Athletic Training: 5 Stages That You Will Encounter

“Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.” – Paulo Coelho

Serious athletic training will always be a weird thing in the eyes of virtually everybody, seriously, everybody. If you have never strived for athletic performance then it’s probably weird to read about people who put in these immense hours of training, those extremely early mornings and the discipline that is needed to pursue one goal. If you have done athletic training, with the immense hours and the huge amount of discipline then it’s weird in a way that striving for an athletic performance takes you through a continous, never ending rollercoaster of life, high ups and low downs.

The Rollercoaster of Life

When you come closer and closer to your personal D-Day, and you’re tapering your way to the start, things start to get really, really weird (and they weren’t all that normal to begin with). To explain, let’s compare athletic training with that “Rollercoaster of Life“.

  1. First you wait in line for, what seems to be, a small decade (+/- 4 years). This is the training part, you train and train and although you get closer to the event aka ‘the rollercoaster’, you don’t feel like there’s that much progress. You’re not yet feeling the excitement, it’s just to far away.
  2. Then the taper comes around, during this part the waiting is almost over. You’re already seated in the rollercoaster but ‘the real thing’ still has to start, compare it to that endless uphill at the beginning of each rollercoaster, you got butterflies in you stomach, “finally!” you think to yourself, “it’s about to start!”. During this endless uphill you have the time to think about what is coming, how exciting it will be and what you’re going to do after it’s all done. Uncertainty and doubt also play a big role in this part, especially if it’s you first time striving for an athletic performance.

    It. Takes. Forever!

  3. Finally, after all this time it has started. You feel the excitement and the adrenaline rushing through your body. This is what you’ve waited for and why you put so much time into training. It’s fantastic, it’s exhilarating. You really, really, really don’t want this to end and you wish you could spend your whole life in this moment!
  4. It’s over. You can’t believe it. It was fantastic and although it has taken you an extreme amount  of time and energy, it was all worth it. For the first few moments you talk about how the experience was, how you felt and how you thought about giving up but didn’t, you pushed through. Then finally, realization kicks in: You’ve done it. It was amazing. After catching your breath for a moment it’s, hopefully, time to celebrate and, for example, stuff your face with things that you couldn’t eat during training (yeah, a gallon of chocolate chip ice cream!!)
  5. What is next?  You wonder. Do you want to take another trip in the same rollercoaster or a different one? Or is it time to stop with taking rollercoasters for a moment and spend some time with the people that don’t take rollercoasters? Basically, what’s next? Athletic training is the same, it has taken a lot of effort and it was great, but now you have to think about what your athletic career will be like in the future, and, if you even want to continue with athletic training.

    Do you already know what’s next?

Now summer is here and the sporting tournaments are starting up (Ironman Frankfurt, Austria, Coeur d’Alene, Bolton and France). Athletes anxiously waiting for their time to come. Are you fit enough? Have you trained long enough? or did you over do it? You don’t know, you just hope you did the best you could. When it comes down to myself , well, I don’t know. All I can do is swim some more and blog to forget about what is coming. During every conversation my mind starts wondering about what is coming and what I still need to do. My attention span is non existent and no matter how hard I try, I cannot focus on anything else but the upcoming Ironman. It affects my whole life and I’m ready to get going with it… but I will have to wait a little more for now. 9 days to be exact. All we can do is wait a little more and wait for the real rollercoaster to begin. We can surely use a good cocktail of adrenaline and endorphins.


How are you feeling about your athletic goals for this year? Are you calm or freaking the hell out over what you still need to do and how it will be? Let me know in the comments!


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