Written by Ann Brennan
I wrote this post back in July of 2012 because I was struggling with the motivation to move forward in my Ironman training. It was a personal post but over the past year it has been viewed by thousands of runners and triathletes and I have received dozens of emails telling me that this has become their motivation, their mantra. As I begin my journey to becoming a Boston Qualifying Marathoner, I have come back to it, to remind me that I can do this, one bite at a time.
I don’t wanna. I am tired and I just want to go back to sleep. I am tired and I just want to sit on the couch with my book. I am just too tired. Oh and did I mention hungry? I am so hungry. Twenty-four hours a day I am hungry, starving really.
So to sum it up…I am tired and hungry and I don’t wanna go run/bike/swim/lift. Besides, there is laundry to do, kids to feed, a house to clean and letters to write to my son, not to mention work. Don’t you think I should just skip this workout?
This has been my train of thought every morning for the past two weeks. With twelve weeks to go to my first Ironman, Coach Jeff has begun to ramp up the mileage. Suddenly I find myself with two workouts a day several times a week. When I am not working out I am either sleeping or eating when I should be taking care of work or home obligations. Ironman training is not easy. But I guess I didn’t expect it would be.
So, how have I managed to get out each day? How have I dragged my sorry butt out of bed, plopped it on a bike and gotten on my way? How have I pushed through workouts I have had no desire to do?
Well it certainly has not been because of my physical prowess. That much I am sure of. For the most part it has been through a series of mental tricks.
Before Blaise left for Beast Barracks at West Point this summer he asked an older cadet for his best tips on getting through the six weeks. His friend told him, you get through it the same way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.
That’s the approach I have been taking to Ironman training. I don’t have 10 workouts this week. I don’t even have two workouts tomorrow morning. I have one workout tomorrow morning and all I have to do is get through that one.
Yes, I know that there is another one waiting for me when I get home from that one but all I am worried about when I start out each day is that one bite – the first workout. Then I can think about the next bite.
In the past the first bite has been getting out of bed. But this summer getting out of bed has been the easy part. Although I am not a morning person and hate the idea of getting out of my comfy bed, I am able to pull myself out each morning by reminding myself of my West Point son and the fact that he has no choice. He hears the calls of his commanding officer and he has to get up no matter how tired he is. So who am I to lie there basking in the comfort of a bed when there is work to be done?
But still, the minute my feet hit the floor I begin the whining. I start in on the “I don’t wannas.” And I have to remember to concentrate on that one bite, that one workout and sometimes just that one set.
This week there have been swim workouts that I literally got through by promising myself that all I had to do was that one 800 yard warm up, then I could go home. Then changing it to the next set and the next set.
Ironman training is hard but the next workout isn’t. If I can get through that one workout, take that single bite, I can get to the next one and by the time I get to October 20th, that elephant will be all gone.