5 Ways to Build Mental Toughness for Triathlon

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

This slide presentation was given this morning at the Mid West Fit Fest held at the Student Recreation Facility at the University of Illinois Chicago.

5 Ways to Develop MT 4

Books you might find useful to learn more about mental toughness.

Atwood, Meredith. (2012). Triathlon for the Every Woman: You can be a triathlete. Yes. You. New York: Tricycle Books.

Friel, Joe. (2012). Your First Triathlon, 2nd Ed.: Race-ready in 5 hours a week. Colorado: Velopress Publishing.

Golding, Dan. (2010). Triathlon for Beginners: Everything you need to know about training, nutrition, kit, motivation, racing, and much more. CreateSpace Independent Publishing.

Selk, Jason. (2008). 10 Minute Toughness: The mental training program for winning before the game begins. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing

Taylor, Jim & Schneider, Terri. (2006). The Triathlete’s Guide to Mental Training. Colorado: Velopress

                Publishing.

12 Lessons Triathletes Can Learn From A World Champion

On Saturday I participated in a webinar with World Triathlon Off Road Champion, Lesley Patterson. Patterson gave a an honest, humorous and insightful talk. The online event was hosted by JFKU’s Sport Psychology Program and well attended. Click on the link to access the recording available on Feb. 8.

Given my recent triathlon inspiration (see my last post) I decided to get another energy boost for the 2014 season. Additionally, The USA Rugby Women’s National Team work I’m involved in is around the corner too and I hoped Patterson would provide an insight that might carry over to that too.

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

Lesson 1. Where good things happen is outside of your comfort zone. Doing things that might make you uncomfortable help build resilience. Being comfortable in uncomfortable surroundings helps you develop toughness. Message: get out of your zone.

Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

Lesson 2. Follow your motivation. Find your passion. If you’re not sure what you enjoy, if you don’t know what you like things can make you pretty low. Message: find what you love and do that.

Lesson 3. Allow yourself to grow and develop. Get away from the past; adopt new things and new ways of being and do it consciously. Message: who you are is not who you can be.

Lesson 4. Think creatively; create your own environment for success; set goals and work hard to achieve them. Message: find your goal and go after it.

Lesson 5. Sport is a emotional experience. Trying to be an unfeeling ‘robot’ is not the way for everyone. Emotionally engaging and using emotion immediately from the situation you’re in helps build energy and focus for achieving your goals. Message: Emotional responses are human. Use them positively.

Lesson 6. Environment, support and personal experience help shape and influence our sport experiences. Having supportive friends, family and such are very helpful to progressing to your goals. Recognizing how your environment helps or hurts you is important to helping make decisions to keep you doing something or go in a different direction. Message: Raise your awareness about how people, situations and experiences affect you positively and negatively.

Lesson 7. Let go of expectations, concentrate on the human experience. Focus on the experience and enjoying it. Message: Allow yourself to be with yourself and at ease with yourself.

Lesson 8. Use mantras and self talk to focus energy. Write them down and post them where you can see them. Message: “Be brave enough to achieve new boundaries”.New Boundaries

Lesson 9: As success increases so does the scrutiny and intensity from the outside world. But you have to moderate this and balance things out so you can enjoy your training and competition. Message: Keep life and success in perspective.

Lesson 10: Having a support team is critical. We need people around us that lift us up and keep us going. It takes more than just us to reach excellence. Message: It takes a village to achieve our goals.

Lesson 11: Having a growth mindset is very important to accepting setbacks and failure. Finding the best in a situation is important to developing as a person. Message: Personal growth has to be part of who you are and how you approach sport and life.

Lesson 12: A relentless pursuit of excellence is necessary to be a world champion. You need to focus and give what you can to every training session. You need to fight through disappointments and learn from them. But you have to keep going no matter what. Message: If you want to be world champion there is a cost that has to be paid.

Lesley Patterson, “Once a triathlete. Always a triathlete.” She gave a great talk. Visit Lesley’s website at www.lesleypatterson.com

Want To Get Inspired By A Triathlon Newbie?

