What does it feel like to win my fifth world title?
Completely and utterly satisfying.
That may sound like an odd word to use. Most people would expect me to say, “Ecstatic, overjoyed, deliriously happy, etc, etc.” It’s not to say I’m not all those things, but after fighting through Lyme’s disease, debilitating injuries, depression, and anxiety; to just feel like you had the best block of training, then delivered on the day and felt invincible, that to me just feels totally satisfying.
Here’s what went RIGHT for me this year:
I focused on getting back to basics and on the things that are within my control.
I put together some great training partners and put effort into the social aspect of the sport so that I could “enjoy” all the hard work with others.
Every session had some sort of emphasis – on the swim I tried to develop more strength so I could apply it to good technique and create power in the water, on the bike I focused on top end speed by doing group workouts and trying to hang the wheels of cat 1/pro men, and on the run, I put my attention towards form, gym work and NOT getting injured.
I made better decisions on a minute to minute basis and as a consequence, I wasn’t scared to rest or to shut it down if it wasn’t happening. In general, I was kinder to myself.
Ultimately, what this journey has shown me is to focus on the PROCESS and NOT the OUTCOME. Too often I coach athletes that are laser-focused on the result they want to have and they forget to put their emphasis on the day to day process of mastering each sport. If you can become passionate about that level of attention to detail in each aspect of every day, the results will take care of themselves.
The easiest way to practice mindfulness in sport is to stop comparing oneself to others. As soon as we try to match what other people are doing, or compete with others on a daily basis, we start to make decisions that will not get us to the end result we are looking for. This is YOUR journey. Overcome your own obstacles, face your own fears, and stop comparing your journey to other people’s path. In my experience, that is what will get you to the top of your mountain.
In 2018, Lesley Paterson won the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship AND the Xterra World Championship, making her a 5-time World Champion. She is the co-owner of Braveheart Coaching and author of “The Brave Athlete”. She was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease in 2011.