Ironman World Champion Pulls Back the Curtain to Racing and Life

Chrissie Wellington

Chrissie Wellington, Catalyst Coaching Podcast
Catalyst - Health, Wellness & Performance Podcast

Full Transcript

Dr. Cooper

Welcome to the latest episode of The Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcast. My name is Brad Cooper, and I’ll be your host and today’s episode, if you’re a fan of the Ironman triathlon, you are going to love this interview. And if you’re sitting there thinking I have no idea what the Ironman World Championship even is, you’re gonna love this episode. Let me tell you a little bit about our guest, Chrissie Wellington. Four time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington, by the way. Chrissie took a unique path to professional sports. Growing up, she never excelled in sport. She traveled the world for two years, gained a master’s degree, worked as a policy advisor on international development policy for the U. K. Government, lived and worked in Nepal and only became a professional triathlete at the age of 30 having discovered a challenge she never knew she had. Five years later, she was the four time world Iron Man champion. Let me say that again. Five years later, she was the four time world Ironman champion. Chrissie is passion about using her platform to convey valuable messages, inspire people, and drive positive change across the world. She’s an acclaimed public speaker and the author of two books. Her memoir, which I loved, is titled A Life Without Limits, and she recently in 2018 also wrote a triathlon training book titled To the Finish Line. You can just hear the joy in Chrissie’s voice. Chrissie made smiling on the course, and keep my folks this is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and then a 26.2 mile marathon, all in the heat of Kona, Hawaii. But she made smiling on the course a thing, and now the research shows us that was a pretty good strategy.

Dr. Cooper

Just a reminder. You can access all kinds of other resources about wellness, coaching and the certification, etc., etc. at CatalystCoachingInstitute.com, And you can reach out to us any time at [email protected] So bring on those questions, bring on the suggestions, and now let’s bring on Chrissie Wellington in the latest episode of The Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcast.

Dr. Cooper

Well very good well Chrissie Wellington, thank you so much for joining us today. It is absolutely an honor to have you on the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast. Just out of the gate catch us up. It’s been eight years since you won your fourth title in a very dramatic fashion, and now you have a daughter. Same middle name as our daughter, interestingly enough, and you’ve played a big role with the global park run organization briefly catch us up what you’ve been up to.

Chrissie Wellington

Yeah, it’s been a whirlwind when since I retired. My last race, like you said, was in October 2011 and time really does fly, only seems like yesterday that I was stepping off my bike on Alii Drive. But yeah, it’s been an incredible journey. I think as many professional athletes will kind of attest to it’s the process of quote unquote retirement. Transitioning is quite challenging, you know, emotionally very, very, very difficult at times. Your life revolves around the axis of triathlon, and when that’s no longer there, you miss the structure and the goal. You know the focus on the goal. You miss the stability, including financial stability, that comes with that. So the process of transitioning is challenging. But that’s precisely why I needed to do it. I think to challenge myself in different ways and explore a new and different part of me. And I was always determined to combine two passions. So my my passion for development and empowerment, and my passion for sports. So in terms of my professional focus, I am working as global head of health and well being for Park Grand and my specific focus is encouraging those that are the less active, to be more active in what ever way suits them so less of a focus on kind of traditional sport. But more focus on movement and activity and holistic health and well being. So I’m incredibly passionate about, you know, the path that my career has has taken and is taking me.

Chrissie Wellington

And in terms of my personal life, I definitely haven’t hung up my life yet. But I am definitely not training for six hours a day anymore, so I’m probably training, you know, 1 maybe a bit more hours a day. Primarily focusing on running. I think it’s the most time efficient form of exercise for me and actually the one that I did enjoy out of all of the three. When I first retired, I found it quite difficult to enter races because I felt that people expected me to perform as I used to. And I was doing a lot more, I guess, in the way of endurance challenges, less tangible achievements. And it’s only more recently that I’ve felt able to throw myself into a variety of different challenges. So marathons or half marathons or ultra marathons and things like that that have, you know, some time goal attached to them, as well as in the kind of more of a holistic challenge and a new experience. So I’ve really enjoyed throwing myself into the running again and embarking on, you know, the new ultramarathon challenges.

