Why?

This is the time of year when I am asking my athletes What their goals are for 2018 (and beyond).

For most athletes, the answer is often a specific race or event. The goal race or “A” race as it is often referred.

The follow up question that doesn’t often get asked but is just as, if not more, important is WHY? Without a strong WHY for what you are doing it is often easy to diminish the importance of the “what” you are after. A strong why for what you are doing will get you out the door on the darkest of days. A strong why you are doing something will also get you through the tough moments in a race when you want to slow down or even stop.

Why you choose a goal can be a very personal thing. In fact, I think it should be a personal thing. The biggest goals in life should be ones you set out for yourself, not goals thrust upon you by others. In fact the more personal the goal, the stronger the WHY you are doing something, the more strength it will carry in your day to day routine. The more power it will give you in those dark moments of racing when all you want to do is say, enough, this goal wasn’t really that important anyways.

I raced many Ironman’s and I can remember hitting a point in most of them (usually about half way through the marathon) where that dreaded thought popped in my head; “Why the hell am I doing this”. In my best races there was always a very clear answer to that question. I was able to answer it without hesitation the moment my mind went there. In some of my worst races, the answer wasn’t as clear. What was clear is that trying to figure out the answer as to why you are doing a marathon after a 3.8km swim and 180km bike is not a good time. If you don’t have an answer for that question before you start, you sure as heck aren’t going to find it on a race course.

So, this winter stop and take the time to figure out the WHY your goal is what it is.  Write it down. Remember it. Focus on it as much as the upcoming event that you are striving for. When the moment comes, and it will come, you will find a power in the answer that might just be the difference in your day.