My friend experienced their first ever triathlon experience through the Life Time Fitness (LTF) indoor (I’m not an employee or connected to LTF) triathlon series held in Orland Park, IL on Saturday. Minerva being bold, swam front crawl for the first time in two decades! Then at the

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

first turn, heart pounding, decided the 10 minute swim portion called for breaststroke. Finishing nicely she easily passed through the ten minute locker room friendly transition and on to the bike. They got there before me and were warming up.

I keep fit and I knew my friend did too. We started the bike and I glanced across to see they were well ahead of me at 6 minutes. I  had my own goals so I kept doing my thing, then one of the wave coaches brought a board with the the farthest distance and the name of the person who biked the distance on it. They stood in front of Minerva at the 15 minute mark and yelled “You got to beat this!” to everyone in the wave. In my typical fashion I ignored this instruction, but to Minerva, it was like a red cape to a bull. She took off, (I later learned they had only done one spin class in their life); the rpm’s picked up and the pace was strong. Looking over again I knew she was going to smash the distance in the 30 minutes allowed. She beat the distance comfortably. Then, jelly-leggèd got off the bike and onto the treadmill for the final 20 minutes of the event.

Slightly tired Minerva began her run and built up speed so much I wondered just how far she would finish overall. Minerva ran well. In fact, compared to me she was so far ahead she could have a made a cup of tea, had a sandwich and showered ready to leave she was that far ahead. I asked Minerva afterwards, “Was it the board with the numbers on it that made you go faster?” “Yes” she replied.

As I questioned her about her experience I realized I was being inspired by her. At this LTF event I got two messages. One as a triathlon enthusiast and the other as a sport psychology consultant. Briefly below I share the three things my friend, who had never done anything like this before, taught me about sport, participation and effort.

Attitude is a difference maker! Minerva approached her first indoor triathlon with excitement and the expectations to have fun. All the way through the event she smiled, grimaced and laughed during the transitions. She enjoyed the experience. The more she got into the experience the greater her effort became.

Feedback matters! As soon as the wave coach brought comparative feedback Minerva set her sights on breaking the record. Feeling good she biked on strong, setting goals in the remaining time to exceed the previous standard.

Social support is important! Participating with Minerva, a boy friend and girlfriend couple and a mum and daughter combo made the experience more enjoyable. I was the odd one out, they had never done any kind of triathlon before. They did their best; they chatted, smiled and enjoyed their experience. They did it with each other and we finished together on the row of treadmills all going at our own pace. When we finished, high fives all round, smiles and then off to cool down and retell the experience. We finished positively, very positively.

Sometimes I feel jaded about sport, but this weekend my enthusiasm was renewed for it and the fire for more engagement in fitness, health and sport was stoked a little more because of Minerva and our wave partners.

The next event for us is 10/16/2014 at LTF Old Orchard, Skokie IL. See you there!

Workshop At Redmond’s Ale House 7pm Today: Caring not Nagging

L2P Image_2Tanya Prewitt and I are leading a fun workshop at Redmond’s Ale House, 3358 N. Sheffield

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

Today there’s free beer from 7pm-8:30pm too.

The workshop will be a light-hearted way of approaching the sometimes thorny situation about when we want to communicate to someone we care about if we feel they should eat differently, exercise more, drink less etc.  In previous posts we’ve talked a little bit about ways to positively nag and unhelpful ways to get under someone’s skin.

We can learn a lot from research done with couples before, during and after marriage about what kinds of communication works best. Whenever we ask someone to do something repeatedly we sometimes come off as a nag and a bore. Below are several ways couples of all kinds share positive ways to care for and help each other without being a negative nag.

