• Pauline Cound

A World in Shock

Dealing with Uncertainty: Prevent it, manage it, grow from it.

Being uncomfortable is the key to growth. Rather than view uncertainty as a negative or fear it, view it as an opportunity to grow. With this shift in framing, uncertainty is no longer something to fear but something to welcome on the path to personal growth. What should your mindset be at a time when your race has been postponed? Focus on the Process. The best goal to have is simply to “get better.” As an athlete, and as a person. This is perhaps the most important psychological mindset to nurture. Such an approach ensures that you never get too fixated on specific results. See the situation as an opportunity not a roadblock. It is about moving the focus. Think about success as continual growth and progression over time. You have been provided with the perfect opportunity to improve your limiters and working on the components of your training that are holding you back. Finding ways to get ahead of your competition and understand your feelings and what they really mean. Training should be about health and capability and not necessarily an event. Training all year round hones basic conditioning which becomes ingrained as a lifestyle. Moving from the Developmental Phase/Base Phase/General Prep Phase, into specific and Event/Race Specific Phases are easily implemented in the appropriate time frames. ‘ATP’ Annual Training Plan, or Seasonal Plan is exactly that, but a very small percentage of athletes apply this practice. Shifting the focus when you no longer have a goal race/event provides the opportunity to extend the Developmental Phase. The work that you do in the Developmental phase is the backbone of success in the long term. It is the fundamental building phase, the most important phase, if you hope to achieve the results in your targeted events. This is where the focus needs to be on improving efficiency – FTP (Functional Threshold Power) and form. “Fast Before Far, Strong before Long”. Also, flexibility can be a massive limiter as can poor functional movement patterns. A time to focus on the key components that are holding you back, bring back the balance in your work/family/life. Don’t change your schedule but rather shift your focus in order to implement small adaptations where necessary and don’t increase load more than 10%. Spend less time doing the more important aspects better. The biggest challenge for a coach is the athlete who approaches you to assist them in achieving a goal race or event when they have no preparation phase in place. This is the ideal opportunity to build that long-term conditioning. The most important input or influence from a coach is during the Developmental Phase. This current environment is a perfect time to train your mental strength. What differentiates success! 90% is mental and 10% physical. “When you reach that elite level, 90 percent is mental, and 10 percent is physical. You are competing against yourself. Not against the other athlete”, (Dick Fosbury).

How often have we concluded that our mental strength or mental focus was our biggest limiter? Franz Stampfl who coached Roger Bannister to become the first human to run the mile in less than 4 min also wrote that: “The great barrier is the mental hurdle” (Stampfl, 1955).


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