I started training for my first full Ironman race in January 2017. For those of you unfamiliar, an Ironman is a 140.6 mile race broken into three stages. First you swim for 2.4 miles, then you bike for 112 miles and you finish by running a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles). It is a test of physical and mental endurance to say the least.
The seven months of training was intense. It required finding 20-30 hours of training time per week on top of maintaining a demanding professional life. Every minute of every day was scheduled. Life became a cycle of sleep, train, eat, work, train, eat, work, sleep. At that time I was working 50-60 hours per week. To clarify, as the race got closer two training sessions a day were required. One before work and one after. Not to mention all day Saturday and 4-6 hours minimum on Sunday. All the while, fighting major insecurities and doubt of my ability to even be able to finish the race.
The schedule was tough but the doubts were the hardest part. To help I started writing sticky notes of encouragement for myself and putting them on my bathroom mirror. Mantras, sayings, quotes, inspiring words to keep me focused when my body hurt and the insecurities seemed overwhelming.
The sticky notes grew to include to-do’s, projects, deadlines, ideas, dreams and more. There got to be so many I would organize them into groups. I found out recently there is a name for this and it is called the accountability mirror. It is a technique used to keep focus and improve mindset leading to increased performance. The image above was from my hotel room leading up to race day. My sticky notes were on my mirror right up to the race.
If you feeling overwhelmed or unsure, grab a block of sticky notes, a marker and go crazy creating your accountability mirror. Just write things down and stick them up on your mirror.
In July 2017, I crossed the finish line and became an Ironman. My Ironman dream was complete, my worry of not finishing gone but my accountability mirror has remained.