Chrissie Wellington

And then, like you said, we gave birth to our daughter, Esme again, time flies. It’s over three years ago now, says three, going on thirteen, you know, just what a journey. Just I don’t need to tell you that. But she’s such a blessing, and has enriched our lives and my life in so many wonderful ways. So, yeah, that’s a very brief run through of where I’m at, both personally and professionally. But, you know, I don’t think you can ever hope to replicate exactly the experience and the emotions and the satisfaction that came from being a professional sports person. It’s very unique. But nonetheless, life could be full of challenges and could be fulfilling and enriching and in many different ways. So I’m really enjoying that.

Dr. Cooper

Beautiful. Let’s go ahead and run down that rabbit trail you mentioned about entering races without that external or internal expectation. You’re certainly not a slug. And I know you popped off of 2:49 marathon in London a couple years back. But how do you do that mentally? You know, for the person who’s out there listening, saying, you know, yeah, I competed in college or not at your level. But, you know, we all have our own personal expectations. How have you started to shut that off or temporarily turn it off and then maybe turn on once in a while for a big event? But any suggestions along those lines for listeners?

Chrissie Wellington

I’ve always placed a weight of expectation on my shoulders. So not just in the sporting context, but in academia, for example. I expect a lot out myself. I’m my own worst critic, you know, it’s a double edged sometimes, and I can use it to my advantage because it enables me to strive to be the very, very best at everything that I do, regardless of whether I’m actually the best at it. But you know, can also mean that I never rest and I’m never content in it. I’m continually trying to seek improvement, which means you don’t stop in what you have achieved. So there’s always a weight of expectation that I placed on my shoulders. Regardless of whether the public are watching me or not, I utilize, I guess, the same tools as I did when I was a professional athlete, and I remember that I am so much more than an athlete. You’re so much more than the label that you’re assigned, and in Western society, usually that label is associated with a career. But if I define myself and if my emotions were wedded to everything, I achieved as an athlete, it would be a horrific roller coaster ride because, you know, I was a champion, and you’re not always going to be seen as that. So you have to see yourself as so much, so much more than that kind of Monaco or that label that you’ve been given and when I retired, I did feel the weight of expectation to perform as though I was still a professional athlete, I did slowly realize that wasn’t me. It was part of me and part of my history. But it wasn’t who I was and then also you do realize that people aren’t looking at you the way you look at yourself. It’s not like I’m still going to crack out a 2:44 Marathon at the end of an Ironman. You know, I’m not, people probably don’t even expect that yet I think that they maybe. Maybe that’s reflective and waken expectation that I don’t know, but I think it’s just disassociating yourself a little bit from the outcome, and the way that you identify with that number one and then also relishing the process that doesn’t sound too trite. Brad, you know, we get so caught up in these tangible outcomes, you know, the I finished first. I finished in the top 10. I ran a 2:44 I ran a three hour I, you know, did XY and Z. And it’s it’s this numerical mark of almost and that’s what our sense of well being our sense of achievement, sense of fulfillment is associated with right and it’s all about the process, really, because I could be world champion. But if I did not enjoy the journey, if it was a tortuous journey that I really didn’t like each and every day, that wouldn’t be a life worth living. So I’m trying to really enjoy the process of getting to a goal. It’s not to say don’t have goals, but just really loving what I do each and every day and that to be part of I guess, my measure of success, if that makes sense.

Dr. Cooper

So I love what you’re saying. Can you help us, so let’s assume, I’ll just say for me I struggle with that. And I know a lot of our listeners do too. Any practical tips on how to integrate that more effectively? So I can hear in your voice that it’s still a growing process for you as well. But anything’s you’ve learned along the way that have helped you to focus on that process in the midst of that journey?

