How have you been? Any nice training rides recently?
I just came back from 1 week of training camp in the south of France. The week turned out to be a lot of fun accompanied by very hard work on the road and in the pool. This year we were more than ever, 120 of us left Paris to look for nicer weather and some heavy workouts.
This year due to my new job I was not quite able to get as much training in as I wanted. It is difficult to get 1 longer bike ride in during the weekdays due to the weather and time issues therefore I was more stressed than ever if I could keep up with my group or not. I was very upset because 2 days before I left Paris I got to know that I am no longer in the same group with my training buddies especially one person who I am always competing with. I thought that this was not fear since during most of the bike rides I could maintain the speed he did so I couldn’t agree with the decision of the coaches. I was upset and reacted in a childish way. In the meantime I knew that in my new group I am going to be one of the strongest riders and I was trying to turn my mindset towards to positive sides: I will be up front leadind the group all the time therefore I will certainly work more as the others. Also I decided to congratulate myself because I changed jobs, this was my initial goal and there’s absolutely no sense in putting too much stress on myself. I can’t perform 100% everywhere…I was therefore concentrating a lot harder than ever before during our bike rides to give a good example and to show that I am over my disappointment and I am ready to move on. Eventually I even found out that I could teach some rules/training tips to the others who were in my group – so this turned out to be my new goal.
From our third day of training my “big rival” was eventually advised to rather bike with my group because he was having some troubles keeping up with the other group. New situation, new stress…But after I spent half of the night tossing and turning because I just so much wanted to show off to him and the others that I was stronger next morning I woke up tried to eat as much as possible and off we went with the group. This was supposed to be one of the longest rides with my group and our coach decided to bring us up towards the mountains. Up in altitude and in the uphills I am definitely someone to count with. Some people from the group passed me but I forced myself to stay calm and relaxed. I was thinking about what most of the pro athletes are doing – they use visualisation – to move forward. I was 100% focused on my heartrate and my rythm on the bike because I knew that the climb was going to take about 1 hr and it makes no sense to speed up, I have to respect the mountain.
About 30 min into the ride I was up front with 1 guy and I felt good. But I didn’t feel good because I passed everyone, I felt happy because I overcame my stress and I could concentrate and show myself that I can eventually create a bubble around myself and be focused on my own performance without comparing in to everyone else all the time.
Mental strength is something that we learn by reading some training materials, books and articles. But it also comes with age and experience. I hardly recommend to use this “bubble method”, DO NOT WORRY about what others are doing, know yourself, know what is the best for you and bring out the maximum of every single training. Even if you do not succeed the most important is that you tried and you improved your self esteem and motivation.
Have a wonderful week ladies and happy training!