Lessons from an Olympian

As I mentioned the other day, I had the amazing opportunity to spend nearly half a day training with a former Olympian. How this was not an event that charged $500 for participating, I have no idea; the event was in fact FREE. What I can tell you is that I learned SO much last Saturday. Here's how it went down.

HFP Racing is the organizer for a the Giant Eagle Multisport Festival coming up July 30-31 in downtown Columbus. Leading up to the event, HFP and roll: have sponsored a few tri clinics. This past Saturday was the final of those clinics and was hosted by Victor Plata and Daniel Smith. Victor was a member of the US Olympic team in 2004 for Triathlon. Daniel is one of Ohio's premier triathlon coaches.

I could summarize each and everything we did, but I think the most impactful way to share Saturday's experience is to give you the two big points I took away.

Victor taught us that to be successful in triathlon, you must have The Three P's:

Passion - Persistence - Patience

You always have to remember why you love the sport - when you get caught up in training, missed PRs, injuries, setbacks, etc - think back to why you started. Revisit that passion to get your charge again! As for persistence, you'll be successful if you stick with it. It's not something you can half ass. But you also have to be patient. You aren't going to be the best triathlete you can be the first time you step out on the course - or the second - or the third. Be patient. With passion and persistence, you will succeed. The three P's will be something that stick with me for a very long time.

The next big lesson I learned was about positive self talk. Victor had a mantra that worked well for him:

"I'm strong, I'm fast, I'm built to last."

He had us repeat this mantra numerous times - even on the beach at full volume!!! After speaking with a coworker of mine after the event, he reiterated to me that during his marathon training he did the same thing. He had a few select phrases he constantly repeated in his mind - "I trained for this. I am ready. I will meet my goals."

While it seems silly, it works. I tested it out yesterday. In swim class, I had yet to swim over 200m at one time without stopping. I decided to try and swim 500 m without stopping in the pool yesterday. The whole time I repeated my version of Victor's mantra - stolen a bit from Sir Mix a Lot - "I'm long, I'm strong, I'm about to get the friction on." Yes, that is what I told myself. It helped me relax, smile, and reassured my inner demons that I am indeed extending my stroke (long), I have prepared (strong), and I am breaking the water to easy my way through (gettin my friction on). As silly as it may be - I got through that 500, took a 2 minute break and swam ANOTHER 500. Positive self talk works, my friends.

The quick summary of the day went something like this: met at the store, Victor told us about his journey in triathlon; we biked to Alum Creek's beach in the most urban ride and illegal bike group I have ever been in (we broke many traffic laws), we worked on transitions (helmet on, helmet off), we worked on swim starts, dolphining, buoy turns, and VO2 max workouts/interval training. What was supposed to be three hours turned into more like 5 hours - absolutely awesome.

I am so grateful to HFP and roll: for putting on this clinic - meeting Victor and Dan was just awesome. They were SO friendly and SO helpful. This was an experience that I will remember for a very long time.
The group! I'm on the top row, second lady from the right :-)


Christy said...

Sounds like an awesome opportunity!!!

Colleen said...

Hey! Thanks so much for the comment on my blog! I've added your blog to my following - yay! You are too sweet... I wish I could have met you on Sunday. I'm glad that I was nice to you and said thanks... I try to be polite, even when things aren't going so well! :) it's the least I can do!

Sounds like the clinic was awesome! Nothing better than getting advice from an expert! :)

Ms. Duffy said...

That sounds amazing.

Matty O said...

Love the self talk. I usually use self criticism to kick myself in the ass to make me go harder haha.

Good stuff all around, I love good wholesome people who go around and support the athletic community! Good people for sure :)

Remember, training is 90% mental :)

Heather-O said...

Sounds like the clinic was awesome! I'm glad you were able to take such a positive experience from it. AND already seeing improvements from it it awesome! Keep up the great work!