It’s been a week since I completed 2swim4life. Quite a simple event, swim a mile on the hour, every hour for 24 hours at the lovely Guildford Lido.
During the 768 lengths, I had plenty of time to think, so here are a few thoughts about the event and sport in general
No man is an island
Swimming, running, cycling, triathlon are all team sports. Yes, we may be the ones that go out there and race but it's the team behind us that give us the support, encouragement and confidence to be able to push ourselves and participate in the sports we love. Family, friends, coaches, fellow athletes all give something towards our athletic endeavours; each providing their own unique input that helps to build us as an athlete.
The event is, yes, but never underestimate the mental side of sport and life. We are physical beings that are very much guided by our minds. What our minds think, our bodies will usually follow. Think you're tired, and your body will feel tired. Think you can, and you will. But you mustn't think too much, just enough to be in the moment, focus on the now. The past has happened and that's that. The future is there, but don’t think too far ahead. Keep yourself in the moment, but with an awareness of what’s going on around you and where you are going.
As mentioned above, I have a very supportive family. I’m 41 and my mum and dad still come to my events. My dad even crewed for me for the whole 24 hours at 2swim4life. My wife understands me and lets me do all these crazy things(probably because she knows how grumpy I would be if I didn’t). I’m lucky that this team has helped to shape me into who I am today. I’m lucky this shaping enables me to do these sort of events and to continually push myself, many in the world don’t have these opportunities.
“Why do you do these events” is a questions I’m often asked. To better myself, to push myself, just because I can. But the main reason these days is, as a dad of 3, to inspire my kids and show them what can be done through hard work and perseverance. It's important to me that I pass down the ethics that my parents instilled in me. “We pass this way but once” is a phrase often uttered by my mum and a good way of looking at life. It's not a practice run and we need to make the most of it while we are here. If we can develop our children into honest, hard working, constructive people then we’ve succeeded as parents Doing what I do, hopefully inspires them to make the most of themselves.
Coaching is more than just a plan
One lesson I’ve learned through working with a number of athletes since setting up Streamline Coaching is that sports coaching is about far much more than setting the plan and designing sessions. It's about support, structure and helping people to realise their own potential. It's about the athletes whole well-being; mental as well as physical. It's about helping athletes maintain the balance between their busy day to day lives and the aims and targets of a training plan. It’s ensuring that the balance is right for them and their team and that the training and completing adds to their lives rather than becomes a hindrance. It's quite a responsibility, one that I enjoy and one that I will continue to develop personally and professionally.
So that was my main areas of thought throughout the 24 hours, apart from, of course, “what am I going to eat after this mile?” and “how many lengths have I done?”
Thanks for reading