Category Archive: Inspiration

Running Out of Time

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey- stuff.”

For some of us, the end of August marks the beginning of packed lunches, after-school practice and class projects. With summer break hours coming to an end, the resurgence of the weekly calendar is more important than ever. Whether you are with or without kids, the annual school schedule affects us all. Even for the best of us, time management is daily work. From sun up to sun down, we do our best to pack our schedules with our daily activities, both personal and professional, in the hopes of staying on track and keeping a good balance. Yet, often times, we see ourselves running out of juice and wondering where the day went; wishing we had either more hours or more energy or quote frankly, both! Do you feel yourself losing grip of your schedule? Could it be that we are overcommitting our time?

Overcommitment & Self Care

When we find ourselves drowning in our workload, the first thing to be affected is often self-care. We push reading time for laundry time, gym time for making dinner time and so forth since items that pertain to personal enjoyment are always the first to go. We feel like we’re accommodating priorities without realizing that we are a priority. Eventually, pushing time to make up for these important tasks leads to less sleep at night, a bad mood the following morning and the beginning turns of a harmful cycle. Furthermore, as Veronica Arreola states for Experience Life, ” I was working hard to keep up,” she says. “But I wore myself out, got sick, and fell behind because of missed time from work. Too many of us pack our calendars full. We commit to more than we can handle, assuming that we’ll squeeze it all in somehow. Often, we ignore the consequences.”

Techno Woes

While the problem of over scheduling is not new to this generation, it is extrapolated by the technology we accolade with being “time saving” and “making life easier.” In our pockets and purses we hold a device that streams pure information within inches of your face, 24 hours a day, 7 days week. While in the past we could close our computers and leave the office, today we have email and calendar notifications that follows us out of the office and keeps us connected at all times. Not to mention the plethora of work environments which span countries and time zones alike where disconnecting is not a possibility. In addition, the constant connectivity makes it impossible to set boundaries and limits.

Time to Task Up

Like any problem we experience, the first step is admitting that one exists in the first place. The next step is to breaking down your day to spot where the over scheduling is occurring and working to do your best to break this addiction. According to the Experience Life article,  the three steps to doing so are acknowledging your limits, observing your patterns and clarifying the values that are your life worth living in the first place.

Set up a routine. Routines will help to give your daily schedule a base foundation to build on. These are items (walk the dog, pack lunches, go to the gym) that you know how long it will take to complete and which you know need to be completed every day. Doing this on a weekly basis will give you a better understanding on the amount of “free time” you truly have.

Build buffer zones. Avoid “cramming” things into your schedule for the sake of getting things done. This is the equivalent of making a to-do list of 40 items off the bat. You are setting yourself up for failure and at the same time adding anxiety to overall process. Pick 5 items at a time, on level of priority, that need to be completed and give yourself 15-30 minutes between them to refresh your mind. This allows yourself not only to wipe the slate clean for the following task but also allows you buffer room for unexpected emergencies.

Know when you work best. Especially in this day and age, we no longer find ourselves locked into a traditional 9-5 job. Let’s face it. This is not your grandparent’s world anymore. Some of us are single parents, some of us have two jobs, others have a day job and school at night. We must learn to focus on our time and energy and mold it to the most efficient caliber. Take a moment to step and back and analyze your routine. Figure out your personal schedule and when you work best. What time of the day you have the most energy and center your most pressing, time and mentally consuming tasks around that time.

Understand your limits. This is a tough one. We are the generation that avoids two trips to unload the groceries. We are driven to overcome barriers and obstacles. We are invincible, yes, but sometimes we need to head back down to the ground and face the reality of understanding our limits. Peer pressure plays a huge role in our decisions; the inability to say no to your boss or your best friend. We need to understand our limits. Introduce new tasks to your routine by doubling the estimated time you think it will take to complete. Repeat the task 2-3 times until you can determine the average time of completion and whether it fits into your routine. Most importantly, learn to say no. (Yes, Mom, I hear you loud and clear.) But she was right. The world will continue if you say no to an event or turn down an extra project you don’t have realistic time or energy to complete.

Whether you are a student, a professional  or an athlete, we can all use some extra help when it comes to time management. Use this week to take notes on your daily routines and strategize your best move forward. Create a foundation and levy tasks to the best of your ability. Take note on what works for you, what doesn’t, what needs to be approved. We are creatures of routine. It will get easier. You just have to start.

