Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mental Toughness (is perhaps what you'll need to work through this blog today...)

My rest week last week was kind of weird. I backed off too much. I ate too much. I stressed too much. I slept too little. By the end of the week I really felt like I had come off the rails a little bit. So ending the rest week two rides and two hours short of my training schedule just kind of set me up for this week all wrong.

Monday was an off day so that was cool -except I actually felt like riding. Then Jasper got sick and I took my turn at home with him on Tuesday and
couldn't get on my bike. I tried to tell myself, "no biggie, you get two off days this week, you'll just have to get on top of things the rest of the week." But the off-the-rails feelings of frustration were creeping in around the edges stronger.

Wednesday I rode. But I felt horrible. I couldn't get on top of my gear and I ended the ride feeling kind of exasperated. Fortunately, this feeling eased off a bit later on when I realized that the fixed gear I was riding had been a 42-14 that I had set up for roller riding instead of the usual 42-16 I spin on the road. Still...

Today I simply couldn't wedge a bike ride into my work day and the need to get home since Kris is sick now too. Not going to make this week's training goals. Off. The. Rails.

Saturday was going to be my big ride of the week. I may not get much of a ride in at all. Off. The. Rails.

But is this a big deal in the grand scheme of things? No. Is it a big deal for my bike racing plans (hahahaha)? No, not really. As long as I exercise some mental toughness.

I used to think mental toughness was the ability to ignore pain, endure suffering, and tune out my brain to push past my physical limits. I suppose that is one definition but I'm learning now that mental toughness is the ability to realize your limits, whether they be emotional, stress, physical, dietary or viral/bacterial and make the proper adjustments to get yourself back on track.

In literature, the "back on track" is called your Ideal Performance State. So, right now, I need to be mentally tough enough to just not let the missed training days get to me and move forward with my eyes on the prize. And in this case the prize is not alienating my family, doing a solid job at work and not driving myself into the ground. The fitness and performance will still come and I'll be right back on track with training as soon as things mellow out a bit.

Work gets busy. Loved ones get sick. Hey, that's life. And if you let it get to you then you aren't in control. And if there's one glorious lesson I've managed to soak up in the last three years or so it's that this is my ship and I get to steer it.

Damn, I mixed up my metaphors there. I started off like a pothead engineer on a train going off the rails and ended up on a ship sailing it with steely determination (or at least grasping for a mask of steeliness).

"Steady as she goes!"

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