Chrissie Wellington

Yes, I think making activity social is very, very important. Often, when you’re in an individual sport like triathlon, the temptation is very much to do things on your own and be focused on your goal in your session in your program and I was guilty of that. And I think just making activity social is very, very important, both in terms of motivation and also the sheer enjoyment, initial pleasure of, being part of a group and sharing an experience. For me becoming or being I wouldn’t even say I became like this, just being less technologically dependent. When I’m wedded to a pace or time, I find that increases or decreases my enjoyment. So I’m looking more at my watch and I’m worrying about what the metrics say, than the smells. You know the aromas of the flowers or beauty around me. You know, all of those kind of sensations I’m not paying attention to because I’m looking at the watch. That’s not saying hitting a kind of numerical target can’t be very satisfying. It can. But I think that there’s a place for technology and that we sometimes need to disassociate ourselves from it in order to be able to enjoy that process. I think sometimes it’s very important to have a structure if you’re wanting to progress towards a goal, whatever that goal is is important to have consistency and have a program have a structure. But then again, it’s important just to be flexible and go with feel and just do things because you want to rather than you feel obligated because it’s part of a program. So I think getting that balance right is very, very important. So I do a lot more running now without a watch and definitely without a watch that tells me what pace I’m going at and then sometimes, yeah, just being a bit more flexible running in the evening instead of in the morning or going off road instead of on road. All of those little, you know, subtle changes, I think are quite important, just to enjoy the process. And to me, I guess setting myself stepping stone markers rather than only seeing success in the final outcome or whatever that might be. Also, you know, having little markers along the way that say, yeah actually, you’re improving your doing a good job so that the process of getting to that final a race or whatever it might be a North star is an enjoyable and gratifying one. Because you can see that you are progressing and making, you know, making steps forward.

Dr. Cooper

Beautiful. Love it. Okay, so the question you’ve been asked probably a 1,000,000 or three million times. You retired at the top. I mean, Chrissie, you were killing it. You crushed your last one and then you walked away. How did you know it was time? You referenced some of that, you wanted to be more than just an athlete, etc. But what were some of things that resulted in that decision? And how did that go?

Chrissie Wellington

I guess the first thing to say is every professional athlete has to leave the sport at some point and different athletes leave the sport at different times and for different reasons. For me, it was relatively simple. It was because I had the race I’d always dreamed off and I felt complete as an athlete, and that’s not to say I couldn’t have potentially won more or gone faster. But my definition of what my perfect race was very different to those kind of numerical kind of measures. So for me, the measure of success, a measure of perfection was whether I felt I’d finished a race where I was absolutely annihilated where I’d fought the battle that I’d always kinda craved. With my competitors and within myself, where I’ve had to dig to the very depths, and the World Championships in 2011 gave me that and I didn’t think it could be bettered. Yeah, maybe I could have gone faster, and maybe I could have won more races, but I could never have had this same feeling off satisfaction, exhilaration, relief, jubilation that I felt at the end of that race and maybe where as professional atheltes we’re always searching for that, and I found it and as much as I wanted to replicate it again and again and again, I almost had the feeling quit while you’re ahead. You’ve proven yourself now through this race that you’re worthy of being called a champion and that means you’re enough. So I guess they were my reasons, leaving on my own terms, feeling ultimately fulfilled as an athlete, knowing that I had to make the decision at some point. And lastly, because Ironman was becoming, I don’t know how to say this without sounding arrogant and I don’t know, but it was becoming comfortable. It was my comfort zone. I knew how to train for 4, 5, 5 hours a day. I knew how to apply myself. I knew that I could do it and for me, life’s about different challenges, and to continue would have been the easiest thing you know. Emotionally, I was secure in it. Financially, I was secure in it. But eventually that challenge dissipates if you’re comfortable, right, and the hardest thing to do as an athlete often is to not do it anymore. So maybe that’s why I needed to do it too.

