COACH & PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

The team has been on fire over the past 12 months. But just like our athletes, it doesn’t come overnight, it comes after consistent hard work, by putting in the hours, by continually learning, growing and developing. It is a dedication to long term growth and performance. And over the weekend Coach Sarah Mulkearns was awarded VICTORIA’S COACH OF THE YEAR at the Aus Triathlon Victorian Annual Awards Ceremony.

“I’m a modest and humble person at heart, but to say I am chuffed with this one is an understatement. We certainly don’t coach for the accolades, we coach for our athletes. So I am filled with gratitude to receive this recognition on behalf of myself and the athletes I work with. I couldn’t be here without the amazing athletes and individuals that I work with on a daily basis – it’s never just an individual effort, it’s a team effort.”

Complete Per4mance Coaching is a boutique coaching service, and is spearheaded by Coach Sarah, who only works with 25-30athletes at any given time. So to be recognised for this award is an achievement in itself amongst her fellow coaching peers.


Also adding to the weekend was another amazing performance from athlete Regan Hollioake who went two from two in her first year as a professional triathlete. Regan won the female PRO race at Challenge Korea in a time of 8:39.52, solidifying her super consistent and strong start to her professional career.

Rounding out the weekend, Regan added to her medal tally at the Victorian Awards as she took home MOST INSPIRING PERFORMANCE as well as 30-34Y FEMALE STATE SERIES CHAMPION, before she made her transition to the professional ranks earlier this year.

” I’m so honoured to receive Most Inspiring Performance Award. To be a source of inspiration to other girls and women within the sport, which traditionally has been male dominated in terms of participation, fills me with such pride. It is my goal to give back to the world of triathlon – more than I take. And if my journey inspires another to have a go, to use triathlon as a vehicle to being physically active, then I would deem it a success. I’m so thankful to this sport for enriching my life and hope that I can help others discover the value also.”

Regan’s words speaks volume to her character, and we know that this is just the start or an amazing journey she is on.

RACING MOTIVATION… A COACH/ ATHLETE PERSPECTIVE

WHY DO YOU RACE?

I love racing. I do. I love the feeling of pushing my body to it’s limits, against every other athlete out there on the day and seeing where that lands me.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been competitive. No matter the sport. I don’t generally half @arse things. I go all in, otherwise I’m out. Growing up I played team sports, netball and basketball both at a high level, and I had a dabble at soccer too. I love the competitiveness, and I love winning.

Then came along triathlon in my 20’s and I went all in there. Wanting to learn the craft, finding out how hard I could push my body and what result that would bring on race day. I would thrive off racing, and I didn’t want to settle. I was by and large ‘all in’. Racing results were my main motivation for training. And I’ve done that for 15 years, with some great success, but not with a LOT of hard work. I trained to race and I thrived off that.

BUT over the past 12 months or so, racing hasn’t been my main motivator for training anymore.

I still train every day. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. I still put myself through sessions that I give to my athletes so I know what they feel like / should feel like. I still like pushing myself and setting myself goals and challenges. I love the feeling of feeling fit, and healthy.

But I don’t actually have the drive to want to race to win anymore. I know I could. Because I’m stubborn like that. And I know if I wanted to, I could. But I don’t. I’ve still dabbled in running and cycling and triathlon races, but not with as much focus or as much gusto. Old me would not have raced, if I wasn’t fit and strong enough to give it my best, I wouldn’t have put myself on the start line.

And it has been hard to reconcile in my head at times. My last ‘competitive’ race was Port Macquarie Half Ironman in 2022. I finished 4th in my age group, as a full time coach, and full time mum to a 3 & 4 year old. Before that, it was 2 years prior at Geelong Half Ironman where I qualified for the Half Ironman World Champs. (Ironically being held this year in New Zealand) with a 1 & 2 year old. That was tough, but oh so satisfying!

Back then all I wanted to do was win. And I was fully engrossed in it. My whole identity was wrapped up in it. I prioritised training and racing to win over just about everything else in my life. I just wanted to WIN. Until I didn’t want to anymore…..

