Dreams. Goals. Balance & Discipline – a guest blog written by Australian Record Holder and Former Elite Road Cyclist Joanne Tralaggan.
I’m a huge believer in the saying; “Discipline dictates the distance between my dreams and reality”. This essentially means that what I do today will affect my performance in the future.
This saying was true for myself in 2015 when I was training to break the Australian Track Record in the Individual Pursuit for Women 30- 34 age group. I would often be faced with scenarios like: It’s cold, windy and raining outside, do I sleep or do I get up and train? My friends are going out drinking, do I get to bed early so I can hit my numbers tomorrow or have a few drinks, which I know increases my heart rate, lowers my immune system and affects recovery? Takeaway food is an easy dinner choice, but will it give me the nutrition I need to help me recover from a hard days training and get back up again tomorrow?
In fact, often found myself asking, “will this choice make me an Australian Champion”?
I’m not racing competitively anymore, but I’ve observed that this saying also holds true for the Ironman triathletes, road cyclists and armature road riders that I now coach. If you have a goal and want it badly enough then it is important to know what it takes to achieve that goal.
In fact, it doesn’t matter who you are, what your goals in life are, if you truly have a dream then you need to set realistic goals and a road map to achieve them. You might just be starting out in your fitness journey and want to run a 5km fun run. How exciting – you can do it!
When designing your plan consider all aspects of life and write a goal for each of them. This ensures there is balance in your life. Consider grouping your goals into Family, Spiritual, Work, and Health categories. Having a balance is proven to maintain motivation, prevent ‘burn-out’ and ensure you always have a support network around you. Imagine if you cancelled every dinner with your friends because you had to train, it would be pretty lonely journey.
Maintaining a nutritious and balanced diet was one of the biggest challenges I personally experienced when racing at elite level. It was also one of my goal areas that I found hardest to achieve. When you’re on a 4-hour training ride the body needs fuel and the right fluids to prevent dehydration, delay fatigue and ensure that energy is readily available for the working muscles. Unfortunately, there are very few options on the market that are healthy, free of chemicals or nasty preservatives and contain protein. I was training 6 days a week and riding upwards of 500km per week – that’s a lot of fuel to consume!
I recall that after 3 days of racing I would get serious gut problems. These products, that were supposedly supplying me with all the necessary energy, were giving me cramps and diarrhoea. The problem with these products was that they were so jam-packed with sugar and the wrong ratio of carbohydrates that my gut just couldn’t absorb it.
Fortunately, I discovered Chief Bar! A savoury product that is healthy, super tasty, chemical free, preservative free and contains protein. It has provided me with the balance I need when completing long rides. Sure, I still need to consume foods high in carbohydrates but I have considerably cut down on the gut destroying products and have found a way to deliver amino acids to my body whilst training.
If you’re like me and struggling to achieve that balanced diet, next time you need a snack, ask yourself, will this take me closer to my dream? Then, reach for a Chief Bar rather than that block of chocolate!
Enjoy reading about endurance sports? Read ou blog on What It’s Like To Run 42k’s Over A Mountain here!