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Not many people would disagree that it takes a certain mental attitude to become a top triathlete or indeed to get to the peak in any sport. Some lady triathletes are genetically gifted, and some have to work twice as hard to achieve the same success that others may find easy. The question is, that to be really good, can the more "gifted" triathlete just show up and coast or do they have to work just as hard to get to the top? Research has shown that being gifted or showing early promise is not a guarantee of ultimate success. Being a natural at a particular sport can only take you so far, to really reach your full potential you have to have the right mental attitude. When I was at High School, the basketball team had a star player who was nationally recognized at a young age, I would have bet my shirt that this player was destined for success, this expectancy gave the youngster an air of invincibility and certainty that success was a forgone conclusion. What actually happened was much different, the natural gifts the player had only went so far, the air of entitlement led this player to believe they did not have to even show up for training every time. Eventually a younger player, probably not as gifted came up and totally eclipsed the "naturally gifted" player to become one of the countries top players and eventually a very successful pro coach. But what of the player who seemed to have everything needed for success? I honestly do not know, but I did a search on the Internet and there was no mention of any sporting success for this person after high school. What I do know is that the younger more successful athlete was in the gym before the rest of the team and was always the last to leave, and this seems to be the reason for this person's ultimate success. While I make no claims to this tale being a scientific study, it is something I personally witnessed, and from my own experience I believe that the current research is right, natural ability will only get you so far, but the right mental attitude and hard work will take you the extra mile needed to be a real success in your chosen sport. For a woman triathlete, no matter what age you start at, mental attitude is a given, it just does not get tougher than a triathlon. I applaud anyone who can do the training and complete a triathlon because it is so tough, crossing that finish line for the first time instantly makes you part of a very elite group, and if you think this is a dramatic overstatement then think about how many people you knew who had achieved this feat before you actually got involved in triathlon? The majority of ladies reading this are not pros, many may have never done much intense


exercise before they became a triathlete, but even for those of us who are happy just to complete a triathlon, let alone compete in one, a certain degree of perseverance, discipline and an iron mental attitude with a desire to achieve personal goals are the main qualities needed to achieve what we want. So what sort of characteristics should a woman have to really compete in a triathlon? There are some traits that are common in a lot of successful triathletes, and below is a list of some of the more important ones, some you may not like to read or even agree with, but they have been proven time and again. 1. You can train alone and still do a hard workout without the need for motivation from anyone else. 2. You never put off a scheduled training session for things like bad weather, your work or family. 3. Your workouts, diet as well as rest are your main focus, and the rest of your life is secondary. 4. You have a support network of friends and family who understand what you are trying to achieve. 5. You believe you can win and achieve your goals, and have a blinkered approach to do whatever you have to do to get there. 6. You have the mental toughness to overcome any weaknesses you may have, and get over any hurdles you need to on the way to success. 7. You are in this for the long haul, you keep at it even when you seem to be stuck and are having trouble improving. 8. You never skip a scheduled training session or take long periods off and try and just train for a few weeks before a race because you are "naturally fit" or any other BS excuse. So where does this sort of mental attitude come from? It has been suggested that it comes from your upbringing, and if you have not been brought up to be mentally tough, then you never will be. I tend to think that while this is true to a certain extent, if anyone sets their mind on something they want badly enough, they can train themselves to develop the right mental attitude. This may however require help and coaching from a sports psychologist or an experienced coach who does not take no for an answer. Whether you are blessed with natural athletic ability or not, if your mind is not right you will probably never achieve your goals, or only ever achieve fleeting success and not be able to sustain a position at the top for long.

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