The Athlete’s Brain with Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson

The Athlete’s Brain with Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson

This week on the TrainingPeaks CoachCast Dirk interviews husband and wife duo Triathlete & Coach Lesley Paterson and Performance Psychologist Simon Marshall.

Lesley Paterson and Simon Marshall are a fascinating pair. With Lesley’s personal experiences as a professional triathlete and coach, combined with Simon’s sports psychology expertise, the two of them are able to provide deep insight into what makes an athlete’s brain tick. 

Listen as they delve into topics such as compartmentalizing focus while racing, assuming an ‘alter racing ego’ and their collaborative process on co-writing their book: “The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion.”

Stand-Out Quotes

  • “So the brain really works on pathways and algorithms versus tasks and places… we’ve adapted different sorts of metaphors for thinking about the brain because our goal was to try and help give real tools to athletes that they would understand.”
  • “The reason athletic identity is so important is because it’s such a big predictor of persistence, of motivation.”
  • “I find it really difficult to call myself a professional athlete because deep down, I didn’t feel I deserved it, like that kind of title, I wasn’t good enough to represent that. And that came from a whole host of things. I mean, I’m from a culture where professional sport is quite different or you talk yourself down.”
  • “It’s only really in the last sort of 10 years that we’ve realized that you can actually, by acting a certain way, you can impact how you feel, which impacts how you think. So you can reverse engineer the process.”
  • “When things have gone really well, I’ve lost that sense of gratitude, of being in the moment, of truly soaking it all in and experiencing it. And so I’ve had to really address all of those things as I’ve gotten older and spend the time to acknowledge where I’m at and what does it mean to me, what my ‘why’ is.”


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