The Switch

“The day you stop racing is the day you win the race.” – Bob Marley

Now more than ever endurance athletes need the ability to turn the switch on and turn it off. The Switch I am referring to is the competitive energy switch. The ability to turn this switch on is a hallmark for any competitive athlete. This is the switch you need to turn on in order push your physical limiters in training or to perform in a race if you’re lucky enough to race during this pandemic. The problem I see with many endurance athletes is that their ability to turn their switch off is not working. They get stuck in a competitive energy that they are used to while training and racing. There’s nothing wrong with this energy – we need this energy to train and compete however it’s a problem if we can’t turn it off. Timing is key here people. I want to challenge you to look at your relationship with your sport. This competitive energy should not be turned on at all times. It comes down to where is your energy coming from? Is it coming from validation from your performance or Is it coming from something deeper within you? The reason I think we need this switch now more than ever is that we are living in a pandemic! The ability to have full control of this switch can lower stress and be a great source of peace and freedom. We need the ability to turn off that competitive energy that fuels us so well in our competitive environment but isn’t quite fitting in other contexts. The beauty is that the fact that you are an endurance athlete means you have your sport which can be a deep endless well of inspiration and rejuvenation if you tap into it. However you can only tap into it if you turn off that competitive energy switch. Turn on the "be present" switch and fully immerse yourself with no need to go fast. Instead of going fast the energy goes to purely enjoying your sport and the activity. And if it’s something you can do with those you love it will just add an even deeper layer of contentment and enjoyment. Cultivate rejuvenation from your sport/s. Your competitive spirit will thank you and you will find more speed in the long run when you have full control of your switch.

Be super fit. Be committed to your competitive goals BUT know when it’s time to turn that switch off and let yourself be immersed in the pure enjoyment of your sport –take the heart rate strap off, take your Garmin off. When you vibrate at this level your sport can become a source of so much happiness – and from a place that you can’t access if your switch is on competitive mode. Turn on the present moment, have the ability to slow down and be 100% immersed in the moment with no need or desire to go fast or hit some kind of interval or Strava KOM. At the end of the day we are really talking about the ego needing energy or your soul. I like to think of the switches as competitive mode vs adventure mode. 

Give yourself what you need. Take care of yourself. Your sport can be so much more than just how you will meet your athletic goals or dreams. Your sport is waiting for you to unlock this energy – I can tell you from personal experience that you can use this switch to go back and forth as needed from the competitive energy to the present enjoyment adventure energy. Like Bob Marley’s quote above, the day you learn how to use this switch – is the day you win the race. 

~John Spinney - QT2, Run Formula and Cycling Formula Coach

At the time of this writing Coach Spinney is celebrating the recent marriage to his soulmate Susannah. John and Zana Spinney live in Stowe, Vermont and enjoy cycling, skiing and hiking in the green mountains. 



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