I had a wonderful session with one of my mental game coaching athletes last week. She is a master’s track and field athlete specializing in the sprints. She also happens to be one of the top ranked sprinters in her age group in the country and a multiple-medalist at the Indoor Masters Track championships.
We wanted to tap into motivation and intensity that spawn peak performances. When I asked about what drives her; what makes her go one step further; one repeat faster; one weight heavier in the gym, etc. She paused. Then, she said, “I drive myself because I don’t know when the workout or race will be my last. I treat workouts like it might be the last time I get to do this and so I want to do my best.”
Profound actually isn’t it? We can all talk about how short life is. We can talk about how we should live life to the fullest. We can talk about how we should always do our best. But, how many of us actually pursue all of life in this way – sports, fitness, relationships, hobbies, work?
It brought me to ask even myself – what if today it were the last day I ever run? How would I like to remember it? How could I have it add meaning to my life?
Too often we leave the workout or race thinking “ok, next time I’ll do better/race smarter/complete the reps”. Though I believe this thought pattern afflicts almost all of us; I find it far more common in younger runners. There is a lifetime in front of them, with many seasons, races, workouts to do. Do you take for granted getting your workout done and looking to the next day?
It may sound philosophical which perhaps it is. But it is also motivational.
A phrase we used for running camp one year was: Potentially Brilliant. The message from its originator was one of having the opportunity to make every single day, every single workout potentially brilliant. I think this is his way to focus his intensity and motivation to make this one workout purposeful, the best it can be. It’s a way to focus on doing your best now and not wait for that “next” workout or race that may never come.
So here is some food for thought.
What drives you?
Are you guilty of falling into the thinking you’ll always have that next run or race?
What would make you get the most out of your workout today?
Before your next workout ask yourself – if this is my last workout or race – how do I want to remember it?