A bit of a cheat on the blog article this time. With a new baby in the household, it's been a crazy time here, and I've barely had time to sleep, let alone train. Putting up blog articles has been WAAAY down the list of priorities!

However, doing a bit of late night web surfing while trying to get the baby to sleep I came across this great article from endurance corner coach Marilyn McDonald. I've long been a fan of Marilyn and her husband Chris - great athletes and great writers. Great coaches too, I'm sure. This article really hit a spot for me. So many people are deciding to 'go long' and do Ironman - and it seems almost a 'given' in their minds that they'll finish. If you're considering it this year - or even, if you've entered one - I encourage you to read this article and have an honest conversation with yourself.

Ironman shouldn't be a 'bucket list' thing to be ticked off. It's too big for that. It's become to the new decade what marathon running was to the 80's - something that people can ask at parties - 'Have you done the Ironman?' For me, I want people around me - both as friends and clients - who are going long as a consequence of organising their lives to include an amount of daily exercise that many consider excessive. The body composition, the diet - they're all part of that reorganisation. The last thing Ironman should be is a 'how little can I get away with' activity... how little change in my exercise habit, how little change in my diet, how little change in my body composition can I get away with....

I've had to have this conversation a couple of times over the last year with athletes that have wanted to hire me as a coach, and I've found myself talking them out of it - and in the process, talking myself out of several hundreds of pounds in coaching fees. Perhaps not the smartest move financially, but I still think it would have been worse in the long run to take their money knowing they weren't ready yet. I'm still hoping that they make some changes and come back to me :) (you know who you are!)

Ironman can be a fantastic journey to personal change - don't cheat yourself...


Goals and Your Life - Do They Match?

by Marilyn McDonald

I have been thinking a lot as I chat with friends and athletes about new year goal setting. There needs to be a direct responsibility for your results. Reaching goals doesn't come by accident. It comes from clear planning and a real connection with what it takes to achieve those goals.

The first time I ever watched an ironman I was amazed how far people were racing. I genuinely thought it was impossible to go that far. I was respectful of the distance and the effort it took for people to go that fast over the distance.

As we enter 2012 I find I feel a disconnect or a disrespect for the ironman. Almost anyone can enter and almost everyone is confident he or she can finish.

If someone says to me I want to "X" time in an ironman, my first question is what does your life look like to enable that to happen? Sometimes I wonder if humans in today's busy society have lost touch with the concept of day only having 24 hours. But it seems to me most people are pretty disconnected with the time they actually have and the work it actually takes to reach certain goals in an event as hard as an IM.

As you start to set out your goals, your races, your dream goals, ask yourself:

How many hours per week do I have to commit to this goal without letting the other aspects of my life fail. Do my racing goals and my life goals match each other?

I have seen highly motivated people with busy careers, full families and busy lives reach the highest level in their sports. These people all have very similar personalities.

  • They are organized.
  • They get it done.
  • They don't mind being tired.
  • They have eliminated all noise in their lives that doesn't line up with all their goals.
  • They have all people in their lives on board with their goals.
  • They don't try to be Superman doing too many things; they simply do a very good job at the few things important to them.
  • They are willing to make sacrifices to reach what they want.
  • They are very focused for a very long time.
  • They accept things happen over time.
  • They are willing to make change.

Ask yourself a few questions as you dream up your goals. Don't be afraid to be honest with yourself and be willing to set up your life with the changes needed to be the person you want to be. Make your life match your goals.

After all, sport is a piece of your life that ties everything all together, it shouldn't unravel it.