Noah Lyles grabbed the attention of sports media when he took first in the men’s 100-meter at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships. But Lyles isn’t letting the new spotlight distract him from his upcoming season or the big events of summer 2020. No matter the race at hand, Lyles’ goal remains the same: “Win everything.”
This competitive spirit is in his blood, having been raised in a running family with parents and a brother who all have track experience. But it takes more than just a competitive streak to be successful in professional sports, and Noah Lyles’ track record is a clear indicator that he knows what it takes to be the best. So, here’s his advice for finding success on and off the track.
1. It takes two types of training: mental and physical.
“A lot of people think it’s the hard training [that makes you a better athlete], but it’s not just hard training. It’s also being smart with the training, and that all comes from your mind,” Lyles said. “My mom has always said this sport is 90% mental, 10% physical.”
The biggest competition on the track isn’t always an actual person. Sometimes it’s the voice in your head questioning your ability to shave a couple tenths off your next meet; sometimes it’s the crippling fear that you’re not as good as you think. But through training you learn to shut up that voice and become the best you can be.
2. It’s crucial to create a strategy.
“The night before, I talk to my sport psychologist about our plan for the race,” Lyles said.
Then on the day of the race, as Lyles prepares to get in the blocks, he repeats his plan in his mind. He focuses on the track before him and pictures himself passing up his competitors one by one until all that’s left in his sights is the finish line.
Envisioning the win is a key to success.
3. Don’t try to be anybody but yourself.
“I’m not here to be the next whoever,” Lyles said. “I’m here to be me. And I’m hoping that when people see that, they’ll try to be the best them that they can be.”
It’s easy to see that Lyles is true to himself from the themed socks he’ll wear on race days to his victory dances after he crosses the finish line. Comparison is the thief of joy – maybe that’s why Noah Lyles is always smiling.
4. Find a creative outlet.
“In high school, track and field was all my life was built around,” Lyles said. “During off season I would kind of go crazy. So, I decided I would start incorporating my hobbies heavily into my life. Because if I don’t have something to work on outside of track, I start to think that all I am is a runner, and that’s not how it is.”
Noah Lyles loves his career as a professional sprinter and dedicates tons of time to perfecting his skills. But he also understands the importance of embracing his hobbies like creating music, designing sneakers and filming YouTube videos. Drive and determination are necessary tools for success, but finding balance is equally important.
5. Don’t live in the past.
When asked what piece of advice he would give to a younger him, without hesitation Noah Lyles said, “You did everything right.”
It’s a simple answer that holds an important lesson. The wins and losses make you who you are today. It does no good to worry about how the last meet went or hate yourself for not setting a new record. Instead you must decide to train, race, and give 100% every time.
These five keys set Noah Lyles apart from other athletes and put him in a league of his own. But even the most talented workman has his favorite tools, and for Lyles it’s adidas through and through. Check out a full selection of adidas track and field gear at eastbay.com and start owning your success today.