We all love to suffer on some level! Whether we are out on a weekend ride with friends, on a commute to work, doing an indoor training session, completing a challenge or whatever else it may be. A few weeks ago, Coach Suzie wrote a great piece about goal setting and the importance of defining them. Here, I want to discuss the motivation behind goals and how the mind and body are affected.
Everyone lives a busy life full of different responsibilities and pressures so having exercise can help a lot. Temporary escapism from the day to day routine not only helps to physically release endorphins but also allows you to break away mentally and enjoy a change of scenery which in turn will allow you to come back refreshed and with an altered perspective. Personally, this has become a key element in my day and something I look forward to when I need some ‘me’ time. It does not always mean performing to the best of my ability but simply going out and enjoying a ride.
Training isn’t always enjoyable and finding the motivation and drive to train regularly doesn’t come easily to everyone. I’m sure we’ve all had a moment when you know you are going to have to push yourself outside your comfort zone to get through a fitness test or a particularly heavy training block in order to improve. But remembering the overall goal and the reasons why you want to achieve new heights are what push me to carry on.
We all know the drill here but fitness has different components such as cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and muscular endurance. Naturally, just like your 4DP rider type, you will be predisposed to some aspects more than others. Depending on the workout you complete, you will be working towards different outcomes. This is important to remember when it comes to a balanced training plan to make sure you allow enough time for your body to recover on certain aspects while you focus on others. Doing a sprint session one day will draw on your anaerobic energy system and recruit your slow and fast-twitch muscle fibres due to the high intensity of the workout. While the next day you may experience some muscular fatigue, going out on a steady ride will use your aerobic energy system and only require your slow-twitch muscle fibres due to the lower intensity, allowing your fast-twitch muscle fibres to recover.
Exercise is a great form of escapism both for your mind as well as your body. Simply taking some time out of your day to focus on the workout at hand no matter how challenging gives your mind a welcome distraction and some time to process your thoughts (just like your muscles recover best while you sleep). Often on return, you will get a new perspective on what was an issue in another aspect of your life but now you can breeze right through feeling refreshed.
We all know exercise elevates your heart rate and puts an increased strain on the muscles. But there are a lot more effects happening on the inside of the body particularly in the endocrine system. The release of endorphins contributes to reducing your stress and anxiety levels, boosting your self-esteem and giving you a natural high contributing to an improved mental state.
Depending on your work, a long day in the office can be tiring mentally but not always physically. Cardiovascular exercising, in particular, adds that extra element of fatigue post-workout which can help send you off to get those much needed 8 hours of sleep and recovery.
Making sure you are able to establish a regular routine is important and this is where process goals kick in and you need to dig that bit deeper to just keep going through the motions.
These, in turn, help you towards your performance goals and all this time, in the back of your mind, you can think about your outcome goals. Using mental imagery during training sessions really helps me stay motivated through thick and thin- if you haven’t done this before checkout “The Bat”.
We all have our reasons for getting on the bike and putting ourselves through suffering, whether it is on your trainer, out on the open road or maybe even in another discipline. But the key is that long term we all keep going. Training isn’t always enjoyable, but always make sure that you have more good days than bad days.
Why do you train and what are the key benefits that keep you going when things get tough?