Dr. Cooper

Huh. Very insightful. That’s interesting. So that leads nicely into my next question about this. You said in your book you have this in quote overwhelming drive for self improvement. Now you’re not racing and you’re still pursuing this drive for self improvement. And I think, frankly, for a lot of our health and wellness coaches, they have the same thing. First of all, where did that come from or what’s your sense of where that came from for you? How do you keep it fed now, when you’re not competing at the same level at least. And then suggestions for coaches that want to help others engage in that same drive and use it for good, even though it may not quite be at the Chrissie Wellington level?

Chrissie Wellington

Oh, well, where does it come from? As I alluded to before, I think I’ve applied that characteristic across my life ever since I was a a young girl. My parents were really supportive, but never pushy, always encouraging. And they always kind of facilitated opportunities. But whether I took that or not they didn’t mind. But I just, ever since I was a young girl at school, I just always wanted to do the best that I can. I was competitive with myself, and I was competitive with my peers. You know, I wanted to get an A grade, but I also wanted to get the best A grade, um and I’ve applied that across all areas of my life on and I don’t think the striving for self improvement necessarily means striving to be number one in the world. It does mean striving to be the best that you can be at whatever you’re doing in any particular time. So I am constantly striving to be a better mother, you know, and any given day, I think, how can I do this better? How could I perform better as a mother to this amazing daughter? And that’s something I take very, very seriously. And I’m not perfect. And but I want to I want to improve. And the same goes for friendships. And you know, my relationship, obviously with my husband and food and nutrition. You know, I am constantly striving, just to do the best I can, but also be kind to myself when I don’t, especially around nutrition. Maybe we’ll touch on this later, but it’s been a struggle for me for a long time now, and I have to accept that sometimes it’s a few steps forward and one step back.

Chrissie Wellington

So I think setting goals is a really important in terms of practical tips. Setting goals, but also those stepping stone goals. So not only seeing you know, a journey towards an A race. But you’ve also got your C and your B races along the way. Being accountable, I think social media, that makes it very easy. If you put I’m going to achieve X Y and Z and said, I’m gonna cut out sugar, I’m gonna do 10 press ups, or I want to enter an Ironman, you know, people are sure going to hold you accountable to that. So that sometimes helps, but, you know, so also holding yourself accountable, putting little reminders in various places. I used to have post it notes everywhere that helped me. And also taking people along for the ride you know, when you’re striving for improvement, just having people that can assist in that and not seeing yourself as an island is very, very important. For the example, you know, dietary changes. Dietary changes, if you’re part of a family especially are very difficult. And if you could encourage your family to come along for the ride and it’s going to be a shared endeavor that I guess increases your chances. And so having people that can support you in the pursuit of that goal for it even to be a shared goal, could be really useful, I think.

Dr. Cooper

Well, that’s good. Really good. Okay, so you had a new book out last, basically, last year, this time called To the Finish Line, basically gives us an excuse to get into the endurance training weeds for a minute. Can you provide a couple of little known secrets for those that are into that aspect that might be listening that want to really push the edges of our physical abilities?

Chrissie Wellington

Yeah, that was a labor of love, that book. My autobiography was published in 2012 and, well, it was thankfully, really well received. It was quite light on kinda tangible practical training advice so hopefully this provided that. One thing I would say is that it’s not just about physical training, physical development, physical performance at the psychological sides, particularly endurance sports is as important. And for some people, 5k can be an endurance activity. So it’s as much psychological as physical. So I think training the brain training the mind in becoming mentally strong is as important as becoming physically strong. That’s that’s key. So I see training in a holistic sense. Even when I was an athlete, training for me wasn’t simply swim bike run because all the professional athletes I knew were doing roughly the same training. Yeah, there’s an element of genetics and physiology, but a lot of it is the ancillary work that you do outside of the swim, bike, and run. So whether that is psychological, strengthening a mental training, whether that’s diet and nutrition, getting adequate sleep, rest and recovery, whether that’s strength and conditioning, whether it’s all the practical preparations that come from doing it during a sport. So there is a lot more to training than simply checking a box and saying, I’ve done a certain session and expecting success.

