Ask any of the athletes that I coach about goals and they should (I hope) tell you that my first response would be ‘focus on the process and the results will come to you.’
If I am pushed to answer again, I explain to the athlete that they are coming at it from the wrong direction, what you should be asking yourself is whether you will become the best athlete you can be. The answer to that is always yes because it is entirely within your own control and destiny.
If you just focus on the process, training right, eating right, progressing sensibly, and learning and adapting as you go, you will realise 100 percent of your given ability.
I sometimes have to remind athletes that there is no uncertainty whatsoever about the process an athlete needs to follow to become the best they can be, and that an athlete who simply follows this process without looking/worrying ahead is all but guaranteed to realise their full potential.
There is no more reason to presume that success in this effort depends on attaining a certain metric than it does to presume that it depends on attaining a certain VO2max, running economy, respiratory exchange ratio, lactate threshold—you get the idea.
The importance of maintaining a focus on the process in the pursuit of athletic ambitions is well established, and yet most athletes struggle to do so with any real consistency.
Fundamental to my job as a coach is to bring athletes back to the path of process focus when they wander from it, seduced by the shiny object of outcomes bright, PB’S, new FTP’S etc. It is for this reason that I see the current Coronavirus pandemic as a terrible situation, where globally people have lost oved ones and suffered terribly, but it does have a silver lining from a sporting context, at least.
The near-total closure of last year’s race calendar and some of this years too, has all but forced athletes to focus more on the process of getting better than they are normally wont to do. Allowing for an opportunity to create stronger foundations than they would do normally. Some have adapted to the situation better than others, and by and large, few athletes have adapted better than the pros, who tend to be very process focused at all times. Unfortunately, some haven’t, but for those that have and have been fortunate to race this season, their success are already surpassing their own expectations.
It has not come as a surprise at all that a number of great performances have been achieved by athletes as they return to racing for those that have followed the process and not outcomes.
Sisu Racing Triathlon Coach