1) BE GRATEFUL FOR PAST SPONSORS:
I use to get bend when I lost a sponsor. In reality it has nothing to do with with me (or any athlete); simply market or marketing changes. I have 4 pairs of socks from an old gel sponsor I refused to wear because they went from a great sponsorship deal to a bad one; causing me to find a new sponsor; which in the end was way better. Instead of being bent I now look back at past sponsors and am thankful and see them as a part of a career I am grateful for. I even where the socks when no one is looking and they make me happy not pissed anymore 🙂
2) CHOOSE FRIENDS NOT TRAINING PARTNERS:
I use to want to make friends with fast people and pros. The reality is when I look back at the best and most meaningful relationships I have had it’s always been about the quality of the person’s character not the quality of them as an athlete. After a decade I have made some awesome friends; lucky for me many of them can also hand out an ass kicking but that was only part of the fun. You wanna get deep with someone; train with them. Shrinks don’t know someone as well as a training partner. In the end I want that bond with a quality friend not just someone that can put out watts.
3) KEEP IT AWESOME:
I have a training partner who often cracks a huge smile and says “this is just awesome.” Amazingly he does that when it’s not all that awesome . If you love your training you will train more. We all have workouts we “have” to do and don’t love; but making most of most workouts makes them a reward not a chore and makes you train more and makes you a better athlete. Most importantly you have the memories of the training; always. You only have any moment so be present and enjoy it. The race is the destination, enjoy the journey.
4) INVEST IN GOOD GEAR:
You care about this; have the tools to chase your goals.
5) BE SOCIAL
Athletes are awesome people. We share a lot of what my coach calls “core values.” Exercise, work ethic, love of outdoors, challenges, sport, racing. Sure there are grown men having mantrums at their spouse at the race and that guy sucks, but if you strike up a conversation with some athlete you will make a friend. Bring the positive vibes and you will get it back. Don’t take your racing too seriously before the race and drink deep from the rad people around you.
6) CELEBRATE GOOD DAYS.
I have had a lot of bad races. I have had entire bad years! In races s that take an hour to a day to do a lot will go imperfectly. When things go well celebrate it because you earned it. Nothing sucks more than never being happy; never thinking you did well. Oh and here is the last thing, always being that guy is kinda insufferable. Dude, cheer up, you rocked it.
7) COACHES FOR LIFE:
I look back at the biggest influences in my life and most of them are coaches. In my questionable youth a few (soccer) coaches believed in me when almost (except my mom) no one else did. They fueled my fire rather trying to put it out. I have had the same coach for all 15 years of my career. Yeah, coaches make you a better athlete but if you develop relationships that last over time you might find they make you a better person. I wouldn’t trade that personal growth for anything.
8) GIVE BACK
Volunteer at a cool event. Race for a charity. Coach someone for free who appreciates it. Sponsor a team or athlete if you can. Cheer other athletes at a race or say thank you to a volunteer when racing (nothing is as much fun as running a 5:45 mile and grabbing a cup and saying thank you; the volunteers always go wild when that happens). I have this habit, often when I am in street clothes, where I see someone kill themselves training to just softly say “good job man” and you can see how validating it is to them. I have done each of those things and they were more rewarding than I can explain in words.
9) RACE HARD
when the gun goes off give it your all. I look at myself in the mirror before each race and promise myself I will be in this same bathroom staring at the same guy in the mirror when I am done and he will want to know if I have it my all. Race hard, and you will have no regrets about the results.
10) BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND FLOSS.
I coach my dentist. Trust me, teeth are important and we eat too much sugar.