• Amelie Mongol Derby Racer

When do you start training?

With every project you lead, you should work backwards.

  • When is the due date?

  • What are the milestones? Deliverables?

  • Who should be involved and when?

  • What is required? Etc.

From there, it’s usually easier to understand the timeframe and all of the dependencies. Yet, when you have never competed in a race or done endurance riding, it sure does look frightening. You know what and when your finish line is but how does the starting line look? Tough question.


To be honest, and although I’m usually very structured and organized, I’m amazed at how relaxed I am (or should that I say utterly reckless?), considering the tremendous effort and dedication it will require me to get anywhere close to being ready. Plus, I’ve started a new position recently and it’s consuming all my energy and brainpower. Add to the mix that the race seems very far in the distance, the pressure doesn’t seem to have set in yet. So what are my priorities right now?


  • First, not to miss a riding lesson. Sounds pretty easy, but it can be challenging when you’re starting a new job. The challenges of the first months coupled with the pressure I tend to put on myself meant that more often than not, it’s been tempting to skip a lesson to be able to rest.

  • Second, level up. What was it you were saying about being a beginner? Forget that, you are now an athlete—everything starts in the mind, right? Still using excuses on why you’re not there yet? Well, time for a reality check. During the race, there won’t be a joker you can pull, so better toughen up now.

  • Third, train for physical resistance. Even though I’m not sure yet on how to do that, I’ve started running again and I’m still going to yoga classes. I run 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday while listening to the BBC World Service, and I go to a one-hour hot yoga class every Monday and Friday. Is that enough? Barely. I do not feel I’ve gained any strength or stamina. [Disclaimer, if you are not active, this would definitely help].


This is definitely not how I was envisioning myself training before I started; yet, I have to be realistic about what I can achieve now and be fine with this. If I had known better, I wouldn’t have had the goal to start my intense training on May 1st, alongside my new job. And yet, there is a great teaching in this.


Not everything can be achieved at once, there is neither a perfect time nor situation; yet, I must learn to “go with the flow,” be patient with myself, and deal with what I have on hand. Learning to take one step at a time, not giving up despite circumstances is also part of the training. If I think this is tough, then how will I react when lost in a foreign country on the back of a horse?

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