  1. Smiling, laughter, caring and empathy go a long way to influencing each other. The higher the positivity between a couple the lower unhelpful negativity is. This allows more open communication.
  2. Learn from the Positive Coaching Alliance and the 5:1 ratio. This means using factual, constructive, honest feedback and recognizing the effort and persistence of your partner before adding a demand that might be perceived as a nagging moment.
  3. Slow things down, keep calm and focus on what you have in common. Assume both of you want to know what the other wants and cares about and want to help each other. If contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness and criticism are not ‘regular’ in the relationship using these strategies often lead to good outcomes.
  4. Share the meaning with your partner. If what you find important is not as important to your partner, nagging them will make things worse. Make sure you know you what is important to each other first and build from there. Instead of forcing or coercing each other to do something find ways to problem solve and compromise so what is important to both of you is respected.

These things are easy to write and hard to do. Our challenge is to be vigilant and mindful with each other. We generally want the best for the people around us otherwise we would not ask them to exercise more, eat differently, smoke less and sleep more. We ask them because we care. Caring is what we need to communicate and leave nagging out of the conversation.

Community Events

 

Couples Workshop, Nagging or Caring?

 

Jan. 22nd, 2014 @ 7pm

 

Redmond’s Ale House

 

3358 N. Sheffield Avenue

 

Free Bud and Bud Light Drafts 6:30-8:30pm

 

Click Nagging or Caring Workshop for more information

 

Experienced Workshop Facilitators: Tanya’s bio. John’s bio.

 

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

 

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

 

5 Ways To Keep Your Exercise Resolutions in 2014

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

Many of us made New Year’s resolutions having something to do with fitness, L2P Image_2health or exercise. I set some goals for 2014 and here is the one that’s the most demanding. Priority is doing 20 days of exercise per month (at least 15 if I’m stretched for time or tired) and mixing it up with working out with friends or doing a group exercise class. To help me along I’m going to use the five tips below to help keep on track, especially in January and February when it’s freezing in Chicago

Know what you want

In 2014 I want to be in a better mood and enjoy every day because I feel better in myself and my body. This is very important to me.

What is important to you? Figure it out and write yourself a reminder for those times when you’re blue or wavering from your resolution.

Know your ability

I joined a gym I could afford because I knew I wouldn’t make the effort for a ‘freebie’, but if you are strapped for cash then other places such as a mall can be good and at least you can walk in warmth and have the stores as eye candy.

Know the reasons for why you do what you do

My reasons are simple; feel happier, more focused and more productive.

What are your reasons? If someone asked you why you’re doing what you’re doing what would you tell them?

Know why you need to do exercise

I need to do exercise because I can control my efforts and decide my own pace and achieve personal goals.

You may have other reasons and be clear in those and keep them in front of you to prevent wavering.

Know what makes you committed

Recognize why you need New Year’s resolutions and what you need to keep them.

I’m confident I’m committed to my New Year’s Resolutions because
1) I got a gym membership,
2) I signed up for an indoor triathlon,
3) I planned my schedule to exercise for between 30-50 minutes,
4) I go with friends and
5) I told people I would do it so I’m accountable.

I think if an onlooker, unknown to me, knew of my program they would say I’m committed to achieving my goals.

Think about what makes you committed to your aims and how others see you striving to hold to your commitment to exercise and health in 2014. My method works for me and maybe it will for you too. Try it out; it may tell you how much of a commitment you actually have and what you need to do should it need strengthening.

Knowing these things isn’t the same as living them. The test is to live our resolutions, so let’s do it!

Check Out Our Workshop Below

Jan. 22nd, 2014 @ 7pm

Redmond’s Ale House

3358 N. Sheffield Avenue

Free Bud and Bud Light Drafts 6:30-8:30pm

Click Nagging or Caring Workshop for more information

Experienced Workshop Facilitators: Tanya’s bio. John’s bio.

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

Nag Your Man. Go To The Gym Alone.

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

Ever wondered why your partner won’t go to the gym with you after you’ve L2P Image_2nagged them to? Read on. If you’ve been reading this blog you will know we’ve written a couple of articles on positive and negative nagging and how they affect fitness and exercise behaviors. Continuing with this theme, 2014 has begun and we take a look at two guaranteed ways to ensure your nagging stops your husband or boyfriend going to the gym with you.