Chrissie Wellington

I think one of my key learnings as an athlete was the importance of rest. And it was an anathema to me, prior to becoming a professional triathlete I worked for the government, as a policy adviser on international development. So I was embarking in kind of a passion for endurance sports whilst working full time. And for me, rest was just tantamount to weakness. So I was training hard and I was training everyday, and when it wasn’t training, I was socializing or working. Working or socializing probably should be the order and it was only when I started when I became a professional athlete, that my first coach made me realize that it wasn’t the training that was making me stronger. It was the rest and recovery from that training. And it was not only important to rest my body, but to rest my mind. And it’s a luxury for amateur athletes who, like I said, are combining, you know, their passion for, in this case, endurance sports with other aspects of their life. But still, it’s no less important, probably even more important to incorporate rest and recovery and to not feel guilty about it and to embrace it as a way of making yourself stronger and not only stronger in the short term, but to ensure your longevity in the sport or activity of your choice.

Dr. Cooper

Nice. Very good. Okay, so let’s broaden it out a little bit more, more of the wellbeing side of things. Are there, let me take a step back. I think a lot of people assume athletes like yourself, the greatest in the world, some of the greatest we’ve ever seen don’t have to struggle with the day to day stuff. The wellbeing stuff. Can you walk us through some of the things in your own life that maybe have been a struggle, that folks that don’t people that have read know that you’ve shared this openly, but maybe some things to encourage people to say, Hey, look, we’re all human. We all got issues in your client’s. Maybe that will help him with something they’re trying to work through with a client or their own life.

Chrissie Wellington

We are successful because of the things we endure, not despite off so I think that, you know, as athletes, whatever level we reach, you know, we’re shaped by our strengths and on our so called weaknesses. So I try and see the kind of see things in in that kind of context. And, yes, I have had had struggles and and often professional athletes are put on this pedestal and people assume that we don’t find things difficult, especially if you’re called the racer with the smile and look like you’re really enjoying yourself. Inside and in your private life there, you know there are challenges that have to be overcome. And maybe that is what makes you that successful, actually, and one example as I alluded to before is around nutrition and specifically disordered eating and having to grapple with some of those challenges since I was was a teenager, and I have to say that it was sport that enabled me to address some of the problems because I realized that if I wanted to achieve my ambitions in sport that at that time were an amateur level, I needed to fuel myself correctly. And so I did a lot of reading around, you know, nutrition for performance, and informed myself and that helped to develop a different relationship with food and then latterly with my body so instant seeing my body is this kind of external shell I saw it as a kind of almost like mechanical vehicle that I had to maintain. If I was going to achieve success and some would say that the kind of disordered eating then you know, transitioned or manifested into, you know, disordered activity in terms of the volume of activity I was doing helped me. Then I guess, find an outlet for the psychology that was underpinning the disordered eating if that makes sense. And I wouldn’t say that that was the case because when I was training, I was also fueling very, very effectively because if I hadn’t have been, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did.

Chrissie Wellington

However, what I will admit was that when I retired and reduce the volume of training and the intensity of training, the demons reappeared and I needed to find ways of coping with them and managing them and seeing my body as something different to an athletic machine again, and appreciating that it would change, and it would alter because I was no longer an athlete. And I think that that process was helped by us becoming pregnant and me seeing myself as again someone and somebody that could grow a new life on and that’s a really powerful way of enabling you to reflect on who you are and what your body means and what it’s capable of. And all of a sudden I was acutely aware again I had to fuel not for athletic performance, but for the health of myself and this new life that we’d created. And then laterally, my role is as a mother and as a role model to her means that I’m acutely aware of the messages that I’m sending. And so it’s a long winded answer to your question, but yes, there have been struggles, and there have been differing ways that I’ve dealt with it and different ways that I’ve kind of perceived myself and my body.

