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Managing failure

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Managing failure

There was a BBC News item recently about Bradley Wiggins, the winner of Le Tour de France in 2012 and cycling Olympic gold medal winner. In the BBC piece Wiggins explained how hard it was for him during the two-years following his victory in the 2012 tour.

Following that 2012 victory Wiggins had to release his leadership of the Tour de France team to Chris Froome (the triple Tour de France winner, who also helped Wiggins to win in 2012, before he took over from the yellow jersey winner).

Wiggins of course recently won another gold medal in the velodrome at the Rio Summer Olympic Games. During these games we also saw other unexpected results, such as the New Zealand male rugby 7s team bowing out of the tournament much sooner than expected, as well as a series of injuries and missteps (including Great Britain’s Louis Smith coming off his pommel horse during the male team gymnastics contest).

So how do you successfully rebound after such failure (even if you are not a olympic athlete)?

Obviously such matters have little direct meaning for those of us who exercise out of competition and who do so to improve our health and fitness.

However, it is also the case that I have met many people who feel that they are failing to be as fit as they can be during the course of their training, and that also focus almost exclusively on their ultimate fitness goal and measure their apparent success against this long-term target.

Or, to put it another way, they only see the finish line, but rarely the hurdles that lie between them and that end point.

And for people in this position, where goals are out of tune to developing training abilities in the interim, failure during training can be encountered as total obstacles to training effectively because an incident of failure in itself is not understood as a leaning step in developing long-term strengths and skills.

By failing to understanding that failure in meeting an immediate (and particularly challenging) goal is simply part of a long-term process such people are unable to learn from their failures, step back and then move on to overcome a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and to move on to success.

I believe that the BBC highlighted an important issue for many of us that have an interest in fitness training and in developing long-term health. I also like to think as a Personal Trainer with a certain level of experience that the role of someone in a position such as mine is to take clients through different fitness levels to achieve progress with their immediate, medium and long-term workout goals.

Many of my recent blog articles have focussed on matters of psychology and mental strength because these are vital to rebounding from setbacks or challenging situations. As with physical endurance and stamina, mental conditioning is vital to success in life, as well as in the gym.

Which is why I do my best to alternate articles about workout techniques and developing a robust and resilient mental attitude.

Because you need one to make progress with the other (both require awareness and training to grow and develop).


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