I saw a post a couple of years ago by another coach and it said something along the lines of a coach must be able to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. And it didn’t sit well with me. But at the same time I was like, shit I better keep racing to be able to ‘prove’ that I can and prove that I can coach – BUT then it dawned on me. The two are mutually exclusive, they don’t have to go hand in hand. Sometimes they do – which I’ve done for years. But they certainly don’t have to and we all know LOTS of successful coaches that don’t race at a high level anymore – or at all. So, with that, over the last couple of years as things have shifted, my mindset shifted and so did my priorities.

I am always saying to athletes that intrinsic motivation should be first and foremost. Of course use extrinsic motivation to aid you, to continue to drive you to be better, but your main motivator should come from within. Yet here I was, using a post I came across on facebook and the perception I thought others must have of me to continue to drive me. But like most people who rely on extrinsic motivation, that can often only last for so long….

When I had our first born (nearly 7 years ago) I wanted / needed to get back racing. I didn’t want to loose that identity as an ‘athlete’. That’s what I had known myself as for so much of my life. The satisfaction I got from it was huge and all my energy and focus was on those goals.

But in come children, two at that in quick succession and things slowly shifted. My want and need to have a singular goal and focus for myself has become lesser as our children have grown. And my growth and personal satisfaction has come more from the athletes that I coach, the group we have built, of the Club that I support, the community that we now live in and of course – my family.

I don’t need to race at the top level anymore if I don’t want to – to simply ‘walk the walk’.

I don’t need to race for external satisfaction.

I know I can now race if and when I want to.

I can race because I CAN, because I know HOW and because I LOVE to. Not because I feel I have to.

I have learnt that it is the training itself and the discipline it brings that I actually love the most, not necessarily the racing. The racing is a by product – a bonus if you will…. Perhaps, deep down that’s what has always driven me, I just didn’t realise it …. I don’t have to force myself to train or exercise, I do it because I love it.

Which is why I stay fit. Which is why I train every day. So I can, if I want, when I want, where I want. A quick little prep will have me ready and I’ll enjoy returning to those feelings. But I most likely won’t go ‘all in’ like I used to, not because I can’t, but because I choose not to.

Now that all may change again at some point. What feels right now, may not be the same in another few years. We all go through seasons in life and I love embracing all of them.

And that’s what I also love about coaching each individual athlete I have. I have some athletes in the early stages of their athletic journeys, going all in, and I fully embrace that, support that and help foster the environment and training that they need.
I have other athletes who prefer a softer balance to their training, competing when they can, and training as it fits into their life. I have others who don’t compete – at all. They simply love the structure and discipline of training in their lives, and staying fit. Just as I do. And I have the pro and inspiring pros. The high achievers. Those chasing PB’s, wanting the most out of themselves, and I love being on the sidelines for all of that. I love being part of each of their journeys.

So no matter the athletes path, or where they are at in their journey. I love all of it, because it is THEIR journey. Just as I am on my own journey. And as a Coach, I love that I’ve been through all facets of it. I’ve been the beginner, the green and keen athlete, the top age grouper, I’ve dabbled as a pro, a mum juggling it all, and the one still here for the long haul.

And I am grateful to be part of that and still join in on the ride!

Coach Sarah x

Motivate in May

A THIRTY (ONE) DAY Challenge in May !

Choose your challenge.
Make a habit. Or break one.
Spark personal growth
Build mental resilience.
Or try something new.
Motivate in May is for you!

If you are off the back of a long season (regardless if you raced or not), or embarking on a new season / training program, then this is the perfect time to lay the ground work for your best 2023/2024 performances. It can be easy to lose the rhythm of training as it gets colder and darker outside. Or you may be without a key race to inspire you to jump out of bed in the morning… SO I INVITE YOU – join us in a challenge to help continue to build your physical resilience and positive daily habits.

 NO ONE is immune to the allure of wanting to stay in bed on a cold, dark, early morning. That’s where accountability matters. And that’s where our CPC community will join together, encourage each other, share your daily ‘wins’, – and maybe even your struggles! Set yourself up NOW – and your winter / base preparation will set you up for the weeks and months to come….

THE CHALLENGE:

This challenge falls in line with our learnings of setting goals (in this instance a challenge) and defining your why, so we can measure our success (read more here). Our May challenge involves you choosing a goal (challenge) to complete over/during the 31 days of May.