 

Dr. Cooper

Excellent. Thank you. Thanks for sharing that, really appreciate it, and a lot of people will resonate with that. Let’s talk a little bit about the self, it sounds like you used a lot of self talk and mantra type things in your racing. Can you walk us through that concept just generally with the audience? And then, anyways, that you see that being utilized in everyday life? So for the person that’s not a four time Ironman world champion for the person that’s not out there on a Alii drive coming down to the final shoot but just trying to eat better or exercise more consistently or get to bed on time. Have you seen in your work, especially your current role, where those types of things have been helpful in other aspects of life? Mantras or self talk?

Chrissie Wellington

Oh gosh, yes, the strategies and tools that you apply in a race are those that you’re applying all aspects of your life. So then the need to to set a goal, have a clear goal, have those stepping stone goals, breaking a goal down into a manageable segment. So I never raced an Ironman, thinking I was doing an Ironman. I just thought I was getting to the first swim buoy and then getting out of the swim and then you’re doing the bike ride in 40k increments and you’re doing the marathon in 10K increments. And if times get tough, you break it down still further. So you’re breaking that goal down into manageable segments. So that’s applicable. No matter what, you know, journey you’re on, whether it’s you know, a dietary journey or something in your professional career or in sports, so that’s very, very applicable having a mantra. So mine was never give up and smile and it was really, really important. And it was part of what like said this positive self talk. You know that constantly, I think we use negative phrases, negative words, negative language to describe ourselves we would never use in public, would never describe other people like we do sometimes ourselves and do talk to ourselves positively to counter this negative self talk with positive words and phrases is really, really important. I used or drew on videos or books or poems that inspired me. So I used Rudyard Kipling’s If a lot I used to write it on my water bottle, it is just because the words really resonated with me and made me, I guess they inspired me and motivated me and gave me strength.

Chrissie Wellington

I also watched videos or read books about people that had overcome adversity, much more diversity than I ever faced and succeeded, and that gave me the courage that I could do it. Linking back to the positive self talk but also being kind yourself, knowing that sometimes you might not meet your goal or you might have what is a quote unquote failure but trying to realize that that doesn’t define you and that every person was built from their ability to overcome adversity. And that it’s so cliche. But it makes us stronger because we learn and we become more resilient a little bit, maybe more humble in my case, you know, when things don’t go according to plan. So also just being kind to yourself and knowing that if things don’t go according to plan that you can, and you will succeed. Leaning on others is incredibly important. Alluded to that before, but having a really strong support network of positive people, ditch the naysayers. Ditch the people that tell you can’t do something and surround yourself by people, can do people, positive people that have cups half full that can really motivate you and encourage you and inspire. That’s, you know, that’s really, really important. And getting a coach is very, very important it was important to me in my athletic journey to have that person that could hold me accountable that I could lean on. That could be a friend and a mentor and that could see me as an individual and tailor things to suit me and that was really, really important. So the value of a coach in achieving someone to reach the goal cannot be under estimated.

Dr. Cooper

Fantastic. Thank you. You know, you’re talking about you smiling. Running out on the crazy course reminds you and Natasha were the first I can remember doing that consistently. Now the research is heavy. You can see all over the place. Alex Hutchinson’s written on it. A lot of research on smiling actually improves your outcome. Had you read any of that before, some early research, or did you just say, Hey, this is the best way for me to keep a positive outlook is to smile. It creates a change in the people that I’m running by in terms of audience of people cheering they’re happier so that makes me happier. What went into that? Was that strategic Accidental?

