Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable

In a previous blog I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.

I’m going to dive a little bit deeper in to each one, starting here with Rule Number 1

Number 1) Control the Controllable

Only certain things are within our control. If it isn’t something you have any say over, forget it. Only expend energy on the things that you can directly influence.

My personal belief system and ethics are shaped by philosophies and teachings of Buddhism and Stoicism.

At the heart of Stoicism is the understanding that the only thing we can truly control is our reaction to the things that happen. If we can learn to control our reactions and remain steady there is no situation that can either completely undo us or over inflate us.

It doesn’t mean not feeling joy or celebrating the wins. It also doesn’t mean never feeling sad, angry or let down.

What it does mean is learning to control those emotions so that they don’t overtake your life and screw you up.

Learning this lesson as an athlete can help set you free and elevate your performance.

Weather looks bad on race day – nothing you can do about it and it’s the same for everyone. What can you control? Having the right kit. Practising in all conditions throughout your training so you know how it feels.

Can you actually turn this into an advantage? Going to a hit race? So many people underperform in heat – can you heat train? I did some of my turbo sessions in front of my fire in my living room, in a hat and long sleeves to prepare for the weather in Spain)

Forgot a piece of kit, maybe a piece of clothing or nutrition – What can you do about it? Is ranting, swearing, getting stressed out helpful? Absolutely not. So what can you do? Do you have time to source something? Can others around you possibly help? If not, whats the best case scenario.

At an Ironman event this year someone got to the swim having left their wetsuit back at their hotel. They spoke to the IM announcers. The announcers asked over the PA system if anyone had a spare wetsuit and within 5 minutes that athlete had their pick of 4 wetsuits!

These are just two examples.

Anyone that knows my story from IronMan Vitoria Gastiez in 2022 knows that I came up against obstacle after obstacle in a race that ended in a mechanical DNF 20km into the bike.
Without all of the work I have done on my mindset over the last 5 years that situation probably would have broken me, especially as that race was 4 years in the making.

Yes I got upset. Yes I was bitterly disappointed. But I was also making a plan for my come back before the first athletes had even crossed the finish line that same day.

Another big lesson – Its only failure if you give up completely. Otherwise, it’s just an attempt.

For me, that race was merely attempt 1. I hadn’t failed yet. Attempt 2 was July this year, one year later, and I finished that damned race!

Whatever situation you face…


About Liza Smith

Liza: The Endurance Expert – Unlock Your Peak Athletic Potential!

Dedicated to endurance, particularly in extreme events like Ironman, OCR and Ultras, Liza stands out not just as a coach but as an emblem of determination and tenacity.

With a reputation for moulding winners and transforming raw potential into prowess, Liza is the top pick for those aspiring to reign supreme in their sport.

Liza’s coaching philosophy centres on the power of the mind. Her five pillars – Control the Controllable, Find the Positive, Focus on You, 100% Effort, and Extreme Ownership – guide athletes to both mental and physical excellence.

Whether you're just starting out or vying for the gold, Liza ensures your hard work delivers results. Train with Liza and unleash the ultimate athlete within you.