Some examples:

Swim /Run/Ride 25/50/75/100k in May
Train every day in May
Strength / Mobility / Pilates/ Yoga Challenge in May
Try a new way in May (ie commit to finding a new training route week/each session)
Try something new in May (ie a new gym, a new exercise/sport/hobby)
Zwift route challenge in May

The ideas are limitless, the benefits endless !

You want to make it specific (and challenging) for you. Something to drive you in May, and encourage you to make (or break) a habit, spark personal growth, build mental resilience, or simply try something new!

So get thinking, get creative, have a WHY and share with our CPC Community. Nothing like sharing your goals to stay accountable !

CHOOSE your goal | CHALLENGE yourself | SHARE your wins !


Reliving my Kona experience

I had mentioned recently to my athletes that it was 10 years since I raced in Kona. My Ironman World Champs experience was in 2013 – the year that Mirinda Carfrae won her second Ironman World Championship Title and had the 3rd fastest run split of the day – including the pro men. Simply incredible! She then went on to win and break her own run course record again the following year in 2014. And only now, have we just witnessed a new run course record thanks to Anne Haug with a 2:48.23 in 2023!

I could have sworn I did a race report / recap after my Kona race – and I thought I found it, but it was actually a recount of my first Ironman – Ironman Melbourne in 2013 when I qualified for Kona in a time of 9:23 (year the swim was shortened). Read about that race experience and how I qualified here.

So I don’t have my recap to share with you, however I did find some of my pics and what I can say is, what an awesome experience it was. And I got to share that experience with my parents – something they still remember fondly. As well as long time friend and athlete Narelle Crooks who was on the sidelines supporting, along with her hubby Nathan who was racing and fellow training buddy Brett. Brett, Nathan and I spent countless hours together training. So many long rides and long runs together, hundreds of laps in the pool, open water swims, trainer sessions, interval runs around the tana and along the beach…. Brett and I even travelled to Port Douglas in the lead up to Kona for a Half Distance race – trying to acclimatise for the heat before we arrived.

But honestly, nothing can really prepare you for the heat and humidity. It truly is a HOT and brutal the race is. But how spectacular and magical the Island is. I get why athletes all over the world still want to compete at this race. It’s not about becoming one of the best in the world in your age group, it is the experience. Living and breathing Ironman the week leading into the race, swimming in the crystal blue waters amongst tropical fish, turtles and dolphins, riding along the Queen K and through the lava fields, running along Ali’i’ Drive, up Palani and through the Energy Lab. And that finish line line. Simply incredible! The visuals from race broadcasts are exactly that. But being there, experiencing it, putting your body through it, truly is something else. And in that moment, the result matters little. Especially for those going there for the first time….

My Kona result?
Swim 1:11.38
Bike: 5:34.14
Run: 3:45.22
Overall: 10:39.53

For anyone who has the dream of racing the World Champs, talk to me. It truly is an incredible experience and something that is possible with the right training, hard work and race planning… I previously wrote an blog on how to qualify for the Ironman World Championships. So take a read if you want to find out more on how and what it takes to qualify for this magnificent race…

Qualifying for Kona in your first Ironman

‘Pain is temporary, but memories will last forever ‘ The prefect quote in what was to be my first (and what I had planned as my last) Ironman race.

Ironman for me was more than completing a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km marathon. It was setting myself a goal and doing everything in my power to reach it.

It was about the choices, decisions, sacrifices, hard yards and discipline. It was the early mornings and late nights. It was down right hard work.

It was choosing training over birthdays and catch ups. It was lost weekends, friends and relationships. It was missing the world while I was preoccupied in my own.

They were the biggest sacrifices, but also the biggest motivators. And that’s why I pushed through what seemed like the impossible to others on Sunday, to get me not only to the finish line, but onto the Ironman podium and ultimately Kona. The pinnacle of  this sport called triathlon.

Ironman is not just about physical toughness, it’s about mental toughness. The ability to put your body in a place it does not want to go and somehow over ride the pain.

THE DECISION
My triathlon journey started 6 years ago due to a running injury – the first of 3 stress fractures I would suffer in as many years. I was young and naive – thinking i knew more than the Coach. How little I knew back then. And little did I know, that as I lined up for my first Gatorade Triathlon in March 2008 – coming near last out of the water, and finishing mid-field, that five years later I would be taking on my first Ironman and Marathon all rolled into one. From a Coaches point of view, I had planned to use this Ironman race to experience from an athletes perspective what it took to train and race an Ironman, but in the end it became much more than that….

