Posted On:
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: You Are What You Think

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The holiday yesterday might make today feel like a Monday, but the truth of the matter is that it’s Coach Tip Tuesday!!

Today we’re expanding our discussion on the mental side of endurance events by talking about this: You are what you think.

I know, I know.  You all probably think I’ve gone off my rocker with this one.  But I haven’t.  I can’t tell you how many times an athlete has diminished themselves or their accomplishments to me. (And this - negative self-talk from athletes - is seriously the quickest way to get my coach blood to boil.)  “I’m just a runner.”  “I’m just a walker.”  “I’m just doing a 5K.” “I’m not fast so I’m not a real athlete.”

NONSENSE, I tell you.  NONSENSE.  If you are pushing your boundaries, working towards a goal, or just getting off of the couch and moving every day, you are doing something that is worthy of recognition.  And I’m not talking about recognition from me or any other external source.  I’m talking about how you’re worthy of recognition from yourselves.

What is a runner??  Someone who runs.  There isn’t a set speed one must run in order to be considered a runner.  What is a triathlete??  Someone who swim, bikes, and runs in the same event.  It does not matter - AT ALL - how fast one swims, bikes, or runs.  Speed or time on a clock is not a measure of your self-worth.  It also doesn’t matter what kind of gear you use to complete any of these events.  You could be on a Huffy purchased in the 80s or on the newest time trial bike, or you could be wearing a borrowed kit.  You could be doing a race because you decided to do it with friends, or you could be doing it because it’s your own personal challenge to yourself.  This is YOUR journey, and you don’t need someone else to validate it.

So my challenge to all of you today is to look yourselves in the mirror (no, seriously, go get in front of a mirror right now) and tell yourselves that you are strong and capable athletes.  Tell yourselves that you will rock your next workout, or you will crush your next race.  Smile (it’s been scientifically proven to boost your mood), and visualize what that success looks like to you, and tell yourselves that you are completely capable of making your dreams become reality.  Doing this helps assuage some of the anxieties and fears that creep into athletes’ lives.  Let yourselves become consumed by GOOD thoughts and CONFIDENT thoughts - don’t let yourselves become consumed by the negatives or the what ifs.

You are what you think, my friends.  You are strong.  You are bold.  You are powerful.  You are worthy.

….now go out there and tell yourselves that.


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.

She can be reached at

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