I have always been somewhat of a sportive person, but I never called myself an athlete with a certain goal. This year was different when I started to train for Triathlon. And with it, I learned a few things about myself.
Every year, Adecco supports children organization through its own programme Win4Youth. Win4Youth is based on the idea that colleagues around the world do sports, thus collect kilometers and by reaching a common annual goal of collected kilometers, Adecco then donates money to a group of annually selected youth organizations. As an additional benefit, 80 ambassadors from around the world, from any Adecco brand, are prepared and trained for one annual highlight event, this year the Skoda Triathlon in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Training preparation started officially in May, with it came a weekly schedule of drills and training combinations to get us into shape. So here, finally, is what I learned from Triathlon:
- You need a goal to keep motivating yourself. For me this is especially true. Just training, going for a jog every other day, did not do much for me. Sometimes you lose track and jogging just becomes something that you do once in a while.
- You need to test yourself. Before the big event in Palma I tried two events: a run&swim in Cologne and a sprint triathlon in my hometown Düsseldorf. The run&swim went horribly wrong: I had never swum in a wetsuit before, the water was freezing cold and I was not able to swim freestyle. A combination that got me pulled out of the water by a lifeguard after only 200 meters and hyperventilation. So I went back to the swimmingpool, now determined to at least try to learn the freestyle. Without the competition, I would never have had the motivation. The sprint triathlon was a warm confirmation that I was on the right track. It was halfway through the training program and I could really feel the difference. I was calm throughout the competition and felt confident all the way through. Without those two tests, I might never have kept going for four months with strong determination. So whatever you do, test yourself to see where you are and what your weak points are.
- You can only enjoy the big event if you have prepared yourself. We met with all the ambassadors three days before the triathlon in Palma. We went through all the details of the competition in morning seminars and we tried to recreate a competition environment in which we acted out the scenarios. We were judged by our trainers whether we are fit enough to compete. We felt prepared and tested. In the race itself, again, I could completely enjoy myself as it had a nice, easy going feeling with it.
- You enjoy the competition when you play in a team. Throughout the competition we helped each other, we raced together and we cheered one another up and motivated each other to keep going and do that final sprint. Doing it all by myself only week later felt empty and mechanical. Teamwork is just so much more fun!
- You need a strong mind. Training can be boring, especially when you are staring at the ground of a swimming pool for one hour or longer, seeing only blue tiles whilst trying to breath out under water and gulp some air down for breathing. When I had those moments, I replayed good memories in my mind. How we completed a tough climb the week before and how that felt when I was leading the pitch and the great feeling when I had found the good hold in a difficult position. It kept me going in the pool and in the race. For the last 500 meters in the open water we could see the bridge, but it wouldn’t come closer. I kept going at a good pace whilst replaying a happy moment in my mind. It kept the desperation of the ever far away end of the swim away. Another tip our trainer gave us very early on in April was to imagine us crossing that finish line. And that was another great motivation, especially during running sessions. Recreating a positive and strong image in your head will keep your motivation on a good and happy level.
5 learnings is good enough for me and I guess you can learn those from any sport you do and from any goal you set yourself. But those learnings came to me during these past four months and I hope they can be inspiration to yourself, too!
What was your learning and what have you learned about yourself by preparing for a goal? Let me know in the comments!