THE LEAD IN
Could not have gone any better. I’d done all the work, rarely missed a session, prepared my life around this one day. All to see how hard and how fast I could go over 226kms. I’d followed my program to a tee. I didn’t go above what was asked, just doing what had to be done and I could see the progression over the months as distances got longer, times faster and recovery easier. Everything was heading in the right direction and my confidence grew knowing what I was capable of  ‘IF all went to plan’. I’ve watched many Ironman’s over the years and I have witnessed first hand that things can and do go wrong on race day.
I had many training partners during the lead in but non better than Brett Archbold. We spent countless hours on the bike, I’d have sh^t days when he’d have good ones and vice versa. But we both kept at it knowing what we were both capable of. And best of all we will now have another winter of training together leading into Kona! 

PRE RACE
I waited all week for the nerves to kick-in. I waited patiently, ready to tackle them when they arrived. But even as we stood in the water at the swim start waiting for the gun to go off they were no where to be seen. I could feel the nervous energy around me as the morning unfolded, but I simply thrived on it. I could only put this down to knowing I had done the hard work, knowing what I had to do and most importantly believing that I could do it – so what did I have to be nervous of? Nothing. Lets do it! A BIG thanks to Dane Barclay from The performance and Sports Psychology Clinic who helped prepare my mind for what I was going to put my body through. Game on.

THE SWIM
The morning of the race, and race organisers made the tough decision to cut the swim course short due to the conditions in the bay. So the swim was cut in half and shortened from 3.8km to 1.9km (or was it 1.5km?).  There has been much talk around whether this was the right decision. And emotions and thoughts from athletes have also been divided. But for me, I didn’t waste any energy on ‘should it or shouldn’t it’ – instead I refocused on my race and slightly changed my race tactics. ‘Control the controllable’….

At the swim start, I lined up beside fellow Tri Alliance athlete Nathan – a plan we had leading into the race. We’d swam together in the pool and open water most of the prep and we were going to pace off each other (to a degree) in the swim leg. But within 100m, that plan was out the window, it was ON and I quickly lost sight of him. ‘Have a good race Nath’ I thought to myself as I focused on tacking on the waves and swell ahead of me. The swim was brutal – more so from the other athletes than the conditions. It was like everyone was fighting for survival and literally the fittest and strongest survived! There was no thought or care for another’s safety. If you were in the way, you were going down! The swell at the back of Frankston pier was the worst conditions I have swum in – but I was loving it. This is my kind of swim! Heading out past the Pier I couldn’t sight the turn around buoys. The swell was huge, swimmers everywhere. As we got closer I could see I was heading straight for the buoy – normally that’s what I’d want, but for this course and these conditions I decided I wanted to stay slightly wide so I didn’t get shoved around too much. So unfortunately for those around me I made a slight detour to swim wider and in the process swam over other swimmers. (sorry!) Turning the buoy and heading back to the beach was fun. It was rough but the swell pushed you in and made for a fast swim back to the swim exit. Athletes were strewn 300m wide though as the current pushed people down beach. But many athletes made the decision to just go with it and make the mad dash up the beach instead of trying to fight it. On dry land I spotted another Tri Alliance training partner Steve Akins just in front of me. it’s a comforting feeling seeing someone you have trained with. I was off to a great start to my race.
Swim (1.9km) 28:18min, 19th in Category

THE BIKE
Transition was non eventful, in and out as quickly as possible and out on the bike. I did thank my helpful volunteer but other than that didn’t look around or spend any more time than necessary in the change tent.

After watching this race last year I knew the support as you headed out on the bike was going to be amazing. The mounting line is lined with supporters cheering for athletes as they begun their 180km ride. Thanks to those who shouted out cheers – but I will be honest. I can’t remember one face. And so begun my 5+ hours on the bike…..

