If you want to be successful in an endurance sport then you have to love pain. There is no secret to success-- you have to suffer day in and day out and you have to welcome it with a smile.
When you get to the professional level of any sport, especially triathlon, everyone trains hard, everyone eats right, and everyone wants to win. The defining characteristic that separates a champion and a middle of the pack pro is their ability to embrace pain.
When I first started racing triathlon in 2010 I was very soft. I cringed at the thought of a cold and rainy race and I cringed even more at the thought of a hot and humid race. If the conditions were perfect then I was a happy girl and I had a good result. Likewise, if I felt “good” during the race then it ended well and if I felt “bad” then mentally I checked out right then and there.
As I have matured in sport, I have grown to thrive in less than ideal conditions. I have become mentally tough as an athlete and I know how to suffer. I look at low temps and heavy rain as another opportunity to gain an advantage over the other competitors and to use it to my benefit. The same goes when pain starts creeping in during a race. We all know that if we are racing hard then it WILL hurt. Going into races I know it is going to hurt very bad and there will be moments of weakness when I want to drop the pace, settle for 2nd place, or even quit. If you have mentally accepted that these thoughts will cross your mind before the race starts then you are not surprised when the demons arrive. I have key phrases that I repeat to myself so that I can get through and continue racing hard. Just welcome the pain!