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Sophie Coldwell on sacrifice, motivation and visualization

Sophie Coldwell, Team GB and Super League Triathlon triathlete, has been participating in triathlons since she was eight years old

Sophie talks us through how she progressed, built her momentum and developed her motivation over the years.


Motivation, motivation, motivation


For most of us, getting motivated and staying motivated is hard, even when it’s centered around something we really enjoy. And as Sophie has found, sometimes it’s a case of practice makes perfect.


“I definitely think motivation is something you learn, and you can use tools to help you. Sometimes if you have a goal with smaller goals that underpin that, as soon as you achieve one goal, it kind of gives you that sense of, ‘Oh, I can do this, I’ve ticked off that two-minute run, my next goal is three minutes’. You go and do that, and you tick it off.”


“And then you kind of get that motivation from each one because, all of a sudden, you’ve gone from thinking ‘I can’t run’ to doing 10 minutes of running. And once you start to see those positive outcomes, then it just spurs you on more. And I guess it can become quite addictive in a way because you see those results, and you’re changing your lifestyle without even realizing it.”


“I think just having the ‘why are you doing it, why do you want it?’ The ‘why’ is so important.”


Battling the unknown


In day-to day-life, fear of the unknown can cause our anxiety to spike, and increase our stress levels – especially when you’re competing on a world stage like Sophie. But using visualization can be a powerful way to calm your nerves and take back control.


“Run the session. Before the Commonwealth Games, I had never raced on this circuit, the heat, the current in the swim – all those things were unknown to me. And that is what creates that anxiety. So I went and did a course run through, I swam in the sea at the right tide, worked out where my transitions were, where my bike was going to be, where the finish line is.”


“Those two or three days out from the race, I can visualize everything. So, when I’m sitting on that start line, I’ve probably done the race 15-30 times in my head before. You don’t even have to really think about it, because you’ve rehearsed that, you’ve visualized it, and you’ve already done it before you’ve even done it. I try to do as much as I can, leading up to that race to get rid of the unknowns.”


Eyes on the prize


Sophie also talks about how she’s been working on overcoming pre-competition nerves, her fear of the unknown, and how she tackles big goals in small steps. Sophie explains that, whether she’s training for her big dream to be an Olympic champion, or following a different passion, it’s the little wins that help her to push on.


“I’ve got the ultimate goal of being an Olympic champion. But then I’ve also got loads of goals that underpin that, and work into all of those. They are something that is much more measurable and manageable and achievable, so yes, having those realistic goals that you can achieve in a shorter time frame is definitely something that helps me keep motivated – and feel like I’m progressing in the right way of my journey. As long as I’m ticking those goals off, well, I’m one step closer to being that Olympic champion. And if it happens, incredible, that’d be the best thing ever. And if it doesn’t, well, I’ve still ticked off hundreds of goals and achievements along the way.”


The full podcast interview with Sophie is part of our Empower Hour series, which features 10 Olympians, Paralympians and World Record Holders – exclusively on the Tictrac app.


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