The ride out was congested with riders for the first 30km I jostled with other riders (mainly guys) to find my own space. Time and time again they would ride past and then pull straight in front of you, causing you to slow right down to give yourself space and avoid drafting. After half a dozen times of this occurring I made the decision to change my race plan and ride harder on the first lap to create myself some room.  I feared getting stuck amongst a pack and getting ‘done’ for drafting.  So into the right hand lane and head down I went. Not long after I made this decision Nath and Steve passed me. I gave them a cheer and refocused back on my race. The legs were doing what I asked and I was happy with the pace and effort level, so even though I was riding faster than planed, I didn’t slow down.

I viewed the ride leg as 4 x 45km rides. Not 180km. I knew it was going to be tough on the way out into the wind, but I also needed to use this to my advantage. Even though I had a good swim I knew there would be girls up the road trying to increase their lead. So I focused on my nutrition plan, stayed out of trouble (drafting trouble that is) and before I knew it I was passing girls I thought would take me most of the ride to catch. Things were more than going to plan. ‘Don’t get too ahead of yourself’ I kept staying to myself. There’s still a long way to go.

The second lap and the wind started to pick up. You could feel the resistance slowing your pace and cadence, the gusts of winds trying to shove you off the road. And although my average time was slightly slower I still felt strong and couldn’t wait to get off and tackle to run – and to find out where I was placed!

Ride: 5:10:48, 3rd in category, average 34.75km/hr

THE RUN
The first time I got slightly nervous during the race was when I was preparing to jump off my bike and onto the run. I have watched around half a dozen Ironman’s, and many more on TV and I always cringe when I see athletes jump off their bikes and their legs are like wooden pegs. Stuck in a cycling position not knowing whether they are going to collapse underneath them. The burning question I was ready to find out was, what were my legs going to do?
As they hit the ground I smiled inwardly AND outwardly. They felt great and I was ready to run my first marathon to finish this race.

In and out of transition, quick toilet stop and I was on my way. 2km into the run was the first time I knew how I was tracking. Fellow Tri Alliance Coach Emma screamed at me I was coming 2nd in my age group. Another quick smile and nod of the head to acknowledge I’d heard as I headed out of Frankston. The first 5km went surprisingly quick with the roads still lined with cheering supporters – some I knew, others I thanked for their support anyway. ‘Looking good’ people cheered. And at this point, I agreed with them. ‘Feeling good!’ I’d cheer back at them. This was too easy I thought – wait for it…. wait for it….

Before I knew it, I was 10km into the run and I couldn’t have planned it any better. My pace was exactly how I had planned, I felt awesome, nutrition going well. What more could I ask for. ‘This was supposed to be tough’ I thought to myself. And as if my body heard me, outside influences started to come into play. And this was where the race to the finish line really began for me. My right hip started to have a dull ache. Nothing I’d felt before. At this stage I was unsure on what to think. But it wasn’t long until that dull ache turned into a dead feeling all the way down to my right knee. At the 12km mark it hit me (and it dawned on me!) that I was becoming a victim of the dreaded Frankston > Mordialloc ‘camber’. I’d heard about it, I’d read about it, and I was now experiencing it and there was nothing I could do.

At this point I passed Pro Athlete Bree Wee who was not having her greatest of races and she was running in the curb. At that point of the race I was running in the centre of the road so I quickly switched to the curb hoping that it was flatter there and I could diffuse the pain before it took hold. A few more kilometers down the road and I thought I may have succeeded. But as I ticked over the 14km mark it felt like someone had run up beside me and stuck a knife into my knee. It literally made me jump it was that painful. ‘No, not yet.’ I cursed the road. But a few more steps and it was gone. The dead feeling was there, but the knife had retracted. ‘Ok think, what to do? I couldn’t afford to be crippled by ITB pain’ So Plan B kicked into action – I slowed my pace down. This provided some relief. So I continued on at a pace slower than planned, but I was moving forward – and that was the overall aim. ‘Your slowest jog is always faster than your fastest walk’ I knew there was only 5km until Mordialloc and the road flattened out, so my next goal was to get to Mordialloc ‘The pain would go away once I’m on the flat’ I kept saying to myself, willing my body through the random stabs of pain.