A.T.

Experience Life Team. Experience Life. “Back on Schedule.”https://experiencelife.com/article/back-on-schedule-2/”
Photo Credit: Doctor Who Series 8, Title Sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvX2-LHwYA4

Go with the Pro’s

Triathletes kick off from the pier into the Hudson to commence the swim leg of the event

 

With the 2017 2XU New York City Triathlon weekend just around the corner, we could not help but notice the messages and mutterings. We’d like to preface by stating how immensely proud we are of each and every one of our participants. Our athletes will be descending to the Big Apple from all over the United States and 15 different countries. But, if we are being completely honest, there’s a select group of individuals who bring a certain glean of awe-inspiring, static magic to the weekend.

Let’s face it, we were all glued to the swimming portion of the Olympics broadcast but there were a handful of athletes that really got our adrenaline pumping. These are individuals who push and transcend barriers of time and endurance to carve out new horizons for the potential of the human body.

 

Professional Athletes

We are proud to host a professional race at the New York City Triathlon! As in past years, the International distance race will remain “draft-free” and the pros will swim, bike and run on the same course as the Age Group athletes. The weekend offers a total of $30,000 in cash awards, and includes plenty of opportunities for self-promotion.

Equalizer Timing Format

The 2017 2XU New York City Triathlon will use an equalizer timing format for the pro field with the pro men chasing the pro women for a $3,000 cash prize.
Please Note: The time differential (from the female pro start to male pro start) will be announced later this week.

Pro Race Considerations
Full perks are listed below in more detail:

Total Pro Purse: $24,000 (F/M)           Equalizer Bonus: $3,000               Discipline Preems: $3,000 (F/M)
1stPlace: $6,000                                                                                            Fastest Swim Split: $500
2ndPlace: $4,000                                                                                           Fastest Bike: $500
3rdPlace: $2,000                                                                                            Fastest Run: $500

 

The 2017 2XU New York City Triathlon Pro’s List 

 

These Three Women Define Strength

To recognize International Women’s Day, IRONMAN did a virtual sit-down with three of triathlon’s most inspiring women. Read on to find out their views on life and triathlon.

 

 

 

 

by Jennifer Ward


Christina Hopper: Mother of three and the first female African-American fighter pilot to face combat in a major war.

Has triathlon altered or affected how you see yourself as a woman? If so, how?

It has altered how I see myself as a person. I was an athlete when I was young, but after completing college, I didn’t really compete in sports anymore. When I took up triathlon three years ago, I rediscovered a part of myself that I thought had died. It has given me a renewed sense of confidence and vigor. It has given me renewed energy and helped me to see that age is a state of mind.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced personally as a woman, an athlete, or both?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a triathlete is balancing life demands with all of the training and trying to reach my goals. In order to garner and maintain the support of my husband and family, I had to decide that my goal was not going to be “to be the best.” That goal would have required me to put my life on hold to train. Instead, I set the goal that I would “be the best that I could be within the time constraints of my life.” I set realistic goals within those constraints and feel good about what I was accomplishing both at home and in sport.

What are your tips for balancing training with a full life?

I think one of the most important things to remember is that triathlon is not your life, it’s just a part of your life. If you keep that in perspective, things fall into their proper place. You don’t need to fit someone else’s training plan into your life. Do what makes sense for your schedule. For me, that usually means getting up early and getting training in before my kids are up and before work.

What do you wish you’d known when you started triathlon? What’s your best tip for a first-time female triathlete?

I wish I would have known that it is better to go into a race slightly underprepared than it is to go in overtrained. There were so many times when I thought I just needed to get in a few extra miles or to go a little bit faster than planned and then I ended up injured. Now I live by the motto: “train smarter, not harder.” Being strategic in training and listening to your body when it tells you to back off or rest goes a long way toward longevity in the sport and success in reaching your goals.

As part at Women For Tri, we are doing a “Women for Tri Workout Wednesday” where we encourage women to celebrate the day by working out together, empowering each other, and sharing their photos. Is there anything you’d like to to say to all the women working out on that day?

I, too, have a group of friends I train with regularly. We call ourselves the Before Breakfast Club. Getting up early and training with them is therapy for me. I think it is wonderful to train with other women to share ideas, successes and failures, and encouragement. It is a natural forum to learn from each other and to celebrate the achievement of goals. Doing life together with others and building others up makes life worth living.