Chrissie Wellington

Brad, I hadn’t read a thing. I knew nothing about the sport of triathlon, let alone the fact that smiling was supposed to help. No, it was something that happened very, very naturally to me. I saw, and I still do see, my sport as a performance. It wasn’t just executing a race. It was almost like an actor on the stage, you know, performing and kind of perfecting my craft in front of a crowd and so I was I was acutely aware that people were watching me and I wanted to give something back. Then when you give something back, it empowers you. You smile at someone, they smile back, it gives you a boost and gives them a boost in the consumer base is reciprocal kind of uplifting process. Secondly, it really helps you relax. You know, if you relax your face if you allow your face, not this huge beaming smile all the time. But it’s so important. If you grimace, you kind of tense in your eyes and then you tense your shoulders and you tense your whole body so it helps you. It really does help you relax. I think it can help to counter negative thoughts. If you force yourself to smile, you force yourself to think of positive thoughts in that to manifest in the smile. I think that that could really help. And yes, for me, maybe more laterally if I mask to the pain, with a smile it might impact my competitors. But that sounds a little bit too strategic. I mean, was it a game face? Potentially. I didn’t want to give too much away, and I was hurting at times that I was smiling. But for the most part, I’m smiling because I’m enjoying it. I loved it. It was a blessing and a privilege to be able to do what I did. And there’s no better way to convey that than by smiling.

Dr. Cooper

So good, So good. Chrissie, last couple questions the so you’re a involved with park run. I was gonna say in the UK, but really more globally, has put you right in the dead center of the Wellbeing Wellness world. If you were advising, and you kind of are here, if you’re advising health wellness coaches who wanted to make a bigger impact on helping people improve their lives, any suggestions, ways to grow their coaching practice, and have the biggest possible impact on the on the clients they’re working with?

Chrissie Wellington

After being be made so aware through the work over the last few years that we live in a blame culture. So people are obese, people are lazy, people are inactive, people don’t take responsibility for themselves. And I am aware much more that my products of environment, our environment. And it’s the environment that also needs to change so that people can seize opportunities. If you don’t have access to healthy food or you haven’t got the financial resources or you haven’t got the information to be able to cook with certain ingredients, then it’s really, really difficult to have that person respond or to have that personal responsibility for a change. So I think it’s important for people for coaches to look at the environment in which people live on and encourage them to take steps that are realistic in terms of the context in which they live. For people to realize that it’s not always big steps. Sometimes it’s smaller steps that really matter. And last, that everyone is a role model. Everyone, you know, I’m a role model for my daughter. My husband is a role model to me. I’m a role model to my my friend. So I think we have the power. Everyone has the power to be able to inspire, motivate, and help others. It doesn’t have to be celebrities, you know, professional athletes. A former professional athlete like me could do that, everyday people can act as role models so hopefully the coaches that we’re speaking to through this podcast, are also acting as role models and that self care is is also important to them and that they’re walking the talk and being people that their clients can can look up to.

Dr. Cooper

I love it, I love it. Chrissie, this is so fun. Just any last statements about kind of this next step of the journey for you? You’ve had a crazy life to date becoming the accidental world champion and now heading up this UK park run activities. What’s next?

Chrissie Wellington

Yeah. I mean, I take my role at park run. It’s actually a global role. I take it very, very seriously. And it’s something that I’m really incredibly passionate about. I wanna grow Park Run, in the UK we have about 180,000 people participating for free every single weekend. Well, 180,000 people globally. About 360,000 people taking part in our free weekly 5K events including, I guess, for the majority of your listeners in the USA. So helping to grow that, grow it as a community led health intervention rather than a free running 5K as many perceive it. So that’s something that I really focused on. I want to have you know, smaller personal goals, you know, spending more time with my daughter, smelling the flowers, you know, just really spending quality time with those that I love continuing to travel, that’s something is very important to us as a family. So hopefully still having the resources that enable us to travel both in the UK and on overseas. And then in terms of my kind of endurance endeavors. I have entered comrades this year, which is probably one of the biggest events I’ve ever taken part in. Certainly one of the scariest for me. So that the biggest ultra road ultra marathon in the world and I’m really looking forward to that, but I have to admit to being incredibly daunted. But I guess to finish, life is like a tree, Brad. It branches in amazing ways and sometimes you can proactively shape that tree, and sometimes he’s up in your face with the opportunities and a new season. So some you know, who’s to say what opportunities might cross my path and what one’s I I may or may not seize going forward, but all I know is hold the season with both hands and make the most of them.