Nearing Mordialloc and I needed a Plan C. My plan B of running slower was working, but it wasn’t getting me there as quickly as I liked. And this is when I cursed myself that I didn’t put any pain killers in my special needs bag at Mordialloc. Then before I knew it I was yelling out my number and picking up my special needs – a bottle of Shotz, wishing I’d had painkillers in there instead…. And I carried on through. Mistake number two here – in the chaos, I forgot I needed to go to the bathroom and it wasn’t until I was 500m passed the toilets that my body remembered. ‘Damn’ I cursed myself. Running past the Lifesaving Club and I yelled to someone for toilets – they pointed up the hill and into their club rooms. So I made the split second decision to turn off course and into their toilets for a quick pit stop. A decision that I now know put me back into third position. Because as I ran back on course I saw a girl had passed me. I cursed myself for a second time in a matter of minutes.

1km up the road and I had to look forward to our Tri Alliance Aid/water Stations. Back to back at the 20 and 22km mark of the run. But by this stage I was not in a happy place. I had my blinkers on – my eyes darted for anyone who held a cup of water in their hand and grabbed it. The only other thing I remember is hearing Pam screaming at the top of her lungs ‘You’re going to Kona!’ Not yet Pam, not yet I thought to myself……

I was half way. 22km down, 20km to go. This could go right, or could go terribly wrong. My  family popped up again at around the 30km mark. ‘Not long to go!’ my mum cheered at me. I cringed, from both the words and the pain that again stabbed me in the knee and tried it’s hardest to derail my race. This was the first time during the race that I felt like crying. I stopped and stretched – the only thing that made it better ‘There’s still a long way to go mum and I’m in pain’. I cringed, stood up and kept running. 2km run, stop, stretch, continue, repeat. ‘Please, please, please get me to the finish line in one piece’ I pleaded with my body ‘I promise I will give you a rest after this, I promise’. I remember actually pleading with own body.

Next I remember I was rounding Brighton Baths towards Elwood and I spotted Coach Ryan, Shane and Xavier. ‘You are in third’ Ryan yells at me. ‘You have 9min on fourth’ This was the first time since the beginning of the run I knew where I was. 3rd place. But just 1km later and that knife was stuck right back into my knee which brought me to a halting stop. I quickly did the maths. And yep if I walked the last 4km she could still catch me. I as desperate now. I looked back hoping to see Shane (who is an Osteo) as I thought in my desperate state that he would be able to help me. I clearly remember having the thought of jogging back the 1km I had just completed to try and find him. What was I thinking?! I had to regroup. I clearly remember standing up and eyeing the finishing line in the distance – it was going to be mind over body from here on in. So I began my chant ‘do not walk, do not walk, do not walk…..’ and this continued the whole 4km to the finishing line ‘do not walk, do not walk….’ The knife was well and truly staying there now, it was not going anyway. It was trying it’s hardest to get me to walk but that last 4km I didn’t. I ran through the crew at The Great Provider – again I cannot remember a single face out of the dozens of people I knew were there. I could hear the screams, the cow bells, Mike Reilly over the loud speaker, I could see the finishing line ‘Do not walk, do not walk….’ I rounded into the finishing chute and it wasn’t until then that I allowed myself to believe that I was going to hold third place and finish on the podium. 

The only thing I remember about the finishing chute is someone holding out a TA jumper, and seeing Ollie behind the finishing line. I’m sure I high fived people, I’m sure I smiled, but I cannot remember a thing. All I knew was that I had finished. And I had succeeded. I was an Ironman!

I had not actually pictured the moment before the race so I had no plans on my ‘finishing photo’. I simply put one fist in the air and crossed that line.

Run: 3:37:55, average 5:09km/pace

Overall: 9:23:17, 3rd 30-34F

THE AFTERMATH
Since the race many people have asked me what drove me in training, what made me get up in the mornings, what motivated me to push through the pain during the race. What really keeps me going when the going is tough? These are all good questions that I may never really know the answer too. All I know is I am a perfectionist, I love to work hard, I thrive on goals and challenges. I give 100% to anything I do – and for now that happens to be Ironman.

Tomorrow is just another day. Another day to dream big, another day to achieve a goal, another day to prove to no one else but yourself what you are capable of. Dream BIG. I set goals that others may see as out of reach, as that way the satisfaction in reaching that dream is all the more sweet.”

…..So as the mind starts to waiver, look back at your goal. Look back at your dream and ask yourself ‘How much do I want this?’ And if you want it enough you will get it. If not today, then tomorrow, or the next day. The difference between the IMPOSSIBLE and the POSSIBLE lies in a person’s determination….”

