Identifying the root of what drives you and pushes you to a higher level is essential. Take a deep dive into why you participate in endurance sports. Be honest with yourself about your why. Understanding and defining your why, even writing this out and reflecting on it daily, is imperative in becoming the best athlete and best version of yourself you can possibly be. The objective is to understand your purpose, are you clinging to a "surface level" why or a "deeply rooted" why.
For many, when we first join the world of endurance sports, we want to see what is truly possible and this generally holds true throughout the life of the sport. Could we really run a 5k? Could we do a sprint triathlon? Can I make it through a choppy ocean swim? Could I ever really accomplish an IRONMAN? Can I really qualify for Boston? Is it possible to make it to the World Championships?
Once we get some of these wins under our belt, our why tends to change shape. We like people to see our finish lines and wins. Maybe we like how others perceive our ability to push through. Maybe we like the medals and landing on the podium. Maybe we even begin to think we are on a higher level, more entitled or elite because we participate in endurance sports, have completed a certain distance or hit a qualifying finisher time. So, this keeps us engaged, involved and coming back for more.
In a sense, none of these are wrong and you should be proud of every accomplishment, every finish line, every podium, every victory and every loss. We simply need to ask ourselves is this what's really driving our participation? If so, I would challenge you to dig deeper and rethink your why. A superficial why is indicative of your why in life as a whole. When we cling to a superficial purpose we never fully realize our highest potential in endurance sport or in life. This why will only keep you engaged in the sport for so long. At some point you will either no longer be satisfied with your wins or distances completed or you may at some point encounter loss over loss leading to frustration and lack of satisfaction on an entirely different level.
To some degree, we are all guilty of liking the attention. Ask yourself, if no one saw another one of your finish lines, finish times, or your perseverance in every training season, would you still hold the same drive to continue in the sport or push as hard in the sport as you do? Would you be willing to work this hard by training smart, practicing patience, enduring loss, persevering in defeat and triumphing in your victories with no one knowing?
It is so important to dig deeper and look within yourself to find your true why. Endurance sport plays such an important role in our lives, demonstrating to ourselves and others our ability to persevere through every situation. Realizing we always have more to give even when we think we cannot go any further. We find there is always more to give, always another step or stroke we can take. The victories and the losses in endurance sport show us what we are capable of, not who we are. Endurance sport has the potential to help us realize who we truly are.
We have an audience of one. God is our audience and persevering in endurance sport and in life for His sake is what matters. We are enough because He is enough. Take a deeper look, hold onto your deeper why. In this way, you will reach the highest level of athlete you could possibly become and the highest level of character you could ever achieve.