Shirin Gerami: The first woman to represent Iran in a triathlon.

Has triathlon altered or affected how you see yourself as a woman? If so, how?

It has definitely affected me as a human being. I feel it has given me a more positive outlook on life, and given me more confidence in working hard towards my goals.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced personally as a woman, an athlete, or both?

The constant labelling, stereotyping, and boxing into how/what/who I ought to be, and the challenge of concentrating on who I am and the person I want to grow into, rather than binding myself to what other people expect and assume me to be. That has actually been a huge challenge.

What are your tips for balancing training with a full life?

I wish I had the answer! I’m still trying to figure that out myself.

What do you wish you’d known when you started triathlon? What’s your best tip for a first-time female triathlete?

I have loved the journey exactly as it has been. The thrill and curiosity of the unknown, the surprises, the growth, the ups, downs and up-side downs. Passing on what Paula Newby Fraser has always told me: “don’t overthink it.”


Turia Pitt: Inspirational Australian woman who suffered burns to 65% of her body in 2011. She completed two IRONMAN events in 2016.

Has triathlon altered or affected how you see yourself as a woman? If so, how?

It’s given me a lot more confidence and a lot more belief in my abilities, especially since I set the goal of doing an IRONMAN when I was in a hospital bed. I think just having that goal is something massive to work toward. As I got closer and closer to it, it made me believe in myself a lot more. I think having that self belief and self confidence that’s crucial for anyone in all stages of their lives.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced personally as a woman, an athlete, or both?

As an athlete, it’s got to be my injuries. I’ve only got three fingers now which makes swimming more difficult, and it’s harder for me to use my bike like a normal person would. As a woman, we have a tendency to not back ourselves and not believe in ourselves and I think that’s a pretty big challenge. And also, because the sport of triathlon is fairly male dominated, even just finding training partners was really difficult for me. I guess I’m luckier than most because my partner was very fit so I’d do a lot of training with him. I still think if there were more women in the sport that would be really good for everyone.

What are your tips for balancing training with a full life?

I think my tip is that I had to learn to let myself off the hook. If I didn’t do very well in a training session or was really tired and didn’t go as hard as I would’ve liked or didn’t eat my recovery meals at the right time—I think you’ve just got to recognize that no one’s perfect and we’re all just doing the best we can. In the scheme of things if you miss a session or your day doesn’t go as planned it’s not the end of the world.

What do you wish you’d known when you started triathlon? What’s your best tip for a first-time female triathlete?

To not take it too seriously. It’s a sport that we all do because we love it, and I think you can forget about that and get really serious. That for me saps all the fun and enjoyment out of it.

As part at Women For Tri, we are doing a “Women for Tri Workout Wednesday” where we encourage women to celebrate the day by working out together, empowering each other, and sharing their photos. Is there anything you’d like to to say to all the women working out on that day?

I’d say dream big, believe in yourself, and know that if you put the work in, you’ll see results!

Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2017/03/international-womens-day-round-table.aspx#ixzz4akIexN29

How Mentally Tough Are You?

IRONMAN/Experience Life

Learn how to become the most resilient, confident athlete you can be, regardless of your physical fitness.

When it comes to training our bodies to deal with the demands of our sport, endurance athletes have no problem putting in the time and effort. But as for training the muscle between our ears? That’s another story. We’ll spend hours obsessing over our splits, researching gear, and studying race courses, but far too many of us neglect one of the most important aspects of training:  what goes on upstairs.

When I first got into endurance sports, I struggled with mental toughness. When conditions were great, I was a champ. But when things got hard I whined, complained, and psyched myself out.

It was only when I began incorporating what multisport coach Celia Dubey calls “mental strength training” that I found myself achieving a new level of performance and pleasure when it came to training and racing. (Celia Dubey is an elite duathlete and triathlete and the owner of Tarpon Total Sports in Tarpon Springs, Fla.)

Dubey has worked with over a thousand athletes of all ages and abilities in her eight years of coaching, and over that time she’s developed a three-prong process for training her athletes to get the best out of themselves.

USE BREATH TO STAY IN THE MOMENT
I used to do all sorts of things to distract myself when I was racing or training. I’d tell myself I had to run three minutes before I could look at my watch again — anything to take my mind off what I was doing in hopes of being able to endure the suffering or boredom.

