Learning the Hard Way to Focus on Process

I learn the hard way.

Lessons need to beat me upside my head before they sink in. 

And what I have slowly learned over a 35 year career of doing endurance sports is that to focus on process in training our bodies and minds helps us become better people.

As a cyclist, runner, cross-country skier, and a rower, I was never blessed with much talent or lung capacity, due to asthma. 

But what I do have is drive and determination, as well as a teacher’s mind of making learning fun. 

Sometimes that drive means that I continue to push to achieve the results I expect of myself. 

For most of my time as an endurance athlete, even back in high school as a tennis player, I needed results as a way of validating myself, of proving that I had value. That’s a longer story about my dad and trying to extract his approval. 

When we focus solely on results, we create unsustainable expectations. But when we focus on the process, we develop better habits and behaviors for our life.

Focus on the Process Since Expecting Results Just Brings Discontent

But that pursuit made me miserable. I knew what my body was capable of, but I was never okay with simply doing the best I could, given the asthma.

My expectations could never be met.

And it was always the result that mattered. I rarely focused on the process of training.

Or the results overshadowed the fun of a bike race.

If certain people beat me in a race, I was crushed.

Or if my asthma was really bad and I couldn’t finish a race, I’d pout, pack up my bikes and go home. I didn’t want to talk with anyone.

It sounds silly, now, writing this. But the feelings of self-judgement were – are – real.

Focus on the Process: A Change in Perspective Was Everything

I’m older now, happily married, and I’ve slowly learned that my happiness does not depend on my cycling or running results. 

And I’m learning that the process of training has shaped who I am as a person. I am a stronger person because I trained my mind and body. 

The process of getting good with myself will be a lifelong journey. I get better at it every day. 

Now, I bring the lessons and experiences of my life to my clients. Not that I know everything, but because I know that focusing on the process IS the journey. 

When we focus solely on results, we create unsustainable expectations. When we focus on the process, we develop better habits and behaviors for our life.
Doing the hard interval sessions in the garage during a storm is a nice break. Plus I get to picture myself on a muddy cross course!

Results Come When the Training is Process-Driven

Results come from training. The results  are meaningless, though, if we don’t learn about ourselves and become better people along the way. 

And how we define “results” makes all the difference. 

When we focus solely on results, we create unsustainable expectations.

But when we focus on the process, we develop better habits and behaviors for our life. Focusing on process before results can bring more to life.

Simple Endurance is a Focus on Process

Having a focused training plan that includes endurance and interval work, strength training, and yoga helps you stay on track for your goals.

Even when the pandemic has upended all of our plans, this is a great time to be building an endurance base and getting stronger.

Most of my clients now are focusing on 2021 by building a huge base with long rides and strength training.

I’m doing as many long fun rides as I can right now, finding coffee shops and historical markers and other places to visit.

Plus I’m doing really hard intervals once a week and strength training at least twice a week.

Want to talk about how to get stronger, faster, and have more endurance for 2021?

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