THE T:ZERO BLOG
Free advice, content and media for all. It's our way of giving back to the tri community who have given so much to us. Enjoy!
“Be consistent in all you do. Consistency over many months and years will allow you to yield the results you want.”
This month we’re shining the spotlight on our coaching team again, featuring our Cairns-based super coach and a stellar athlete in her own right - Coach Mon!
Originally turning to triathlon as a new athletic endeavour after finishing her cricketing career, Monique joined T:Zero as an athlete in 2014 and has been a T:Zero coach for almost 3 years now.
Her favourite thing about the sport, she says is “the discipline it requires”, while her least favourite is washing all the training clothes (we’re with you on this one, Mon!). Her favourite leg is the bike, where she feels she can “get into the groove” and really work her hardest, motivated no doubt by the sweet sounds of Eminem, who dominates her training playlist.
Since her triathlon debut in 2013, Mon has competed in two Ironmans, 11 Ironman 70.3 races and countless sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. All her hard work has recently culminated in her proudest triathlon moment to date - qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in New Zealand later this year.
From a coach’s perspective, Mon believes the most successful athletes share the attributes of consistency, positivity and understanding that the process is more important than the outcome. We couldn’t agree more!
Outside of triathlon, Coach Mon is a self-confessed “nerd” who loves reading, brain training and doing jigsaw puzzles.
Since becoming a T:Zero athlete or coach, what is the one new belief, behaviour, habit formed or skill honed that has most improved your athletic (or every day or coaching) performance?
It is all about having a growth mindset. I am a very structured and rigid person and I can stumble with change, but I am developing my mindset to enjoy new challenges.
Do you do other training outside the normal swim/bike/run?
Love to MTB. I am an uncoordinated baby giraffe and always fall off but I love the feeling of being free!
What motivates or inspires you to train/race/participate?
Self drive motivates me. I want to see what I can do and I love to know the session has been nailed each and every day. Love the greens in TP (Training Peaks)!
Do you have any tips for athletes struggling to find some motivation or who may have temporarily lost focus?
Go back to your ‘why’. The ‘why’ you are doing triathlon in the first place. There was an initial reason you started, so search back and try and rekindle the passion.
What is your favourite thing about being a T:Zero coach?
I have grown as a coach under the tutelage of Scotty as my mentor. My favourite thing is when an athlete nails a session, or a race and they are so excited. That excitement is contagious and keeps me motivated to give them exciting and challenging sessions.
And one more for good measure (and a big head) …
Why do you love being part of the T:Zero Multisport team?
I love the way it has grown. When I started with Scotty, T:Zero as we know it today did not exist. It has been interesting to watch it grow from a thought to a reality and it has been exciting to be an athlete and a coach with this amazing coaching group and stable of athletes.
If you are living in pocket of the world with less than favourable weather conditions, like myself and many of our Tzero athletes, dealing with these elements can be a real challenge. In the tropics, we have extreme heat for six months of the year with insane humidity, coupled with cyclones, wet season and other dramas which impact on our ability to ride and run outside.
It was during the recent monsoonal low where it rained for nearly four weeks straight that I found myself loving my indoor sessions and really starting to see the benefits and gains that come from indoor training. I know most people hate to train inside and will give you a brilliant argument of why you should be training in all weather conditions. I can see the benefit of training across all conditions BUT when it is not possible due to your own safety you need a solid option B and sometimes here, it's option C!!
I will add a caveat to this article and put it out there that I am a massive fan of indoor training regardless of the weather. This love of the trainer and treadmill was borne from the fact that I have had two very serious bike accidents within 4 weeks of each other in the past 2 years that has left me lacking confidence (it is growing, albeit slowly) and recognising the gains that indoor cycling especially provides me with very structured workouts. Couple this with the fact that I love to sit in front of the TV and watch cartoons and listen to podcasts and I will happily spin away for hours on end!
Here are some of the benefits I have experienced from my summer of indoor training!
Some of the biggest names in cycling and triathlon spend a significant amount of their bike time inside. Matt Hayman won the famed Paris Roubaix simply by doing Zwift sessions whilst recovering from a broken collar bone. He did not do a single outdoor session before the race and not only did he hold and improve his fitness levels whilst recovering from injury, but he won a race that is so demanding and requires super human mental toughness and strength. In triathlon, Lionel Sanders openly supports indoor bike training and is a massive fan of Zwift as is Jesse Thomas. Both these pros have their own group rides on Zwift and are very interactive with other riders.
I know indoor training can be a mental challenge, but the next time you are programmed an indoor bike or run session, instead of seeing the negatives (it is boring, I hate it, this is stupid etc) see the positives, jump on and embrace the challenge and see the changes occur in your mindset and attitude! Pretty soon you will be a fan of the indoor sessions and you WILL see improvement in your techniques, performance, numbers and mental toughness!
Enjoy your training and be safe!
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change”.
This is a quote that I have stuck up in my training room and office to remind me to embrace the concept of a growth mindset. Too many of us look for the worst in things instead of seeing potential positives. I will give you an example to solidify the concept. Say you are prescribed a swim set with 40 x 50s. Mentally this is a challenging set and can create some angst of how hard it will be to do the set. What many of us do when we have completed 10 of the 40 is to think ‘oh no I still have 30 to go’ instead of thinking ‘oh great I have done 10 already and I am a quarter of the way there’. This concept can apply across all of you training and in life in general.
This article is going to address how to develop a growth mindset that will assist you in unlocking your mental barriers and hopefully helping you to improve your mental and physical performances. Before we dive in let’s take a look at the difference between a fixed and growth mindset.
A fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence, creativeness and the like are all static and that we simply cannot change them in ourselves.
A growth mindset on the other hand thrives on challenges and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a springboard for growth and furthering our existing abilities.
We manifest one of these mindsets from a very early age, largely due to the environment in which we are brought up in, the influence of our parents, teachers and friends. These mindsets have a significant impact on a great deal of our learned behaviours about ourselves and can impact on our relationship with success and failure in both a professional and personal capacity, which as we all know can ultimately impact on our capacity for happiness!!
One of the leading researchers in this field, Carol Dweck, has poignantly stated ‘the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life’. This is interesting and worth rereading. This concept suggests that if we view ourselves different then we can make positive changes in our lives. A good example of this is thinking and believing we are athletes and conducting ourselves in that manner with confidence and poise.
Dweck believes that we all lie on a continuum of fixed and growth mindsets depending on what it relates to. In terms of endurance sports, we might have a fixed mindset when it comes to doing an ironman believing it is too hard, that we are too old, slow and the list goes on. Whereas we might have a growth mindset in terms of nutrition as we want to learn more about it so we can shift weight to feel and look better. I find I have differing mindset at work, in training and in my general life and a lot of these differing mindsets can come down to positivity, past results, self actualisation, self belief and worth.
So, if you are keen to try and work on the growth mindset, I have a number of approaches that will help you on the path. As with everything in life, we need to identify when we are fixed in our mindset, examine why this is the case and then work hard to switch it over. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Keep training hard and recover well.
Click HERE to learn more about Coach Mon!
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!