Coach Tip Tuesday: Accept and Embrace Where You Are
Coming to you live from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, it’s Coach Tip Tuesday!
This week we’re going to talk about something that’s really hard to do. But it’s also really necessary, and it’s equal parts applicable in training and in life. What we’re going to talk about is accepting where you are.
As an athlete myself who was in the peak shape of my life, and then was forced to take close to a year off of regular training, this is a skill that I have been honing in on for the better part of 12 months. As a coach, I have worked with so many athletes who are all in different stages of their lives. At Team Semper Fi Camp this week, I am working with a wonderful group of athletes who have all seen combat serving our country in the United States Military. All of these athletes are at various points in their athletic careers and at different points health-wise in their lives. Working with all of them has reinforced to me just how important accepting where you are really is.
It’s undoubtedly discouraging to admit that we are not as fit as we’d like to be. It can be extremely difficult to accept that we’re injured and need to take a step back to rest. It’s very hard to admit that we’re not where we feel that we “should be.”
And what is “should be,” anyway? “Should be” can take on many different forms; I usually see it when athletes compare their current self to their past selves, or compare themselves to their peers.
Here’s the harsh reality, my friends. We will never be who we were in the past; that person is, in fact, in the past. We CAN however, be the best versions of ourselves now, and in the future. Here’s another harsh reality: You are YOU, not your friend, not your co-worker, and not even your sibling with whom you share DNA. You are uniquely, wonderfully you, and your time is much better spent than trying to morph into someone who you’re not.
Your family may have had a lot going on over the last year, and training took a backseat. You may have sustained an injury that left you restricted from activity. You may have put on some weight because you’ve had a lot of stress in your life, or because you’ve gone through life/health changes that have made eating nutritious food regularly a challenge. Do you know what all of these situations have in common? They’re all 100%, very much OKAY.
Try not to feel ashamed that you went to your children’s basketball games instead of going out for a run. Accept that providing for your family by taking an extra shift of overtime was probably time well-spent. Know that listening to the advice of your doctors as you managed an injury will allow you to be active and healthy longer over the course of your life.
This week I not only want to challenge you to accept where you are, I want to challenge you to EMBRACE it. Our lives are full of peaks and valleys, and quite honestly, things would be boring without that. Know that you have an active choice that you can make every single day to focus on what you can control and what you can do both today and in the future. Try not to waste time and energy longing for the past or coveting what someone else appears to be or to have. Covet, love, and accept the life that you’re living with a full-on smile.
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.