You have to be Hungry!

20 Oct

In my blog yesterday I discussed the questions; “Why” as in why do you do what you do? And the questions “How bad do you want it”.

The answer to the above questions can be anything there is no right or wrong answer. I asked that question of many of the athletes I coach and lots of great answers and a very common theme was friends the relationships made by being part of training groups competition in races where you meet new people in transition or something. But some athletes are very competitive well actually I would say all athletes are competitive it’s just various degrees of competition.

So today I go more into a topic for those athletes that are competitive that maybe just had a failure of a season because they did not quite meet their goals. Maybe that athlete underperformed all season and now it’s the off season and the athlete needs to step back look at what they did right, what they did wrong and how to take that hunger inside of them and use it to make them better.

I can say that my 2015 season was a disappointment for me when I finished with the Chicago marathon that year and had a not so great day on the course and then I looked back over the season and saw how I just came up short so many times. I was empty inside and frustrated because I knew I was better than that and I knew I had worked hard but it did not pay off.

I had this same conversation with my daughter last night when she came home from Cross Country practice. She had just come off a really great season of racing Triathlon loads of success and was confident and happy. But the 2016 high school cross country season ended on a sour note sure she ran all Varsity races except for one race, sure out of 120 girls on the team she is #10 runners but that #10 runner was the bitter spot it was like being 4th in a race just off the podium. Because 9 girls make the sections team and because she missed that team she was upset and angry because she cares! So this is where being HUNGRY comes in.

After my 2015 season I was hungry and I was focused I used my failures from the year before to train a little differently and really focus on some weakness I had and some of that weakness is the mental game. I believe the best athletes are the ones with the best mental game, the toughest ones who will endure and push through all kinds of pain. My daughter lacks in this also she is young and still learning so it’s OK but as even her coach said she is the fittest girl on the team she has the most talent of anyone but her head stops her from showing off that talent, this was me in 2015. I was really fit that year and I know I have a lot of talent but my head got in my way. Now not all of my races were complete disasters in 2015 I did run a 1:16 half marathon and win the masters category of that race but that was a training race and not a goal race it was my goal races that all came up short. But as 2016 race season is over for me and I look back at what I accomplished and how I say to myself 2015 was needed and I used 2015 properly because it made me hungry!

My answer to “Why” has many layers to it but because I love competition and I love to win and beat people and succeed at goals I set for myself my why will make me hungry each off season to go out the next season and get stronger.

The conversation I had with my daughter last night when she came home was all about hunger! I told her OK see how upset you are right now that you missed that spot by one place now take that anger and use it to be hungry for next season or track season this spring and into Triathlon season next summer. I said to her you are the better runner you are so fit and you have all the support and tools you need to reach those goals but you have to want it and you have to be willing to do the work and if you are hungry enough to succeed you will make the changes and do the work you need to so that you can succeed and reach those goals. What she needs to do is answer her “why” and “how bad do you want it” questions and then take her hunger and desire and go make it happen! That was the same conversation I had with myself after 2015.

Sometimes the answer to correcting the mistakes we made that left us short of our goals is really simple as simple as a couple blogs ago I talked about being under pressure and just relax. One of my changes in 2016 from 2015 was to do that relax and just go perform don’t think about the time goal don’t think about the watch just perform and be smart. For me since I race many different styles and distances of races each one becomes a little different in my mental approach. Duathlon I have lot of confidence in so I line up for that first run and I get after it I don’t care what my time is only that I’m with the front pack. Triathlon I lack confidence because of my swim it’s not that strong but once I hit my bike its game on and I ride like a maniac passing people and can still work my way up onto the podium with my bike/run combo. But in a marathon I really have to slow myself down these days because it’s such a long grueling race the need to start slow and build into the race is so crucial. The one thing with all racing no matter the distance is it is so mental! And once you can get over the mental hurdles that block you and slow you down you can begin to grow and obtain the goals you have set.

So take time to think about how 2016 went for you think about your goals and if you reached them or you came up short. Then look inside and see if you are hungry if you have that fire burning to go out and better yourself. If you have that hunger in you then use that to keep you motivated along with the answer to “why” and “how bad do you want it” and with those three things it should keep you honest, driven and moving forward towards chasing those goals.

So don’t be afraid of failure don’t be afraid of underachieving sure it stinks and leaves us sad but it also can be what is needed for us to truly grow and get better because of the hunger it builds inside of us after we fail. If my 2015 season would have gone pretty well and not left me so hungry who knows what might have happen in 2016 I might have been a little lazy and a little arrogant and not trained as hard because I thought I was so good. But because I was hungry I was very focused on my training and my mental game and the result was reaching all my goals in 2016 and giving me a lot of confidence going forward. And I’m still very hungry for 2017!


Best of luck in your training, your racing and your pursuit of your hunger!


Coach MB



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