The Mental Challenge of Training - IRONMAN Update

Posted On Feb 25, 2015 By Tom Holland

The Mental Challenge of Training

Here I am, roughly a month away from competing in the IRONMAN South African Championship. People who know I am racing will frequently ask, “So, how is your training going?”

Training for an IRONMAN is always difficult given the obvious time commitment involved. Add to that the challenge of training almost exclusively indoors during one of the coldest and snowiest winters in New England. Two-hour treadmill runs. Three-to-five hour stationary bike rides, where you never go anywhere. The challenge becomes much more mental than physical.

The hectic nature of my fitness consulting job also makes my training extremely challenging. I cannot stick to a regular schedule due to my ever-changing job requirements. Last-minute media contributions, interviews, and travel. I simply cannot get in the hours and miles that I would like to.

Of course there’s family and kids too. When there’s a choice between going to one of my sons’ school or sporting events or getting a workout in, the boys win out every time. Priorities and perspective.

But guess what? That’s life. It’s always unpredictable. It’s never perfect. That’s one of the great lessons learned from training for an endurance event: Make the best use of your time, stop complaining, and focus on quality over quantity. Keep moving forward.

One of the greatest lessons I learned during my Masters studies in sports psychology is that stress is a choice. Yes, a choice. Situations are not stressful in-and-of themselves; how we react to them is a process ultimately controlled by us.

So, how is my training going? Great, thank you. I’m definitely not over-trained and I am injury-free. The focus on this challenging new goal has given me the motivation to continue to better myself: to eat even better, stretch more, cross-train and yes, better myself psychologically by taking me out of my comfort zone once again.

Speaking of fitting in workouts when I can, here’s a quick video collage of me fitting in a workout while visiting the Nautilus Inc. headquarters:

Follow all of Tom’s updates as he gets ready for the IRONMAN African Championship.

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