Let me tell you, standing at the finish line you could sure tell those athletes that were focused on the end result during the race rather than being immersed in the process of being their best throughout the day.
For those people who did not achieve the result they wanted it was all about justifying it. "I had a crappy swim, I was tired, I had a problem with my bike, I couldn't run the pace I wanted"...
Part of me wanted to go up to these people and ask "So how did you stay focused in that moment on what you needed to be the best you could be?"
I would bet they would not have an answer because they had checked out. Their ideal result appeared to be no longer in reach. Race over.
Putting together a great performance is about being the best you can be in this moment rather than trying to be the best.
It is a subtle statement with great meaning.
Being the best in the moment will always allow you to get the most out of every race regardless of the circumstances.
I have learned through 15 years of coaching and competing that the best results always happen when you have no expectations of a specific result, you know you have the ability to race well, so you just let it happen, and trust that you have the knowledge and experience that will allow things to work out.
This mindset takes the pressure away from trying to force a result. It not about the end outcome, its about being immersed in the present experience. The focus is on the process of being the best you can be in the moment.
This is what you can control. When you adopt this mindset rather than trying to achieve the perfect outcome (whatever "perfect" is?!) you give yourself the best chance of performing at your best.
Time and time again, I have seen poor races happen when athletes try to control the results and force good things to happen. Trying to control the results causes anxiety, stress, and tension. So let go of what you can't control (results) and focus on the little things (the present process) that will help you perform well.
So whether in sport or life, next time you are preparing for or are in a challenging situation, be your best in the moment rather than trying to be the best.
Get after it!
P.S. Big News - In the next few days I will be opening up registration for the Endurance Journey 6 week triathlon clinic and Rise and Tri Triathlon on August 21st. This is a great opportunity to prepare for and race a super sprint or spring triathlon. Stay tuned for the details...