And so on what was going to be my first and last Ironman, has now turned into another journey which will end in Kona, Hawaii on 12 October 2013!

Read about that journey and experience here

SET YOUR GOAL. DEFINE YOUR WHY. DETERMINE YOUR SUCCESS

This time of the year for many athletes is the perfect time for reviewing your past season, setting new goals, but most importantly defining what success is to you. Then building a framework to measure your success. In sport (well in life really!) the performance journey goes well beyond simple concepts of becoming faster, stronger, finishing or winning…  Results are important. However, a broader perspective provides a healthier and more productive framework to measure success over the long term. And that’s where an athletes WHY comes into it….

Most athletes start their goal setting process with a goal. It makes sense right? ! Set a goal, and lay out the stepping stones to help you achieve that goal…. 

But what if I got you to look at goals from a different perspective? What if I said, without a WHY your GOAL won’t be able to determine your success? What if I got you to first determine your WHY before you set your GOAL and in return then determine your SUCCESS? How do you think this would differ?

Here’s an example. An athlete set a goal of breaking 5hrs in their next Half Ironman. They loved the idea of going ‘sub 5’! Their previous best was 5:30hrs. They laid out the steps they thought they needed to get there, they trained hard, their family / training / life balance was a bit out of whack, they were managing a little niggle, but they had a goal so stuck to the plan….. Come race day they finished in 5:10hrs. 10min off their goal time. What feelings do you think they had? Disappointed in their result? Because they didn’t hit their goal time…. DESPITE still hitting a 20min PB! 

But what if that same athlete was asked the question – what is your WHY ? Why do you want to do a sub 5hr? Why do you train hard, and push yourself and why do you race? After some thought, the athlete wrote down a few things such as: to inspire my children to work hard, to not give up on a goal, to be a better version of myself at work and at home for my family. Their WHY was far more than simply hitting a 5hr time barrier. This doesn’t mean they couldn’t aim for both. Of course they could. But their WHY is what is deep, it gives purpose and means much more than a time on a clock…… That WHY is what should also help drive you – not the goal itself…. Read on >>

A WHY is a statement of purpose that describes why you do what you do and why you live the lifestyle you do. 
A GOAL is the object of ones ambition or effort; an aim or a desired result. 
SUCCESS is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. 

Success cannot thrive without a goal (aim) and a goal cannot thrive without a why (purpose). So when setting a goal, to determine your success of achieving your goal, you want to know the WHY behind it. 

Why do you want to achieve X?
Why do you push your body to train every day? 
Why do you do triathlon / cycling / running? 

“Your WHY is what will set you apart. It will help inspire you to take action. It will also drive you in your training and your racing.”

So as you sit and ponder your WHY, here are some action steps on helping you to determine your WHY: 

1. The first step is to ask yourself what your ultimate goal is. This could be related to your sport. Ie I want to complete an Ironman, or, I want to qualify for a World Championships, or I want to have a balance in life and training etc….

2. When you determine what this/ these are, the next and most important step is to ask yourself … WHY do I want to do / achieve this?

Now, there are some key things to remember when developing your WHY.

  1. Your WHY should be powerful: When setbacks or obstacles (such as an injury or a bad race) arise, use your WHY because it is powerful enough to overcome the setback/obstacle. 
  2. Your WHY should be deep: Having a shallow why can be easily broken. (ie I train because I enjoy it)  Instead, you should focus on a deeper meaning. (ie I train because it helps my mental health and makes me happier)
  3. Your WHY should be intrinsic: Don’t base your WHY on extrinsic factors (ie I want to do an Ironman because my best mate is) instead look inside and feel your WHY (I want to do an Ironman because I want to test my own physical capabilities)

Developing a WHY is the best way to ensure you are avoiding setbacks and continually making progress towards your goals. AND the best way to then measure your success – which I will touch on in my next instalment….

So I encourage you firstly to take some time to write down your GOALS AND YOUR WHY. Remember to make them powerful, deep, and intrinsic. And you need to write them down. Not just have them in your head. Find some paper and write (or type) it out and have it where you can see it. In your phone, beside your bed, on the fridge… Somewhere you can visit them regularly. And if your why truly means something to you, then you will find a way to make your goals happen and you will more likely lead to a happier success…..