For a year now I've been working one to one with a particular athlete on their mental approach to racing and training and how these mesh with the rest of their life.
The progress has been remarkable and this weekend marks a serious landmark in this athlete's progression.
If I could pass on what we have both learnt along the journey it is to:
Plan like your life depends on it and spend great time writing everything down and digesting a well drafted journey with way markers along the way. Sit back and dwell on the paper and all the feelings it makes you have as you look at your lofty goals there in front of you. Then snap the pencil, throw away the paper and begin training with such reckless enjoyment that it brings you back to why you started all this in the first place when you first felt the rush. Then sit back and dwell on that.
When you reach race day it's really just the outputting of the results of all that fun. Filled with the glow of goals acheievd with minimum pressure the utopian state of flow is reached. The door to the state of flow is opened with one key : The smile.
The persistent smile on race day confuses competitors. Not just because it undermines their own fears and competitive urges but because it steadfastly says " I conceieved my goal, I believed in my goal and now I will achieve my goal."
Conceive, beleive, acheieve.
But once you've put down your pencil put down with it the sense that you MUST acheieve. Will and MUST are too very different things.
If the athlete in question is reading this, keep smiling and have a great weekend.