Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Can anyone do an Ironman?

The answer is yes. But it's the wrong question to ask and I will explain why at the end of this blog.

An Ironman is one of the worlds most gruelling endurance events and involves swimming in open water for 2.4 miles, cycling for 112 miles and then running a full 26.2 mile marathon.  All three parts of an Ironman are considered tough challenges in their own right however when you combine them together you are facing a task that many can not even finish. And when you consider that the cycling part is as long as some single Tour De France stages, but you are not allowed to slipstream otherwise you face disqualification, then you have some idea what you are up against.

I have just had the privilege of watching the Ironman UK 2013 and seen many people putting themselves through this incredible ordeal.  It was a strangely emotional day watching ordinary people do extraordinary things and the sheer magnitude of what they were doing was hard to comprehend.  What surprised me the most was that there were obviously some visibly honed athletes competing for a place at the World Championships at Kona Beach.  However there were also many others of various shapes and sizes, with no real chance of winning, who through sheer will, drove themselves mentally to the finish line. They were a picture of pain and suffering. Some were smiling through agony and engaging the crowd. Others inwardly focused and oblivious to the outside world.

I'm not going to profess to know what it takes to be an Ironman. Only the great ladies and gentlemen who crossed the finish line can answer that with any authority. But I do think that if you ask yourself the right questions then anything is possible. 

So the question should be - Do you really BELIEVE you can do an Ironman? Because if you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're probably right. On that rainy day in Bolton many people really did believe in themselves and they fulfilled their ambition of becoming an Ironman

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mastering the Masters

Who will win this years Augusta Masters?

They can all hit the ball pretty straight and fairly long at times.

They can all pitch and chip from around the greens and out of bunkers at times.

And they can all sink putts from varying distances at times.

But they all cannot do this when it counts. When it's for a grand prize and the world is watching many will falter as many have done before. Some will learn from their failure and go on to greatness. Some will survive the experience and soldier on. However some will never recover.

Those special few who can control their inner voice and deal with the situation will give themselves an advantage. Because when it comes to the crunch, swing mechanics and physical conditioning won't be the deciding factor. Neither will luck. Mastering the mind will ultimately master the Masters and it will be fascinating to see who responds or reacts to the pressure.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Do you React or Respond?

What do you normally do?

Every moment of our waking hours we do one of these two things. "Respond" or "React." When the kids wake you up early, when you get cut up in traffic or when you forget your brolly and it rains. These small and seemingly insignificant occurances can have a huge impact on us both physically and mentally and over time can even damage your brain!

When you go to the doctors you will  have heard the expression that your body has "Responded" to a medicine (positive) or that you have "Reacted" to a medicine (negative). And its the same principal with our minds.

If every time you encounter a situation you "React" by shouting, being angry or frustrated then your adrenal glands will release cortisol which flows through your body and wreaks havoc on your biological system. To counteract this your endoctrine glands produce hormones to suppress the cortisol until the body returns to a state of metabolic equilibrium. And although this "Reaction" was momentary, these chemicals can stay floating around for quite some time. This constant repetition of a micro process over time can cause many systematic problems.

So, what to do?

The first step in this cycle is recognition. As and when this happens there needs to be a conscious awarness of the process. Once this is readily recognisable then the next stage is to take responsibility. You see, whether we like it or not, we ultimately have a choice. We can choose to either "Respond" or "React" to everything that happens in our life. So listen to your inner voice, which I have have written about here previously and take control. You never know, a deep breath and an outward smile may just change your life.