Being a Champion (Part I)

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This is Dave Scott.  If you know triathlon, you almost certainly know of Dave Scott.  He owned the 80’s for Ironman triathlon, as the Ironman Triathlon Hawaii Championship winner in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987.  He’s a champion.

I listened to a really powerful podcast on the way to Lexington on Saturday and this will be the first of at least a couple of posts about it.  It was the NPR TED radio hour podcast about champions. I was driving down partly as a favor to my sister, and also to see my aunt and uncle that live there and get a few miles in on some unfamiliar roads.  I was also hoping that a new rolling route would refresh my feelings and give me some inspiration… I was hoping that somehow I would end up feeling again like I can actually do this.  I was hoping to dispel the internal daemon of doubt that has hounded me lately.  I figured the ride would do this, not a podcast.  I didn’t know what to expect when I turned it on, but I knew the podcast would be about an hour, and that’s how much time I had to kill.

Here’s the link to the podcast: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/331331360/champions

One of the big things I took away from this podcast, and which is keeping me going right now is that greatness doesn’t come in one step.  People who accomplish incredible feats don’t do it by setting out to win a race or beat a world record from day 1. They are able to break down something that is much too big to take on at one time and make it into “what am I going to do right now… what is the next workout going to be… what is the next 2 hours going to be”.  If you are going to achieve greatness, it comes from setting actionable, achievable goals and accomplishing those one at a time.  Forget about the race while you train.  Think about the training while you train.  Leave the race for race day.  Bobby Knight said “The key is not the will to win… everybody has that.  It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”  Emmitt Smith said “For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.”

Today my diet is going to be great, and I’m going to do swim sprint intervals where I focus only on arm position. Then, Thursday morning I’m going to put down an hour of tempo on the trainer before I work my core.  I won’t win anything.  I won’t take seconds or minutes off of any PR.  Today and tomorrow I will accomplish actionable objectives.  I will focus on the training while I train.  I will leave the race for race day.  I may not be great or a champion today.  I may not be great or a champion tomorrow.  Today and tomorrow, though, I will do what it takes to be great.  I’ll do what champions do.

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