Before you scream "why me?" when you find yourself angry, crying or stressed (or all three at once), what you feel is completely normal and not limited to world class, professional or elite athletes.
Every athlete has the opportunity to improve on weaknesses, experience gains in fitness and succeed on race day, so it is important to learn how to get your feelings under control.
12 weeks out from a race and you may find yourself skipping workouts, not sticking to your training plan or struggling to get your butt out of bed in the morning (or get to the gym after work). But 4 weeks out from your race, you realize that you can not change the past and all of a sudden, you feel unstoppable and it's no trouble to easily check off every workout on your training plan.
Monday through Friday, you can't seem to find your mojobut come the weekend, you can knock out hours and hours of training and still crave more.
And ask any triathlete who spectates or watches a triathlon race online (especially Kona) and within 24 hours, you can go from having no motivation to finding an enormous amount of energy to do the work....even when you haven't changed anything else in your life (ex. you are still busy, tired, stressed, etc.).
The immediate vulnerability that an athlete experiences before, during and after training often causes an athlete to intentionally underfuel or to use food as a reward. The big problem with this is that the times when the body is under the most stress (training/working out) is when the body needs appropriate nutrients, fluids, calories and fuel to meet metabolic demands. But for an athlete who has a poor relationship with his/her body, seeks body composition changes or lacks the education on how to properly fuel for workouts, will sabotage the workout and health by not taking advantage of fueling the body in motion.
On the flip side, there is often the tendency for athletes to carry poor eating habits in their daily life while training for an event which often creates negative internal dialogue, creating an unhealthy relationship with food. Examples include "I shouldn't be eating this, I'll be better tomorrow, I wish I didn't eat that, I feel so gross/fat, I'm being so bad". In this instance, you absolutely do not want to let emotional eating sabotage your performance, energy, health or body composition.
An injured athlete often goes through several stages to cope with the injury diagnosis, rehab and recovery process that often resembles grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Depending on what stage an athlete is in after the injury occurs, this can often dictate how the athlete will manage his/her emotions relating to the injury and recovery process.
Did you know that you can be nervous and confident at the same time?
Did you know that you feel ready and be worried at the same time?
Did you know that you can feel off but still perform well?
You may think that the training is tough leading up to a race but sports also test your emotional stability.
Feelings and actions are two different things and as athletes, we need to learn how to calm the feelings that may negatively affect our performance and instead, hold on to the feelings that help us enhance our performance.
Emotions are part of being an athlete and it is important that you learn how to embrace the nerves, anxieties, fears and concerns and bottle up the good vibes, confidence and excitement for seeing what your body can do on race day.
Training is fun and exciting but also it is challenging and exhausting.
With every training journey, you are in a chapter of your life.
Make it a good one!