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The Myth of Being Ready

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

I always hear "I don't feel ready for this race." Truth is, that no one is ever ready for a race. No one is really ever ready for anything in life even when we think we are. A new job, a new baby, a death, marriage, or losing our virginity - but we do them anyway - some with more enthusiasm than others. The line of ready is like an asymptote that you'll never really reach, because as soon as you think you're close you'll immediately think of some way you could get better, or you realize how far you've come in your fitness and that as of right now you can build on this and be even more ready for this same race next year. You can be slightly closer or further away from being ready than another person, but you can also be less fit and get more ready in a shorter amount of time with wise training, nutrition, and rest. So if we all reach the same point of readiness, close to the asymptote of being actually ready, what is it that separates the top finisher from the rest? That gap, between ready and what we actually are, is all mental.

Take this graph that I drew up:

Here the X axis is an athletes fitness more or less. The Y axis is a temporal axis where you can imagine the work you put in all season: diet, rest, and training. Athlete A has slightly less fitness starting out than Athlete B at the start line (y=0) or the beginning of the season. As time progresses towards the line where the athlete is "ready" to race, we see that Athlete's A and B come together. Athlete A, even starting out with less "fitness" was able to catch up to Athlete B with better nutrition, training, and mental prep. Athlete C who would be a sure-win given his starting position, slacked off and didn't get a close to ready as the other 2 athletes! He drank all the beer and ate all the cookies. Athlete's A & B only ate a few cookies and enjoyed a few beers - this optimized their mental health - because resisting the temptation ALL the time leads to mental fatigue.