Nagging after a meal that he needs to go to the gym with you

Meal times are times to come together, share food and talk about whatever you feel like. Most men like to enjoy their meals, sometimes they over eat especially during the festive period. Asking him to go with you to the gym after a meal infers to him a) he’s eaten too much, b) he’s not attractive because he’s eaten too much and c) you’re not happy with the way he is. Now, you might not have intended to communicate this but you did and you’ve irritated him.

Do this instead...

wait until the meal is over, settle down and ask him to take you to the gym. You could drive yourself, but tell him you’d really prefer if he took you and picked you up because you don’t feel like driving. Offer to do something for him too after the meal. Perhaps something active such as going for a walk so you sow the seed of doing something physical together.

Nagging with negative language

How many times have you heard something like this? “You should go to the gym because…(fill in the blank)” or “You ought to go to the gym so you…(fill in the blank)”. These types of phrases drive men mad because they are controlling, commanding and directive. Nobody likes being told what to do, least of all someone who does not have a habit of doing something like going to the gym with you. When you “should” on someone it is a quick way to raise the hair on the back of their neck, especially when it does not sound like a choice to them. Most people, of both sexes, don’t like feeling like they’re being commanded to do something they’re not used to doing.

So what should you do?

Tell him how you feel about him coming/not coming with you. Don’t guilt trip the guy, just tell him it  makes you happy or sad if he does or not. Tie something he wants to what you are intending to do. Talk about his ability to exercise, give him a reason to come with you and why you need him to and what it shows you about his commitment to you. This conversation changes the game for a man, so be a game changer and help him get into yours.

Check Out Our Workshop Below

Jan. 22nd, 2014 @ 7pm

Redmond’s Ale House

3358 N. Sheffield Avenue

Free Bud and Bud Light Drafts 6:30-8:30pm

Click Nagging or Caring Workshop for more information

Experienced Workshop Facilitators: Tanya’s bio. John’s bio.

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

3 Top Nagging Tips for You and Your Loved One in 2014

John Coumbe-Lilley

John Coumbe-Lilley

Do you have a nag in your life? Many of us do. My nag is pretty positive and sometimes I have a laugh at their L2P Image_2nagging. What’s your nag like? How do they nag? Come to think of it, how do you nag the person you want to support through a lifestyle change in 2014?

Here’s 3 Top Tips For Nagging and being Nagged

1. Men do much better when they let their women influence their behavior. Women influence their men better when they start nagging gently and carefully.

Tip: Don’t get intense with each other when you want the same thing. Make sure you know what the thing is you have in common and look at it together.

2. If one of you gets angry with the other person when you want them to do something; the chances are very high they will resist and get angry back at you. The result, neither of you gets what you want from the interaction.

Tip: If you’re nagging, state your case clearly and let the other person know how you feel. Don’t get angry. Get clear. If you’re being nagged, listen first then repeat back the concerns of the other person. This simple act communicates active listening and expresses empathy. It starts an emotionally positive conversation.

3. Being nagged by a humorless and bitter person is negative for the person being nagged. A nasty, nagging person generally causes the other person to reject, redirect or leave the conversation.

Tip: Use humor and lighthearted approaches to nagging. When women use humor, men hear it better and feel less defensive. Men need to keep their emotional intensity low and have a sense of humor about them.

We don’t have to be angry when we nag. We don’t need to escalate our anger and if we want better outcomes for the people we want to support let’s lower our emotional intensity (anger), be clear and use humor. We’ll probably get more of what we want when we nag and get nagged this way.

Check Out Our Workshop Below

Jan. 22nd, 2014 @ 7pm

Redmond’s Ale House

3358 N. Sheffield Avenue

Free Bud and Bud Light Drafts 6:30-8:30pm

Click Nagging or Caring Workshop for more information

Experienced Workshop Facilitators: Tanya’s bio. John’s bio.

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

Tanya Prewitt PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP

John Coumbe-Lilley PhD CC-AASP