Monday, July 31, 2006

TT

When I time-trial, I have 3 things that I always focus on and think about. I constantly try and evaluate these 3 things and try to improve on them constantly. They are: 1. Pacing. I train with HRM and power, but I race "in the dark". I'm always listening and feeling my body, trying to evaluate if I'm going hard enough, but not too hard. This skill will develop as you do more and more TTs.

2. Technique. I try to relax and keep my upper body as still as possible. Little or no head movements, TT helmet flat and touching my back. Correct cadence.

3. Mental toughness. Focus on work tasks. Concentrate. And most importantly - being able to be tough and hard towards yourself. TTs will hurt, period. This becomes especially important during the last 5-6km and races are usually won here. From 5k in it's an all-out, nothing held back, effort. This is going to hurt and the winner is often the one that can dole out the most hurt.

All I do during a TT is focus on these 3 tasks. Simplicity is important, just go through them over and over again. When I evaluate my performance after an effort, I evaluate it based on these 3 items, NOT my placing. Placing is irrelevant at this point.

Wishes

What do we wish for in athletes? Often what goes on between your ears is just as important for performance, as what you have in your legs.

I've listed some focus points that I try to reach for and I hope that you will also find something useful here:

1. Being able to handle, and grow, while under pressure. "Rise to the occasion".

2. Realize that you go through both ups AND downs as an athlete. Often, how we handle the downs is vital for success later on.

3. Being "best when it matters". Match top performance with top event.

4. Be brave.

5. Be creative.

6. Fair Play. Have good role-models. Be a good citizen.

7. Live a good life outside of riding and after putting the bike away. Seek mental recovery as well as physical recovery.

8. What does it mean to succeed? Winning the national championship? Winning the World Championship? Olympic Gold? Or is it growth and development as a human being?

9. The most important goal is to create motivation and happiness.

10. Try to be motivated by happiness. The goal is to reach the "zone". If you are motivated by happiness you will find joy even during trivial training. And that is when development really starts happening.

11. There are 2 perspectives on motivation, performance oriented and goal oriented.

12. The performance oriented person compares himself with other people, is very focused on being the best, usually thinks talent is genetic, finds winning to be the number 1 thing, gets bored easily and is more likely to cheat.

13. The goal oriented person has himself as a reference point, is focused on doing his best and developing his own skills, shows great patience and thinks competing is fun if he accomplishes his work tasks; regardless of placing.

14. Perfection - never accept anything less. Always strive for perfection during your work tasks when you train and compete.

15. Compete primarily with yourself and not your competitors. Try to improve all the time, also during competitions. Focus on work tasks, NOT placement. In other words - you might win and be disappointed because you didn't accomplish your work tasks to the quality you desired. You may also end of in 20th place and be happy because you did all the tasks to perfection.

16. If you are a performance oriented athlete you probably tend to choose either extremely easy tasks or extremely hard tasks. You show signs of easily giving up when things don't work out.

17. BE A GOAL ORIENTED ATHLETE.

If you have any questions about a specific point, please let me know and I'd love to elaborate. I hope some of you find this helpful.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tip of The Day

Listen to your body. Have a training plan, but make sure you are able to take it easy when you feel "down".

Easy times

Ah, the joy of home. Mom's home-cooking, Norwegian pastry and long, easy days. For us that do not ride the Tour - July can be a welcomed, slow period. For most of the time, I've been home on vacation and have ridden my bike surprisingly little. Physically, and even more importantly, mentally this sort of a break is very important for me.

Now don't get me wrong, I haven't been a complete couch-potato. I did train pretty much every day, but only to maintain my aerobic capacity and having fun was the number priority during each session. I did a lot of running/hiking and "nabbed" 10 mountain peaks above 1000 meters (3000-4000 feet).

I've only had a handful of days back on the bike, and as expected, my legs are a bit "slow" and heavy. Hopefully though, I should be back to normal within a couple of weeks. I'm going to be a bottle-carrier for the upcoming races anyways, so top form is not really required.

I hope everyone's training and racing is going well. As always, I welcome input and questions about training/racing.