1/21/16

Let go of your psychological safety net


As a lifelong athlete, I have found that when I train my mind as hard as I train my body, I perform well, often exceeding my personal expectations.  

However, mental training is easier said than done!
There have been many times in training and racing when my mind just wasn't in it to win it!
In the past few yeas, I have actually had to work on my mental strength as I was finding my mind to be a major limiter with my training as it relates to the following:
-Overcoming injuries - a fear of an injury coming back, having fear when pushing hard or going long
-Bringing my work/life to a training session - not being 100% present during a workout and thinking about everything that I need to/should do

I've really worked hard on these areas over the past few years so that I can execute better in my training sessions. 

When athletes talk mental strength, I believe many athletes think toughness, digging deep, grit, perseverance. Absolutely, all of those components are important when it comes executing well on race day and in training.

But mental training is so much more than being hard core in the mind.

I think a great component of mental training is learning how to get through specific situations that may be keeping you from making the progress that you feel you should be making.
And sometimes, your biggest limiter may be that you think you can't get any better as an athlete!

Mental training isn't limited to your workouts or races.

A tough situation could be your relationship with your spouse/significant other, anxiety over a health issue (in a family member or pet), your job/career, a family member/child, relationship with your coach, lifestyle habits, past experiences......there is so much that could potentially affect your emotional resilience.
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Many athletes create a team when it comes to training for a race and this team often includes a coach, bike mechanic, sport dietitian and a massage therapist/PT.
But how many athletes actually reach out to a sport psychologist for help? 

Sometimes you really need a professional/expert to guide you (the athlete) in your thoughts as it can be difficult to understand what specific barriers are in your mind and how they can/will affect how you perform on race day.

Having said all of this....
I feel so lucky to have Gloria in my life because she knows exactly what to say, when it needs to be said.



Gloria is a very close friend of mine but also a clinical sport psychologist who has helped me through so many situations in my life, personal and athletic.

Plus, her dog Frida kinda looks like Campy so it was kinda like we were always meant to be best friends....even though we live on opposite coasts. 

In Gloria's latest blog post, Psychological Safety Net, she writes about a topic that I feel so many athletes can relate to and should understand.
I could not resist the opportunity to share this great article with you. 


Here is a little from her fantastic blog post: 

There is a term in psychology that we call self-handicapping. Self-handicapping is a sneaky psychological safety net that athletes can get caught up in if they are not careful or honest with themselves.
Many athletes hold on to their psychological safety net (self-handicapping patterns) for many reasons, but the big ones – fear of failure, ego deflation, disappointment, failure to meet expectations, perfectionism, poor distress tolerance, fear of risking taking, staying in the comfort zone, lack of follow through/inconsistent training behaviors and falling into comparisons.



Check out the rest of the article to learn more and be sure to read her many examples of Psychological Safety Nets.

Do any of her psychological safety net examples apply to you?

How will you break your safety net?