What inspires me to shave 0.3 seconds off my already excruciatingly painful 6k split pace on the Concept2 Indoor Rower? What motivates me to add another 10 lbs. to an unwieldy back-squat bar? Obviously, 2012 Olympic Team selection is lurking in upcoming months, which is helpful. However, I’m referring to the decision that must be made in the heat of the moment to lay it out there or not.
As National Team athletes, we are in an ever-present competitive state within our training group. Truthfully, it is relentless. And trust me, many days my sheer willpower to be at the top of the pack is my main motivator. Even at the elite level, surrounded by the best of the best, it is still possible to get stuck in a rut and just muddle through the practice motions, relying on the fact that there is always another practice, always another year, always another chance to prove yourself. These messages are personal sabotage.
Here are my tips and tricks to finding another level during workouts:
- Visualize the work my opponent is putting in (I won’t name names…).
- Play songs on my iPod that have happy significance in my life—my favorite concert in Austin, my Mom’s fave Black Eyed Peas song, great high school memories.
- Visualize the final erg score I want to see at the remainder of the erg piece.
- Systematically repeat positive words of encouragement throughout the workout at certain milestones.
- And here’s the big one, I remind myself that “pain is temporary, results are forever.”
To those Concept2 athletes who are devotedly pulling yourselves out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to erg in your basement or dragging yourself to rowing practice at a club (in the dark) before work… congrats for making it onto the machine. The next step is to seize the opportunity you have in that moment! Set challenging goals and make the commitment to yourself to go for it and cross the threshold. You’ll be glad you did.
Keep strong and carry on.