You need balance to perform your best in triathlon, but just because you may have been a gymnast or ballerina in another life does not mean you have it. I am not talking about holding yourself stationary on a high bar or walking on your hands; there is a more critical lifestyle equilibrium we all need. The Oxford University Press definition is: “The harmonious development of physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person.” It was a philosophical ideal of the ancient Greeks who thought that sport played a key role in the acquisition of balance.
The up and downs during a training cycle, season, or career for athletes largely can be pinpointed to imbalance in their lifestyle. Besides a lack of training, rest, financial and relationship issues, self esteem, chemical, mechanical (such as ergonomic or technique), or even a need for calming spiritualism can prevent us from reaching homeostasis at a most critical time prior to competition, and corrupting our big race of the day. Each of us has our individual amounts of whatever “it” is keeps us on that fulcrum of life, performing at our best both physiologically and psychologically. As a coach, I have seen money woes destroy an entire season of elite athletes (because they were so worried about cash and not focused on proper execution of daily training). As a long time observer of our sport, I have seen separation of couples sap the motivation for sport, only to become energized again by filling a void in their lives with religion for example. We often compensate for something in our lives by overbalancing it with something else. Whatever the case, it is a constant conformity to our ever changing needs as we grow older, wiser and attempt to adapt to meet the rigorous demands of the triathlon lifestyle.
How many fancy pieces of bike equipment, drinks, gels and whatsmahoozits have you experimented with to get the ideal results on race day? Disk wheels, aero helmets for faster bike splits (because your swim and run may outshine your bike splits), or elastic laces because your transitions are slow for your athletic prowess? Yes, triathlon and every other component of our personal life are in a constant state of flux. If you are having trouble on the race scene, it may not be your equipment choices, so take an honest look at all aspects that make you who you are today. It may be as simple as getting more sleep, or something more in depth as getting a different job, girlfriend, better nutrition, venting built up frustrations to a friend or putting it in a diary, or spend some time doing kind things for others instead of making life all about numero uno (me, me, ME!) In short, we can have too much or too little of something in our lives. Get rid of some stress, and create a counterbalance. The pushing and pulling of these stresses do have an effect on your racing, so analyze what you have, and then take a look at what you need or don’t need. The chances are you are ready for some changes somewhere in your routine, or soon will be. Race faster, live smarter, and find that balance again so you can perform your best at work or on the triathlon race course. A final thought…YOU MAKE YOU, now get busy doing it.