Your comeback is YOURSSep 13, 2022
One of the most heartbreaking experiences for an athlete (and their coach) is when they are unable to do what they love. This could be from injury, illness, change of lifestyle, cancellations or you may simply fall out of love with the sport.
Believe me, if you stay in the sport long enough you will experience all of these, multiple times!
Athletes often ask me how to get back to that lovely warm, fuzzy feeling they used to have about triathlon, and how to go back to being the athlete they used to be.
My answer would be jumbled, hopeful, positive, grasping for any positives I could and working out a strategy for a 'comeback'. But now, I would simply say "you can't".
Sounds harsh, but I'll explain why:
This sport isn't the easiest of sports to get into, and commit to, year after year.
The training can mean very long hours, there is a lot of kit, huge amounts of organisation and can also be very expensive.
So, you need to keep checking in with yourself that this is REALLY what you want to be doing.
You see, it's totally ok to lose your Mojo sometimes. Will you come back from it? VERY likely, yes. Will you be the same athlete? No. You will be better.
Even if a situation has occurred such as an injury, illness or recovering from an operation, you could be sitting there wondering if you will be the same athlete once you are feeling better. No, you won't. You will be better. Hungrier, more intentional with your training, and ready to train smarter.
Have you fallen off the bandwagon with exercise? Have you been suffering with overwhelming effects of perimenopause/menopause? I can imagine you have often thought "when will I come back to the athlete I used to be?"
You won't. You will come back in exactly the way you want to, with a renewed sense of 'why' you do the sport, with a clearer idea of how you want the sport to fit into your life.
Because in an age where we find ourselves, via the media, being told about the athletes we should be, you need to remember, you can be exactly the athlete you want to be. To suit you. To make you happy. And that is what it's all about.
Over the past 4 years of tri coaching, I have seen athletes at the top of their game, and at the pit of despair. For those who are in the latter, I now hope they don't come back as the athletes they used to be. I hope each and every one of them learns and grows and keeps this amazing sport exactly where they want it to be in their lives. Be that front and centre of everything, or in the background. Or maybe, as a role of supporter to other athletes.
Over the past 12 months I have tried to get back to the athlete I used to be pre pandemic. But more recently there is a stark realisation that I have the ability to design a better one!
If you are in a period of flux with triathlon, don't forget you don't have to come back to who you once were. That person has gone and been replaced with a blank page, and you can write your own future in this sport.
You don't need to justify it, explain it or have it fit into a social media post with matching photo. You can just be you.
Race, or don't race. Train 20 hours a week, or train 30 mins a day. Book big races or stick to sportives and parkruns. Join a tri club or go it alone. Aim for the World Champs or aim for getting out the door. It's all up to you, nobody else, and that is the best feeling ever. Total freedom to choose how you wish to comeback, fresh faced and ready to start a new chapter.
If you are struggling with an expected, or unexpected break in your triathlon training and racing, and need a chat, do get in touch I always love to hear from you.