Ironman shape and it’s not going how I expected.

My wife said, “I think you thought you were going to say you were going to do an Ironman and then go out and do one.” What’s happened to me is that I’ve realized that it really takes a tremendous amount of consistency. I’ll be doing great for two weeks in a row and then I have to travel and I won’t have a bike available, or a swimming pool available. I’m becoming more aware of what our patients go through.

This realization has helped me to reevaluate how Cenegenics needs to design programs. This training has forced me to understand how hard it is to set a goal, want to achieve it, be physically capable, but not have the ability to control your time. Time management is much more critical than I’ve believed it was.

I’ve always been able to get up early and train, but now I have things to do in the morning – getting on a plane at 5 am, etc. All of those things interfere with training and your goals. I’ve learned that the key to setting a goal and achieving it, is to be patient and kind to yourself and to also realize that unless you can find a way to give something up, it’s going to be difficult at times to achieve a goal like doing the Ironman.

When you think about it, 26.2 years later, is turning into 28 years later. As I say to my wife, “as strong as my mind is, sometimes my body just can’t do it anymore.” I can think that I can swim faster, or ride faster, but my legs aren’t telling me the same message. That’s never happened to me before. I’m experiencing something unique, in that, when I first did the Ironman, the reason I was able to do it was because I had the time and I was 30 years younger. My recovery and my ability to handle those things is different now than it was then. What I’m finding out is I need much more discipline now than I did when I did the Ironman years ago, even for my training. If I miss a workout, I can’t get upset. I just have to realize that I missed it and find out how to fit my training in somewhere else if I can. With my work schedule and life being as full as it is, I just can’t always meet my schedules.

My message is that doing the Ironman is achievable for anyone, but it’s going to take, even for me, a lot more discipline than I thought it would. I feel more humbled by this experience than I have in the past. I’ve learned that if you want to grow as an athlete and as a human being, you have to learn to be resilient, but you also need to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself, more than physically and emotionally, and when you don’t have the time, you just don’t have the time.

Now that I have a coach, my coach is saying, “Well it doesn’t look like you’re able to meet your workouts.”  And I say, “there’s just no way.” That’s a very unique thing for me to say. I used to think, “of course you can do it, just work harder.” The truth is, for the general population, it’s not about working harder or smarter, it’s about realizing that you can achieve your goals, but the goals are sometimes a lot harder than you anticipated. Just realize that you may have to start gently and it may take you longer. I thought by January of 2013, I’d be back in Ironman shape, but the truth is, that’s not probable. It’s going to take me the full 8 months to get in shape, and then the event is going to be like a new experience. Having done it before, I have the advantage of knowing I can do it, for the people that have never done it, I’m sure they would say they couldn’t do it. I know I can do it, I just may not be as fast as I want to be and it may not be easy as I want it to be, but it’s still the goal that I’m more and more committed to achieving.

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