People see the racing, but it is really just the 1%. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

It’s everything below the water that nobody sees: the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices that occur in training.

Not just that you make, but that those closest to you make as well. There is incredible meaning and purpose in that training.

That allows me to stand on the starting line confident that I’m okay with what is going to happen.” –  Rob Krar (ultra-marathon runner)

Alex Aristei

This quote above encapsulates a point of emphasis that the world’s best ultra-endurance athletes all understand, and that is the importance of preparation. The everyday training for a goal, sport-related or not, is not glamorous. There’s nothing sexy about early weekday mornings. They’re kind of mundane, but mundane doesn’t have to equate to misery. This past weekend, I shared these findings in a presentation at the Conference for Performance Psychology in San Diego. So, for the next three weeks, I’m going to share that presentation which describes three ways in which the world’s best optimize preparation. These principles have been distilled down into the three E’s of preparation: estimate. emulate, and evaluate.

  1. Estimate the investment that you’re willing to make

By estimating the time and training required, you are reducing the rigidness of having to follow a schedule. The word estimate seemed appropriate because it implies two principles:

1. Purposeful, yet flexible.

2. Consistency, not rigidity.

Miss one day? Had a curve ball thrown your way? No big deal. One day missed should not be enough to deter any major progress. Remember, preparation is 99%. Here’s a fact: life will interfere with a training plan. You have no clue what a Tuesday morning in three weeks or three months will look like. It’s a long road; one bad day doesn’t need to morph into a bad month.

“When you get knocked off and lose momentum, you just get back up and start again. 

Rather than worry about what you didn’t do, just think about getting back in. 

Before you know it, you’ll be cranking again.” – Dan Simonelli (open-water swimmer)

dan Saguaro

This estimation also refers to understanding that you might not be 100% ready when it’s go time. That’s okay. In 2015, James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence completed 50 Ironman distance triathlons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. Yes, you read that correctly. For support, Lawrence brought along his family and a crew. Long days, limited sleep, and incessant travel meant that this monstrous undertaking was multi-faceted. It was more than just the Ironman distances that needed to be covered. Again, these athletes are real people. The only way Lawrence was going to be able to be fully ready was to eventually take the plunge. There’s no way Lawrence could have been able to prepare for what his body might be feeling on Day #30. If he kept pausing until he was 100% ready, Lawrence still might be waiting.

You can plan your way to a failure. You’ll never have the perfect plan.

At some point in time you need to execute & be creative because nothing will go according to plan.

Ultimately, you’re going to end up changing things.

This means that the plan only needs to good enough.” – James Lawrence


The lesson here is that there is only so much one can control. That does imply that “winging it” is to be encouraged, but, moreso, simply trusting your preparation and being okay with it. The results are simply a byproduct of that. Be consistent, not rigid; purposeful, yet flexible. Ultimately, this ability to adapt is a fundamental element of endurance, and, more importantly, life.

Next week, I will be sharing #2: Emulate. More specifically, why it is critical to emulate the variables under which you will be performing.

Onward & Forward,
Tyler Baxley

Author: tylerwilliambaxley


2 thoughts on “Preparation”

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