Because I deal with anxiety, telling me to “relax” pretty much makes my head explode, but that’s just the thing to help with training, particularly in the off-season.
I’ll put it another way: stop caring so much about your performance on every single workout or for every single race. The moment I stopped caring and changing my perspective is precisely when things got better: the quality of sleep, what I ate, and my overall performance did improve as well.
I stopped caring what my run pace was during group runs, I stopped worrying about keeping up in the fast women’s lane in masters’ practice, and I stopped thinking about people passing me on the bike trail. And, I stopped caring if I broke personal records from previous races. Because: shhhhh… no one cares (but you).
You know what? Some days I keep up with the fast ladies in my running group and surprise myself on 100 repeats in the pool. I’ve even been on the bike trail a few times: no one has passed me yet. For upcoming races, I plan to have a conversation with my running buddy, Marianne, and take photos of the places we’re going to pass during the Philly Half Marathon. I will race side by side with my daughter in the Philly Women’s Triathlon this July because a new PR in that race is meaningless compared to showing her how awesome triathlon is. And, my friend, Lori, will hold my hand as I jump off the back of the ferry for Escape the Cape this June because I will need it or someone is going to have to push me off! I even plan to do a Fork to Fondo of 82 miles with Marianne. She has a new bike, so why not ride it through Amish Country and eat really good food?
Slow down. Enjoy the ride. Do it because you can, and take a few people with you on your journey. I bet your overall performance will improve as a side bonus.