Let’s start to get into mental skills for athletes in more detail! But first, we need to assess whether our physical needs have been met so that we can perform to the best of our ability.
The very first thing to ask yourself when you get on the bike and…
- the workout feels too hard; or
- you can’t focus on the workout/race; or
- you feel grumpy and have negative thoughts about your cycling/performance/the group/the event, etc.; or
- the legs aren’t responding/feel “flat” or heavy (not sore)
… is not related to mental skills at all.
Instead, ask yourself:
- Is my nutrition on point? Am I well fueled for this workout?
- Did I sleep well/enough last night and/or the night before?
- Have I been going too hard on a ride/workout the day(s) before without adequate rest/recovery (look at the past 7 days)?
- Did I do anything physically demanding that is out of the ordinary recently?
If the answers to 1 and 2 are “yes” and the answers to 3 and 4 are “no”, then you may move on to mental skills territory.
Sounds basic, I know, but sometimes we forget or are not sure how to eat well for the demands of the day. How many of you ask yourself questions 1-4 every time you believe your performance is below your expectations?