At first focus and flexibility appear to be diametrically opposing mindsets. They are not; we need to develop both. If our attitude is too lackadaisical then performance is subpar and if too rigid then any deviation causes a meltdown.
There are many factors we can cover here but the goal will always be the same. We want to learn (read: train ourselves) to stay mentally focused during the event through to the finish while being flexible enough to handle any deviation/setback calmly. At first focus and flexibility appear to be diametrically opposing mindsets. They are not; we need to develop both. If our attitude is too lackadaisical then performance is subpar and if too rigid then any deviation causes a meltdown.
First, understand the purpose of your workout. Each training session should have one. If it does not, then you are not ‘training’ but exercising. Either are appropriate depending on your goals. But if you have a specific outcome for a season or race in mind then you are probably training. If you are using a coach don't be afraid to ask. Knowing the purpose helps you stay focused.
Next, try breaking down the workout into manageable parts. For example I find it difficult to focus on 3z for an hour, especially with changes in terrain and traffic. But I find it easy to focus for three consecutive 20 minute segments. If I have a long continuous swim or run, I will do the same. Practice during training season how you stay focused during the race.
Another suggestion: practice completing each workout. This can be particularly difficult at times. But the finish line is at the end of the race, not 500 yds short of it. So feel good about doing all the intervals and the striders etc. You may need that determination in the middle of a long race.
Finally, now is the perfect time to start visualizing events that are not part of the plan and how you will manage them. We train the mind to be flexible. Waiting two weeks out from your race/event does not allow enough time to internalize the plan. Situations to consider include adverse weather, lost goggles in the swim, flat tires, dropped water bottles, GI issues on the run. Have a plan that allows you to relax and adjust so that you stay in the game and focus on the finish.
To wrap it up remember:
1. Know the Purpose.
2. Break it down into Manageable Parts.
3. Practice Completing the Workouts.
4. Visualize the Mishaps and their Solutions.