Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mental preparation for training

There was an article on Pez, I think,
about mental preparation for racing AND for training.
I was struck by this when I read it because I realized I hadn't really been doing that at least not in comparison to what I do for racing. Since then, I've tried to think about what my training ride was going to be like and use all the same techniques as I do racing like visualizing key aspects of the workouts and planning strategies for success (start a rep at the low watt end and end on the high), etc.

Take intervals for example. These are so valuable for making one faster and stronger, but they can't be approached in a haphazard way and the more you do the harder they become and the more fatigued you get the more challenging it is to maintain your mental focus. Consequently, I've started viewing interval days as intensive training for mind and body.
  1. Visualize making the right motions to hit the numbers
  2. Practice keeping the target watts for each set, the recovery times, the number of sets, etc. in mind as a preparation for keeping racing strategy and tactics in mind when fatigue sets in.
  3. An opportunity to practice suffering management techniques. Some people focus on the pain, others distract themselves from it. I haven't figured out what works best for me.
Anyway, I expect you can tell I'm excited to get out into the heat and practice what I'm preachin'. Not really, but the truth is that you can modify your attitude and that is often
enough to get you through whatever it is you have to deal with.


oldmanandhisbike said...

"i'm going outside to ride my bike, i'm going outside to ride my bike, i'm going outside to ride my bike, i'm going outside to ride my bike . . . "

Dad said...

*LOL*...think I've heard that preaced before...glad a good read by stranger made a believer... sic'm kid...

Hey, your mom and I did the Palmyra circle last night...coming back going downhill is even up hill. Never worked by feet so hard to give my butt a ride ever. And then thinking I even enjoyed it...sicko.

And even with all that knowledge I think we're fixin' to do it again as soon as I get the last hay picked up...worse than sicko...

Actually it gives me some insight into how challenging your bike races are and I can appreciate it. Just like I said, "If you can't win in the practice pen, you ain't fixin' to win in the arena."

Bear down and bike up!!!

VeloCC said...

I am actually getting ready to go and do intervals myself and there is something said about the mental side of it...and that doesn't mean that we are all mental to do it in this heat:)
I actually try to focus on the numbers and the form. Trying to do it RIGHT. No cheating to get it over with quicker or more easily.
I listen to my music AND I think about my next race, MTB race. This time at Landahl, where the start will be on a grassy uphill for almost a mile...
That's a good motivator to get me through the pain.

Marc said...

Training is like racing. When training think of how it relates, mimicks racing.

Specificity of intervals: by mimicking the demands of a particular event. Say in a crit it comes down to 5 minutes left. Doing 5 min intervals will let you know your limits on how hard you can go to get away to finish solo.

Overload intervals: Progressive overload by using duration or power for say 10 min.If you need to sustain a 10 min effort in your event these work great. You can use 5,6,7,8,9,10 min of progressive duration to build up to 10 min.

In the long run(goals) we're working on a physiological system. To improve your LT, VO2 ect. So by improving these the specific needs of an event can be meet down the road.

The manner in which an interval is done and not so much the duration is another aspect of this type of training to race. Doing a certain % of a VO2 interval ilicits both aerobic and anaerobic systems. Doing a 3 min interval can be done at max or a certain percentage. All specific intervals are not created equal.

What I'm trying to get at is that when you're training you're doing it for a purpose. Whether it's to finish a century or win a crit you've got to keep the big picture of what you're doing in the back of your mind.