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Performance-Driven Mindset

Performance-Driven Mindset (by Coach Kelly)

Now that it is getting late in the race season, I know most of us are excited and tired at the same time.

Over the past few years, as happens to most, I’ve been plagued with “life”. Issues such as surgeries and injuries have put a halt to or sent my seasons in vastly different directions.

For the first 3 years of my Ironman career, I was self-coached. I picked a free plan off the Internet and mindlessly followed every workout to the letter. This caused injuries, occupied an inordinate amount of mind space, and created never-ending “brain traffic”. More importantly, I constantly found myself frustrated with the lack of improvement and satisfaction in my training day. I was working hard but getting no where fast.

Over the past few years, I’ve realized the importance of training with purpose. It’s not the daily slog of extra long garbage mileage or getting that workout done “fast” that will make you better. Develop a mindset. Train with purpose. Focus on the structure of the workout. Understand what you are trying to accomplish. In doing this, I reveled in the small victories. That workout that I used to have to grind out wasn’t so hard anymore. I really was getting better. It’s a wonderful feeling.

And then there’s the reality that we all live in. We all have setbacks at crucial training blocks or going into our race day. Change your racing mindset. Stop worrying about what is to come or stuff you can’t control. Think about the moment and be confident in your ability to conquer the minute you are in.


1) Tell yourself what you can do, not what you can’t. Instead of focusing on the frustration of knowing how much more distance or time you have, employ techniques you have in your toolbox to conquer that moment. Then, LET IT GO.

2) Get your mind into a POSITIVE mindset, enjoying the rough patches and the unknowns that undoubtedly pop up. If you find yourself feeling anxious, really dig deep, you are probably both nervous and excited at the same time. Both feelings very can feel very similar.

3) Know exactly WHY “You race”. Use these reasons when you get tired, frustrated, grouchy, or going down a loop of negativity. This is one of the most important tools you have in your arsenal. I found concrete goal planningand deep inner reflection with myself and my coach helped me realize my abilities instead of inabilities.

4) REMIND yourself of this moment's purpose.

5) BE CONFIDENT, tell yourself you can get through this. You’ve been through much worse, not only in racing but in life. Mistakes give you the gift and power to learn, build, improve, and

6) Keeping a POSITIVE MINDSET and moment-by-moment focus takes time to learn. But is an important skill to acquire.

7KEEP MOVING FORWARD- one step forward. If your mind gets stuck in a negative merry-go-round, focus on the trees, grass, and your surroundings. Realize how lucky you are to be here and take a few deep breaths.

8) EAT THE ELEPHANT ONE BITE AT A TIME-Break it into small doable chunks. Whether it’s swimming to the next buoy or doing a tough interval set, focusing on different mindsets and mindful techniques to bring out the best in you at that moment.

9) DAILY FOCUS on your goals by using vision boards, pictures on your mirror, and journalling just to name a few.

Changing your mindset, racing mindfully and looking only at the task at hand, and doing that task to the best of your abilities is the best thing you can do for yourself at any given moment. Training with the purpose of gaining knowledge, and skills, and putting that confidence to use in your race will get you way farther than just going out and putting in the time. Mindful training and racing will make you realize anything is possible. With the right training, we can all conquer our monsters to achieve our goals and more importantly our dreams.


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