Ok, a true behind the scenes post coming up. I promised that this series was going to be a “warts and all” look at my training journey. So here’s the first big wart!
I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to this… but this morning I really didn’t want to get on my bike. In fact, when I saw that it was raining, and obviously “unsafe” for me to be riding through the hills, a bit of a weight lifted off my shoulders… “WHAAAAAT??” but I love riding my bike. In fact, that’s all you hear from me on Facebook, right?
Well, it’s true. I certainly do love riding my bike, and when I’m out there, there’s very few places I’d rather be. What I have worked out though, is that I’m a bit too competitive for my own good. And this translates into knowing that every time I go out there, I’ll want to ride harder and faster than the previous time. And sometimes I just don’t look forward to that pain… It’s not unusual for me to dry-retch (sorry about the details!) at the top of a hill. And this is not because I’m too unfit to get up it, as I could certainly easily spin the legs up most climbs in Adelaide… it’s the fact that I feel I need to get a PB (personal best) time every single time!
This is not a good place to be on two counts:
- It’s unrealistic to expect that every single session (of anything!) is going to be a ‘best ever’ session! This applies to the intensity of it, the speed of it, or even the enjoyment of whatever it is you are doing.
- I don’t want to lose the joy, and the WHY I do what I do.
How to avoid that mental ‘overtraining’
So, to be clear, the issue is not that I was physically dreading the ride, but rather, mentally ‘pre-fatigued’. While this concept is not new to me, and one I have been working on personally and have coached others through, today it really hit me that i have let it get away from me. So, here are a few things i plan to do, and if this resonates with you too, hopefully this also gives you a bit of a strategy:
- First and foremost, I need to focus on the WHY: I train primarily because I love the feeling of exercise – of being outdoors and feeling my body working.
- The second reason why I train is that I enjoy the feeling of being fit and healthy. There are no medals or million dollar contracts at the end of this. It is simply for my well being.
- Considering the point above, constantly pushing oneself is never a good thing for health. It drains the body, it creates hormonal stress and increases the chances of injury and illness. I know this… so I just need to coach myself through it!
- I need to learn to just head out, be it running or riding, and get back to the joy of movement. Part of this is to disconnect myself from the tools that tell me how fast I’m going and how hard I’m working! While numbers are a good thing, and they help plan training in a clever and scientific way, they also need to allow for ‘easy days’. My best way to achieve that is to leave my GPS watch at home!
- I need to remember that everything needs cycles (not the bike kind! haha!), but waves and rhythms of work and play, challenge and recovery. This applies to life in general, and certainly to physical training.
- Lastly, I will take advantage of ‘variety’. So to break the mental burden of riding today, I will go to the gym and do a mixed session, which will provide variety to ind and body.
Ahhhh… I feel better already. Thanks for hanging around and chatting. Would love to hear your thoughts. And don’t feel bad if you need an easy day in your schedule!