When we talk about the “triathlon family” it sounds a bit cheesy, but really after thirty years in the game we have made so many friends, when we go away to an event there are familiar faces around every corner. Last weekend we travelled to the Sunshine Coast for the 70.3 race, I had entered but chose not to start. I had been loading myself too much with other work (not training), I was just too tired. Experience has shown me where that “invisible line” is. The line, which once crossed, can take weeks to recover from.

Being there as a coach, an observer, was a really nice feeling, running into so many old friends, members of that “triathlon family”. I do love racing, but I have to be fresh enough to be able to “race”. When I watch a race I spend the whole time reading body language. It’s so interesting to observe and translate what’s going on in the mind of the individuals, as they race, or participate.

If the athlete is expecting it to be “hard” it is, the guy beside him can be expecting it to be a test that he’s well prepared for, and will handle well, he finds it easier. Yet they can both have the same level of fitness and strength.

The company we keep will influence which way we see our “glass”.

It’s the same with body weight, there were runners of 85-90kgs who were running with light pressure on the road and fast leg turnover. And there were much smaller runners, in the 55-65kgs range who were running as though they were wearing a full back pack, they were “thinking heavy”.

I saw some guys running along hi-fiveing the kids, smiling and enjoying the day, and others looking like they were being punished for something.

If there’s one thing we can do to make our life better, it’s work on your attitude.

There’s two ways to look at every situation, like the old adage about the glass being half empty or half full. The company we keep will influence which way we see our “glass”. Seek out the company of people who are capable of seeing the bright side of whatever happens. Optimism is contagious, sadly so is misery.

This simple rule applies to life, business and sporting performance. We just have to look at a football game, when a team gets ahead in the score, how the momentum is with them. It takes great coaching to have a whole team, fight back when they are behind. We witness this fighting attitude in people we know well in our sport. Some people are born competitors, they have attitude mastered.

If we can get the top six inches right, the whole body becomes quite a different machine. One of the most effective ways to improve your performance is to choose your coach well. The second most effective action is to choose the company you keep carefully. Eagles don’t roost with pigeons.

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