“It’s Not a Sacrifice, It’s an Investment” — Reframing Your Training with This Simple Concept
“It’s not a sacrifice, it’s an investment.” -Ellen Noble
My friends are freaking brilliant—and Ellen absolutely floored me with this very casually delivered quote one night during the ENCX Quest last week. I love talking about athletic identity and the psychology of why and how we train (hence why we read The Brave Athlete for our first Athletic Bookworms pick!), and this quote, I think, really sums up what athletic identity, goal-setting and the process of becoming the athletes we want to be is all about.
I think sometimes, especially as amateur athletes, we get really in our heads about this idea that we ‘have to’ train, we ‘have to’ race. But honestly? We don’t ‘have to’ do $hit. We’re choosing to. When we’re making decisions like skipping a party to get more sleep, or picking the salad over the pizza (or the salad and a single slice of pizza), or getting up early for that training run, we often see these as sacrifices we’re making for our sport.
But what if we reframed these sacrifices as investments, as money in the bank?
This is actually a super common concept in the investing sphere—there are a ton of articles about saving money that are framed this way (sacrifice your daily coffee habit versus investing $4 day in your bank account, for example). That’s a lot more concrete, easy to put into words, if not practice. But the same idea can be applied pretty much anywhere in life, and thinking about it as an athlete is a game-changer.
For me, thinking about running in the rain when it’s cold and crappy out, or opting for the meal I know is going to be the better pick for my athlete self can sometimes feel like a huge sacrifice. But when I think about it as investing in the future me, the badass athlete that I’m always working towards, it’s a little easier to find the joy in running through the puddles or digging into a serious salad. Suddenly, those things that seemed less-than-optimal at the time are infinitely more satisfying.
Let me know in the comments—does this make sense to you? Does it change the way you’re thinking about anything in your training?