Shrink or Shine

Life is tough. Endurance sport is tough. Ultimately that is the appeal. As athletes we (sometimes not always) love the endearing nature of what we do for multiple hours in challenging conditions. 

Why do we love it so much? 

Because it teaches us to shrink or shine. 

Each day we wake up with the opportunity to shrink or shrine in everything that we do. 

That tough Power Intervals set that you know you loathe? Shrink or shine baby.

You either get after it, push yourself as much as you can, and enjoy the shine; the personal satisfaction of knowing that you gave it your all. It’s that little fist bump you give yourself at the end of a great set — double-bump if you knew you didn’t really want to do it in the first place, but STILL DID IT. 

The shrink is the opposite.

You loathe the Power Intervals so much that you talk yourself out of them before you start riding. Then as you start the ride you keep reminding yourself just how much you don’t like them, you don’t enjoy them, and eventually you tell yourself that you simply suck at them. WORST CASE: you get off the bike early and retreat to a place of despair. You shrink. 

Obviously the former is a far better option than the latter.

Think about it in the context of race day. 

A long day, with multiple challenges and slip-ups just waiting to occur. Even more challenging. The mind can wander…

Even the most disciplined minds can behave like a 1 year old Labrador: constantly jumping from distraction to distraction.

Even the most disciplined minds can behave like a 1 year old Labrador: constantly jumping from distraction to distraction. The more you do that, the more you shrink.

You stop focusing on the task and you start letting the negative and distracting thoughts creep in….

…”what if I am not goof enough to keep running this pace”…”that person looks way fitter than me – now way I can keep up!”

Or worse still…

“this sucks – I want to stop now and never race again”

Those are real thoughts that we have all experienced during those inevitable low points in a race. And just like in training when we hear those thoughts, in a race we have a choice:

Shrink or shine. 

It’s binary. You either 0 or 1. Nothing else. 

When those thoughts start, you catch ’em an you remind yourself you are here to shine. You are here to execute. You are here to reach a little bit deeper, ask a little bit more from yourself and truly shine. A switch of your mindset. 

A choice.

I am here to shine. I am here not shrink and melt away into a puddle of regret and despair. 

So next the next time you find yourself in a hole, dreading the week of training ahead, or lamenting a “bad” session…ask yourself:

“Am I shrinking or shining?”

Then, flip the switch.