The paradox is that making an effort to focus on the present has actually increased my capacity for dealing with these things and also makes the time pass a lot faster. When I pay attention — including to how I feel and what my body is doing — I start to experience what’s been described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as “flow,” or a state in which people “are completely absorbed in an activity..” During this ‘optimal experience’ he says they feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities.”

Cultivating flow, also called mindfulness, can be challenging for endurance athletes. This is why Dubey teaches her athletes to focus on their breathing. “A fundamental aspect of being aware in the moment is being aware of one’s breath, she says.” By focusing on our breath, Dubey says we can shift our focus away from suffering.

Whenever I catch myself trying to play those distracting mental games, particularly when I’m far from the end, I’ll take some deep breaths, run through my internal checklist, check my form and my pace and remind myself to just be in the mile I’m in. This tactic has become one of the most powerful tools in my mental arsenal. Like a lot of endurance athletes, I had tricks I’d use to distract myself from suffering and boredom, but ironically, working on my focus through deep breathing helped me better withstand the challenges of our sport more than those tricks ever did.

CULTIVATE POSITIVE SELF-DIALOGUE
When I first started racing, the chatter in my head was a relentless stream of criticism: “This is so hard.” “This is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.” “Why are you doing this to yourself?” (Interspersed with lots of four-letter words). The futility of this tactic became apparent during the steamy last 10K of Marathon Bahamas. The heat had reduced me to a stumble, but I somehow managed to make myself run. In a desperate attempt to keep my feet moving , I told myself I couldn’t stop (again, with lots of four-letter words). Alas, the moment I stopped was the moment I started walking again.

Dubey says that the majority of the athletes she works with are, like me, highly critical of themselves. She first asks them to pay attention to what their inner dialogue is saying: “Is what you’re saying to yourself something you’d say to someone running next to you?” she asks them. “Would you let someone speak that way to you?”

Dubey says that once most of her athletes realize their self-dialogue is negative, they work together to come up with a simple, positive mantra to use when things get tough. This essentially takes the thought process out of it, she says. She recommends sentences like “I am strong” or “I am fast” or “I am loving this.” She stresses that it needs to be simple and that it shouldn’t contain negatives, even such as “I’m not going to stop.”

Sometimes I still succumb to those old nasty habits but for the most part, when things get tough during racing and training, I’ve found that turning to those simple mantras helps me cope. Dubey’s simple trick helped me start treating myself as if strength and capability were my default settings, a tactic that has made me start operating off the assumption that I can and I will. In short, making an effort to be encouraging with my self-talk works far better than when I try to go all Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant on myself.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ENERGIZE YOU
Humans are social creatures, a fact that can work for us or against us. Dubey believes we feed off each other’s energy, and that we do well to be aware of how that affects us.

“We have a tendency to be either charging or draining to others,” says Dubey, who asks her athletes to look at how they interact with others. “For the most part are you charging others, making them feel good about themselves? Or are you a downer? Are you critical and a complainer?”

Dubey says her best friends are also her fiercest competitors, and that that she often has breakthroughs soon after they do. She also says training with people who are faster is important, but perhaps even more crucial is training with people who genuinely like and respect you.

I’ve found this to be true in my own life, specifically when my husband and I joined a local racing team. Within months, I became faster and more confident, a fact my coach noticed the last time I saw him. “It’s like you’re an entirely different athlete,” he told me. My teammates believe in me when I have trouble doing so for myself, and I do my best to return the favor — to be what Dubey calls “a charger.”

All my work to become mentally tougher has been paying off in ways I never dreamed possible. Last year I completed two ultramarathons — finishing toward the front of the field in both of them — and my first half-distance triathlon. And just last month, I achieved a goal that seemed impossible five years ago when I qualified for the Boston marathon.

Mental toughness won’t turn a back-of-the-packer into Chrissie Wellington. It’s not even a guarantee that you’ll achieve all of your wildest athletic goals. But what it will do is make you the most resilient, confident athlete you can be, which is a goal we can all strive to achieve no matter our physical ability.

Originally written for IRONMAN by Caitlin Constantine. Experience Life is the award-winning whole-life health and fitness magazine dedicated to empowering people to become their healthiest selves.