It’s high time to dig into another one of the dog-eared books on my shelf – one of those titles that I folded over, highlighted and scribbled in profusely.
The book, entitled, “The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion“, claims to solve the 13 most common mental conundrums athletes face in their everyday training and in races.
It’s based on the idea that you don’t have one brain – you have three; your ancient Chimp brain that keeps you alive, your modern Professor brain that navigates the civilized world, and your Computer brain that runs your habits (good and bad). They fight for control all the time and that’s when bad things happen; you get crazy nervous before a race, you choke under pressure, you quit when the going gets tough, you make dumb mistakes, you worry about how you look.
What if you could stop the thoughts and feelings you don’t want? What if you could feel confident, suffer like a hero, and handle any stress? According to today’s podcast guests and the authors of the book – Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson – you can indeed take control of your brain so you can train harder, race faster, and better enjoy your sport.
Dr. Simon Marshall trains the brains of endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts to become happier and more mentally tough. He is former Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and Professor of Exercise Science at San Diego State University where he was Director of the Graduate Program in Sport & Exercise Psychology. He has published over 100 scientific articles on the psychology of exercise and has been cited in the scientific literature over 10,000 times. He has served as invited expert on exercise science for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society. He is currently the Performance Psychologist for the BMC Racing team, an elite WorldTour professional cycling team. As the sherpa-husband of professional triathlete Lesley Paterson, he is the founding member of Team S.H.I.T. (Supportive Husbands in Training), and competes in triathlon or cycling events as the husband of Lesley Paterson.
Lesley Paterson is a professional mountain biker, 3-time world champion in off-road triathlon, an Ironman® triathlon champion, endurance coach, and foul-mouthed Scots lassie. Growing up in Scotland, Lesley was the only girl on an all-boys rugby team, which is where she nurtured her love of dirt and dirty words. Banned from the team when puberty struck, she took up cross-country running and triathlon and was soon winning national titles and competing internationally. Lesley founded Braveheart Coaching to train and inspire endurance athletes to compete with passion, toughness, and an unwavering “Braveheart” spirit in overcoming obstacles. Paterson is a trained actress, a screenwriter, and personal trainer to Hollywood actors.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-What made Simon and Lesley work on this book together as a dual process…8:45
-What an athletic identity is, and how to form a strong one…12:45
-How to use a self-schema process to build your identity and avoid a damaging “identity mismatch”…20:45
-Why an alter-ego for yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do to form an athletic identity…38:00
-Why rituals seem less and less common in an era of “holding your smartphone for a selfie” before the race…42:30
-Simon and Lesley’s best of the best advice for getting through an injury…50:45
-Simon and Lesley’s tips for getting outside your comfort zones…1:01:45
-A thumb tapping exercise for increasing your tolerance to pain and getting outside your comfort zone…1:10:15
-And much more!
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Resources from this episode:
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Simon, Lesley or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!