If you are following our programming you know that today we ran hill sprints. Specifically, the “Franklin Hill Mashup.” The interesting thing about programming, coaching and leading a community of people onto the hill 3-4 times a cycle (in my view not enough…) is that there is often a general conflict between the irrefutable POSITIVE physical adaptation that hill sprints create vs. the accompanying NEGATIVE self talk that can happen while doing said hill sprints (especially in the context of a Competition Day).
My athletes get really wound up about this workout and I get it. Shoot, I’ve been hill sprinting since, “Like a Virgin” came out – literally. This workout is an epic collision between the raw, honest and pure power the body can produce against the yappy, never ending self chatter the mind manufactures. Typically, I find this voice useless and fundamentally destructive not only to performance outcome but to the experience altogether. Left unchecked this voice can cause paranoia, not even showing up to the workout itself, anxiety, and disconnect with the moment. Often, many people don’t have the tools to quiet this talk down through breath, interdictions and positive focus.
Enter humor (slash intentional misunderstanding). Going into the final sprints I thought I was rallying my class by saying, “…It’s between the ears!” Apparently, one of my athletes Stephen Tatton thought I had said, “Have 3 beers!?” and repeated it those near. Moments later he ran the equivalent to what was his former PR just months ago! Humor is a beautiful and powerful counter to the chatter. Think about all the voices you may have in your head and practice making a choice: When things get tough are you going to give the power to the one that bitches the most or the one that makes you laugh?
Competition days are intended to challenge the physical. No doubt. Equally, and perhaps more important, I say use Competition days to train the mind muscle. Countering negative mindsets and habituated psychological patterns with light, breath, clarity and focus requires practice, consistency, patience and time. Sometimes a little laughter, silliness, and misunderstanding can be a great assist to getcha mind right to actually kick some serious bubuttskaz. So next time you’re having trouble between the ears, start with having 3 beers.