For me, the Ironman journey has been over five years in the making and it’s been the biggest goal that’s kept me going on the road to recovery. I reckon I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way too.
For starters, I feel like I’ve become more patient. Don’t get me wrong, I sure ain’t no zen master, but I have learned to trust in the process a lot more. I know that if you just keep your head down and put in the work, you’ll be ready on the day. For me it’s all about consistency, and even when some days you can only measure your progress in millimetres not inches, that’s ok. Progress is progress no matter how small.
Another thing I’ve learned is the absolute power of mindset. Even though I know I’ve always been pretty stubborn and determined by nature, competing in Ironman has ultimately showed me that I literally can do anything I put my mind to. To me that is pretty damn cool!
You get to know yourself inside out too – what you like, what you don’t like, and how to come up with strategies to get around it all. For example, I know that I don’t relish swimming, so that’s why I get it out of the way first thing in the morning. It’s a technique I learned in hospital during my recovery – by doing the hardest thing first, I get an energy boost for the rest of the day. In hospital, having my dressings changed every day was really painful and took hours. I’d lie awake at night dreading it, and in the morning while I waited for my turn, I’d have to listen to everyone else in pain while they had their dressings changed. To take back some control, I asked if I could go first. By getting the hardest thing over and done with early in the day, it really helped give me a boost.
I also know, now more than ever, the importance of having clear goals and understanding your why. Once you know that and you work out how to overcome the barriers between you and that goal you’re on your way. For me some of the barriers to Ironman were physical – because of my lack of fingers, I find it really hard to use brakes and change gears. Spearman’s Cycles adjusted them so that you push on the brake as opposed to pulling on the brake – way easier for me! I’ve got Di2 (electronic gears) so changing gears is super easy too – I literally just push a button to make it harder, and push another button to make it easier. Another barrier to Kona in particular is the extreme heat and humidity – because of my burns, I can’t regulate my own body temperature so I’ve had to make some adjustments, or use standard tri gear in different ways. Like I’ll use a kit to keep moisture on my skin, rather than repel sweat. And I’m going to need things like cooling sleeves and white suits so I don’t overheat.
I believe so much in the power of setting goals and understanding the process, that this year I launched my online goal-getting course Turia’s School of Champions. I love being able to take what I’ve learned along the way and use it to help others reach their goals, and I’m super proud that over 6,000 people have participated in my online courses this year.
So between School of Champions, training, travelling, speeches, interviews and writing my next book it’s been a massively hectic year. I keep a full fitness calendar and try to plan all my other activities around that where possible. Sometimes it doesn’t all go according to plan and I have to let myself off the hook occasionally and that’s OK too. Like I said, you have to be consistent, but you also have to be flexible, especially when you travel because it’s often harder to do effective training. I’m often in places where there’s no pool, no gym or something happens like my bike not fitting on the plane. You know, there’s always gonna be shit that happens that’s outside your control. But what really defines us is how we react to these situations.
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