1% Better S2,

Olive Loughnane on Tenacity, having the Eye of the Tiger & Leaving Nothing on the Road! EP060

May 11, 2018

Leave Nothing On The Road – Olive Loughnane

My guest this week is 2009 World Champion in the 20km walk, Olive Loughnane. I was very much looking forward to chatting with Olive to get a view into what made her the highly successful champion that she was. So, naturally I was delighted when we connected back in February and she ‘walked’ (sorry) me though her career.

As a big sport fan, with a huge interest in performance psychology and how to get that extra 1%, listening to Olive talk about her gradual improvement over the years, having fierce determination and, of course, never giving up, was a real treat.

During the conversation, Olive shared stories that stood out during her journey and breaks down what the process is and what the key ingredients are to become a world champion. She almost makes it sound possible for the average person!

The topics covered include:

  • Being Originally from Cork and moved to Galway at the age of 4.
  • Spending school and her degree years in Galway
  • Earliest memories linked to the Moscow Olympics in 1980
  • Having a fondness and love for the outdoors
  • Always being very determined from a very young age
  • Starting out in Athletics at the age of 12
  • The Value of Volunteers & Influencers along the way
  • Cross Country was Olives first big event
  • Loving being part of a team
  • Having a draw towards the Walk as it was endurance based and technical –
  • Meeting Michael Lane – another volunteer and he was a big influence
  • Having ‘the Eye of the Tiger’, determination & tenacity
  • Sport is as much about the mental tenacity as it is about the underlying physical talents
  • Learning to set big Setting Big Goals
  • Setting high standards for herself & Control the controllable
  • For Olive, Sport Psychology was about taking a step back and relaxing and learning to go with the flow
  • Taking Calculated Risk taking
  • Being a Statistician and being very analytical in nature
  • Nominated Athlete of the Year in Leaving Cert marking a breakthrough point
  • Sacrifices didn’t seem so big and the high standards became the norm
  • Breaking down the steps taken to qualify for the Olympics
    • Logical and Planning
    • Breaking the Big goal into Medium goals and then smaller goals
    • Making it more manageable
    • Gradual building of confidence – short-term
  • SMART Goals being applied to getting to the Olympics
  • Where the Magic comes in with Goals – Realistic is the part that could be different!!
  • Plateaus in the career and dealing with these
  • In 2003-5 leaving some of it on the road by overtraining
  • Learning that her training plan needed to be managed more
  • Working with Sports scientists & listening to the data more
  • The Walk was an individual race but a team sport
  • Being very lucky to have a team of people around her
  • Overcoming from challenges and learning from these
  • Having to reach an Olympic standard again within 6 months the birth of her daughter or face a funding cut
  • 10 days after having a C-Section starting to train again and full training 6 weeks later
  • Getting Burnt out in 2007 after training too hard too quickly
  • Still having the belief in 2007 that she could still do this – didn’t matter who believed it
  • 2009 training – calming down and finishing 7thin Beijing gave her confidence
  • Knowing that the race in 2009 was her day in Berlin total belief this was the day for a medal
  • Seeing the calmness as the main difference – here to do the job! Visualization techniques – focusing on the process not the result
  • Sport is all about the process – and it is!
  • Intuition v Data & Facts
  • Control v Letting go with Goals
  • Life after retirement working with the high-performance committee of Sport Ireland
  • Career convergence with Analytical and Experience

1% Better tips:

  • The Value of Volunteers & Influencers along the way
  • Focusing on the process – awareness that the pain will come but being ready
  • Accepting there would be challenges, expecting them and overcoming them
  • Having positive mantras – my last 5km is always my strongest
  • Developing a calmness in competition – building awareness
  • Controlling the controllable
  • Developing a Goal System – using SMART & Heart!
  • Setting big long term goals, then medium term goals, then smaller shorter goals

Follow Olive on Twitter – https://twitter.com/OliveLoughnane


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