Dr. Cooper

Wow, what a great way to wrap up. Thank you so much. Chrissie really appreciate it. And I know this is going to spark a cord and leave a smile, I think with with the listeners. So thank you so much for joining us.

Chrissie Wellington

Thank you. Thanks for the opportunity.

Dr. Cooper

Powerful stuff wasn’t it? Again Chrissie’s history is pretty interesting. She came on the scene as a complete, unknown, won the Ironman World Championship and then was essentially untouchable for a five year period. And you kind of got the sense why? I mean, you could you could hear the passion in her voice. You could hear the focus. She shared a lot of tips in there. I know for the triathletes, you’re probably taking notes through the whole time. Oh, yeah, I’m into this and this and this. But for those of us who are wellness coaches, for those of us who are thinking about going that direction and looking for tips for our own lives, she packed that thing. One of the things that she talked about was the idea that it’s not just the physical. Everyone’s out there training the same. The training sessions are pretty much the same. It’s becoming mentally strong. That’s the key one of the things that she mentioned that we’ve talked about before in this podcast. That’s the concept of smiling, in the research behind how smiling relaxes the body and allows you to actually perform at a higher level. But she took it deeper. Did you hear that? Did you catch the difference? She essentially introduced, smiling 2.0 to endurance athletes she talked about OK, Brad, I didn’t do my homework. I didn’t know that. I was just performing and I wanted to reflect back to people what they’re giving to me. And so, yes, she would smile. She said, yeah some of that was gamesmanship. But part of it is when she would smile the spectators would smile back, and that would fill her with more energy. I mean, think about that. For those of you out there racing marathons, triathlons, anything where there’s spectators, we know the smiling works in general. And now, you know, smiling 2.0. I was just like, Oh my gosh, I gotta write that down. That’s awesome.

Dr. Cooper

She also mentioned a poem and and we talked about real quickly, so I looked it up so you’d know what she’s talking about. It’s a poem, if by Rudyard Kipling, so you may wanna look that up as well, but again, just a big thank you to Chrissie. Incredible, incredible interview. Very honest, very reflective, and I know it’s gonna be very beneficial to so many. We’re publishing this episode literally on the day of the beginning of our next fast track. So it’s literally impossible for you to sign up for that fast track. But we do do them four times a year, and I know for most of you you’re not on specific schedule with these podcasts, you may be hearing this a month later. Two months later. Just know you’ve got the option. If you want to pursue the wellness coach certification of the fast track that’s in Colorado currently four times a year, as well as a distance learning option that you can do any time. And then we’re having more organizations and individuals that are asking us to come to their town of their city or actually their country now. So if that’s something you like to look into, reach out to us. Happy chat about it. Again, any questions you have, if you’re pondering this stuff, if you wonder how this fits in your career, if you have an idea about a future podcast, anything it’s [email protected] The website is CatalystCoachingInstitute.com, and literally, we’re here for you. That’s why we do this. We love seeing that growth in the industry. We love seeing the individuals come through and see those those light bulbs go off. So we’re here. We’re happy to chat, happy talk you through anything related to that. So with that, just a reminder, the path to our best self begins with our better self. And I think that’s such a critical message to be sharing as a coach, as a friend, as a spouse, as a parent, as a boss, whatever role you’re playing, that path to best self convey, oftentimes incredibly intimidating. But when we focus on our better self, we can do that and soak in those around us. So let’s keep working towards better than yesterday for ourselves and all those around us making a great rest of the day. And I look forward to speaking with you soon. On the next episode of The Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcasts