Sometimes triathlon training is a grind. It is difficult to stay focused and determined in the midst of all the repeats, the long runs, the long bikes, the intervals, and all the other training methods. You have to keep your ultimate focus on your goal. Is it to finish or is it to compete or is it to win or is it Kona. I don't think you can go into triathlon with a laissez-faire attitude and expect to get out of it what you want. You will have to train and race according to your goals. All of this involves the grind of the sport.
I have found in my own training that there are times that I would just like to sleep in instead of getting up at 4 am for an indoor bike ride. I would like for just one Saturday to sleep in or just relax instead of a 10-mile long run. I have to keep my goals as paramount in my training or I will lag behind those goals and ultimately be disappointed. There is so much that is involved in racing and training for triathlons that you have to be ready for the grind of it all.
How do you handle this grind?
First, define your goals specifically. For many first time triathletes, it is simply to finish. For others who have been competing for a while, it is to climb the leaderboard and maybe even make a podium. The goals that an athlete make are significant to pushing through the grind. You might even post your goals or blog about your goals so as to make sure that you are able to get through the grind on those especially tough days.
Second, have someone keep you accountable to those goals. I often will push myself too hard and end up sick or too tired to function. I need my wife to tell me to slow down a bit and take a day of rest. I also have some friends who push me through their own actions. I have to have accountability to make sure that I am pushing through all of the grind that comes with triathlon training.
Find That Extra Gear
Third, it has to come from within. You can have all the accountability in the world to do your training, but all that does is get you to the beginning of the workout. It comes from within as to whether you are going to push yourself in the particular workout and make the maximum effort to achieve your goals. You have to have some internal desire to push through the grind or you will quit.
I have often heard sports commentators like Mike Golic of the Mike and Mike show on ESPN radio say that it wasn't that he didn't want to compete anymore as an NFL athlete. In fact, he would suit for a game anytime. But the thought of the grind of the offseason caused him to retire after many years of playing in the NFL. I think a lot of triathletes stop before they reach their ultimate goals because they just don't want to fight through the grind anymore. Stay at it triathletes and see your best days ahead. Just Keep Grinding!