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October 23, 2014

Knowing the limit

This time of the year is always exciting.

While I am 34, I am as fast, if not faster, than I was 10 years ago. That still keeps me in the loop with potential and existing sponsors and planning a year around performance in 2015. It’s exciting. In 2014, I noticed a plateau in my performance, while my enjoyment levels were up quite a bit. My approach has been quite chilled and the results have been 90% of what I wanted.

But I am at the limit of what I can do on my own. SO, knowing the limit, I have enlisted help. For ages, I have watched a few coaches and how they interact with their athletes and what they believe of coaching itself. There has been one clear standout for me and even better for me, I only wanted to pick 1 discipline of the 3 I do to focus on, leaving me the other two to still max out on the “enjoyment” bits.

And so, I am heading back to the powermeter and the coach. I am heading back for intervals, pain, recovery and being told what to do.

But it goes deeper than that. For the last 10 weeks, I have also been on my ace in a converted second bedroom (currently stacked with 1050 waterbottles, 200 sets of kit and 100 sets of shoes) without much structure to my days. I have, in recent weeks, made a concerted effort to follow a schedule during the day to improve my productivity and the results have been superb.

This was one of the factors that I wanted to bring into my training for Xterra season 2015 into play – structure.

Because knowing the limit means I can then know when to respect and when to break the limits. Both approaches are necessary and I really want to make sure that I have the headspace to know when to do each of those. But I can only do it if I have the headspace for it.

I was reading this article earlier today, called The Limits of Ambition and it struck a chord with me as often, risk is a part of my outdoor life. Yet, it equipped me to take the risk to go on my own and start my own company, where risk is a part of every decision I now make.

Are you equipping yourself to know the limits and know when to push and when to pull?

This was the most important piece for me:

When you understand why you want to achieve your goal, what the base rate of success is, what the key success factors are, the cost of reaching the goal and the cost of failure, you are in a good position to make an informed decision about whether this goal is realistic for you. Do the answers to these questions add up to a compelling story? Can you convince others that you have a realistic chance of achieving the goal? Can you convince yourself?

Aim high, but don’t forget to aim.

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To close, a little quote from Helen Keller:

The marvellous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.

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