I am not an Olympian and do not come close to training like one. My 10 to 12 hours a week of training may be more than most, but most Olympians train that much in a day. This topic came to me this evening as I was on my treadmill running my speed intervals. I put on an NBC on demand episode of Smash and ran while I watched it. My plan was to run 7 x 400 meter intervals covering a total of four miles with warm up, recovery, and cool down. After my second 400 I was trying to find a way to cut the workout short. I was just not into it. I swam 2,500 meters this morning, worked later than expected and just wanted to make dinner. Even on demand television has commercials and a commercial for NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in London came on. The music, the film clips of the 2008 Olympics and the voice over changed my attitude. To see Michael Phelps scream with joy, to watch the track women jump the hurdles and all of the other athletes compete and celebrate the victories knocked a bit of reality in my head. I was trying to find a way to get out of running five more 400 repeats at a 6.8 (8:49 per mile pace) while I watched athletes who never thought of giving up in order to make it to the Olympics. That sure got me through the workout.
My experience today has given me a few mental pictures to focus on along with my mantras. Those athletes have made it to the Olympics because they have dreams and never gave up on them. They made sacrifices to reach London and hope to be one of the three on the podium while their nation’s flag is raised in their honor. Some may only make it to the first round of their sport. But they made it to London. A victory few are able to claim. I only want to train to improve my times while developing and maintaining desired fitness levels. I will think of these athletes as I train and reverse my negative thought process when I am feeling like cutting a workout short.
I don’t know if it is a seasonal effect, a moon phase, or the fact that it is tax time but several blogs this week have commented about how the writers were just not into the workout that day. Those that did it anyway were happy they did and those that did it the next day (or plan too) are happy that the workout came. I hope the mental image of the Olympic athletes helps others too. Just hear the Olympic music playing, the horns and drums beating, and be motivated to get through your workout. There is an athlete somewhere counting down the days until they walk into the stadium in London who didn’t give up.