Keeping your Mojo Alive and Well
In my day to day coaching job I come across the same issues time and again where the best intentions give way to other priorities and you either stop training or delay starting "just another week", and so would like to give you a little perspective and some tips on how we keep training going and how to keep a positive attitude.
The first of these is visualisation. Whatever we do in life, we need to have a clear goal to aim at. In this instance my advice would be to constantly visualise yourself finishing the event.
You have the route and so spend some time if you haven't already identifying particular highlights along the way,
Your journey will be full of spectacular views and will give you insights to the entire islands of Ibiza and Formentera.
Visualise yourself riding into Ibiza Town, the sense of achievement and pride of having completed this iconic challenge.
Hopefully these small visualisation will keep you going when the training seems to be getting a little too much and you fancy putting it off.
Work backwards from the start date
Picture yourself at Ibiza ready for the off. Ask yourself "what do I wish I had done more to prepare for this ?"
Write down the answers and review the list. Identify the top three things that make most sense.
Do not compare yourself with others, and don't write down stuff which is not feasible such as I wish I had done 30 hours a week. It needs to be realistic.
Apply those three things to your training plan now, so that you can achieve them between now and when you turn up at Ibiza.
Now that you have that list, reimagine yourself at the start line and asking yourself again what could I have done to prepare better - only to have a wave of satisfaction that yes you did prepare for this and now you can enjoy rather than endure the next three days.
Create Short Term Goals.
While the event is your main goal of this year, look to create a series of mini-goals.
These can be as simple as getting a personal best on a nearby hill, improving your flexibility through stretching or yoga, increasing your threshold power, improving your placement on Zwift races, doing long back to back rides over a weekend, increasing the number of times you can climb a nearby long hill before fatiguing.
Having these mini-goals and by making them very achievable is probably one of the top tips to maintain motivation.
Knowing why you are doing each workout ride is important to help you develop and maintain motivation
Before sports science got involved in cycling, the mantra was "just ride the bike".
There is an element of truth in that, however this can lead to long sessions of what we call "junk miles", ie a rather aimless ride for a few hours which may generate a bit of sweat but is probably not going to help you get progressively fitter.
Junk miles may seem good at the time, but will not help you progress in the longer term and can even be counter productive, but we'll come onto why that may be the case that later.
So, before you begin each workout, write down its objectives and review how far you met them after the workout.
Turn off the Data (sometimes).
Sometimes we can get lost in analysis paralysis, looking too much at our heart rate or average speed numbers.... if this is taken to the extreme it is very easy to lose sight of why we love cycling and why we are doing the event.
As part of the 6Point Cycling Challenges Team you raising money for a fantastic cause, you are part of a team that is helping disadvantaged people across the Baleares gain access to opportunities that would otherwise be closed to them.
On a personal level, you are getting fitter, and your cycling is bringing you a whole range of mental health and wellbeing benefits.
It can be easy with all your training to lose some of this important context, sometimes we need to free ourselves from the data and look at the bigger picture.
Try leaving the cycling computer and heart rate strap at home; go for a “free ride”, take time to look at the emerging spring flowers and take in your surroundings without concern of your numbers or performance.
Give it a try every now and again and measure the smile on your face not your heart rate.
End each workout or ride with a smile.
Talking of smiles. When doing an indoor workout, take time to do a good cool down, if you use a playlist, make sure the final song is one of your favourite uplifting anthems that you are not afraid to sing along with;
For your outdoor rides, make sure you switch off from your training mentality a mile or two from home, perhaps choose a route that is away from traffic, use that time to smile and relax and give yourself a little congratulatory pat on the back and finish feeling energised rather than arriving at the door in an exhausted heap.
Sometimes are are not feeling like doing the workout, especially those hard indoors sessions, rather than abandon the ride, switch off the computer and complete the session totally chilled, you'll feel much more energised and righteous.
Measure the smiles, and write down how you feel, which leads us to...
Keep a logbook
After each ride/workout, take a few moments to record how that went, what were the top points, how well did you achieve your objectives, what if anything would you do better next time.
It can be as simple as "I paced that ride well", to "I managed to fuel and keep myself hydrated", to “I hit the power numbers that the plan required”.
Each of these rides then form a series of learnings and mini-wins that help to build confidence and reinforce motivation.
Keeping a log will help you track progress and understand how your body reacts to different training stresses.
In this way, not only can you see progress, but you may begin to see patterns of cumulative training rides without suffice rest, which tends to lead to chronic muscle soreness, general tiredness and loss of motivation.
So my advice to maintaining motivation is to pace your training, give yourself lots of recovery time; there is a real danger, especially during or because of lockdown to physically and mentally burn yourself out resulting in being too ill or not sufficiently prepared to start your 6Point Cycling Challenge Ibiza.