The 2012 Olympics ended several months ago, but I still think about some of the things I took away from watching it. While I love seeing the amazing athletic feats that are showcased, like Usain Bolt’s speedy sprints across the finish, or Gabrielle Douglas’ amazing vaults, I am most inspired by the personal stories that were shared. Whether you like Ryan Seacrest or not, he had what I consider the best assignment! He interviewed and told the stories of many of the athletes who took the long journey to the Olympic Village.
I live just outside Baltimore, so all eyes were on Michael Phelps to see if he would become the most decorated Olympian of all times. And to the city’s pride, he did it. His coach told Ryan part of the secret to his success. Train for adversity, he said. His coach would do things purposefully to throw Michael’s practices off course. He would pick him up for practice early, knowing Michael would not have had time to eat before a grueling practice session in the pool. Once, when Michael misplaced his goggles and his Coach found them, he refused to give them to Michael so that he’d have to swim without them. And another time, he made it so that the goggles would malfunction and fill with water. This could seem cruel. But, when Michael swam a race during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his goggles did malfunction and filled with water. But he had trained for this. It did not throw him off course when it mattered most. He went on to win that race where others would have likely lost and blamed the equipment failure.
I know most, if not all of you, are not training for the Olympics. But, you have jobs and kids, and spouses and family members that throw you off course from your fitness and nutrition plans. Bad weather, broken equipment, injuries, all of these things happen to you and me. In fact, the other week I headed out on a 3 mile run and half a mile into it I realized I had the wrong sneakers on! I was wearing my cross trainers, not my running shoes. I was concerned my already injured knee would get worse if I kept going, but I knew if I went home I would not head back out again. So, I pushed forward and completed the run. We can count on things like this happening. So train for it.
Train like an athlete. Don’t let adversity make you give up on yourself. Don’t let each thing that comes up derail you from losing the weight, eating right or working out. Find a way around it, through it, over it. And most of all, make sure you have support. Michael Phelps’ Coach prepared him for the worst things to happen when it mattered most. I am here to support you, when life gets in the way. Let’s train for adversity together.