Training for a triathlon involves many hours of repetitive movement but lately, I’ve noticed my mind wandering in the middle of a swim or going 36mph downhill on a bike. Instead of focusing on my stroke or looking at the road in front of me, my thoughts take a new path. Before I know it, I’m swimming in the wrong direction, or my tires hit gravel. Brilliant.
Being distracted is not a good way to go through a workout and it can throw you off. Not just metaphorically, but literally. I’ve fallen a couple of times on my bike with my shoes still clipped in because I wasn’t paying attention. Without knowing it, you could easily find yourself in a dangerous predicament only because you lost your focus.
What do you think about though, when you have 30 more laps to go? Here are the top two things I have found that work to ensure I zero in on the job at hand:
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1. Read books on the top athletes in your field
You might find you relate to their hardships or obstacles. Sometimes, you’ll read the one thing you need to hear to get in the groove. Just like you have to schedule a workout into your day, plan to read for just 10 minutes about your new sport.
2. Keep it fresh
Break your workouts down into shorter, more interesting intervals. Try timing yourself between landmarks or up a hill you’ve never attempted. When you’re swimming, try a different drill every 200m. By keeping your workouts new and exciting, you’re less likely to wander. You’ll be too busy focusing on your new drill.
In short, the more present and focused you stay on your workout, the smaller the injury risk and the more enjoyment you’ll get.