Grant Giles is obsessed with what happens between an athlete’s ears.
Grant has 25+ years of experience in triathlons, starting with a 14 year career as an elite athlete. He then turned to coaching and ultimately ran a full time squad at Lennox Head on the NSW North Coast where he developed some of Australia’s most successful professional triathletes.
These life experiences - together with his own struggles with anxiety - led him to become obsessed with understanding what happens between an athlete’s ears.
These days, Grant runs Sports Supports, a consultancy business that closes the gap between psychology and sport by providing mind-body coaching to athletes.
The core of his philosophy is to develop ‘awakened athletes’ which he describes in this conversation as ‘somebody who is aware that they are more than the content of their thinking and can stand apart from their thinking and can actually enquire into it; ask questions of it, analyse it, or drop it all together.’
Grant’s approach can, I think, be summarised by: “don’t believe everything you think”.
In this conversation, we discuss:
* his journey from athlete to triathlon coach to his current obsession with the mind,
* what is a ‘mindful’ or ‘awakened’ athlete and the characteristic one would have,
* why pain is subjective (ultimately, it’s because of the labels we choose to apply to it),
* the question he asks himself when he finds his thoughts clouding his judgement,
* why it’s important to relax into pain when you are training and racing,
* the two parts of your brain and how they interact when faced with fear,
* the source of your inner critic, and
* why he says ‘meditation saved my life’.
This is a deep and, at times, mind bending conversation.
I’ll be the first to admit there were times I was reading Grant’s blog in preparing for this discussion, then had to walk away to process it so I could get my head around it.
Even as I listened to this episode in the post-production phrase, I had new insights (and questions!) so this is one episode you might need to listen to twice.
Notes and resources:
Grant's post on Eluid Kipchoge's marathon world record setting run is here.