Monday, 23 March 2009

Mental Training

An aspect of my training that I have not really given much thought to before is mental preparation. A number of things recently have made me think about this rather more.

A couple of weeks ago I ran into an old rugby friend at a party. Since giving up rugby Marcus has completed an Ironman and competed as an age-grouper in the GB team at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Florida. We spent some time catching up and while we were discussing me doing the Ironman he asked whether I had “got my head right”. I didn’t think too much of it at the time and said that I had. While cycling over the weekend I got to thinking about it again.

For a change on my long ride I headed North from home and cycled to Langport where I did a couple of laps of the Langport Triathlon route. While going round I thought back to the first time I had cycled this route. It was in September last year when I decided to do a lap of the course a week prior to the race. I can remember going round the course constantly looking for the next turn and fretting about how much further it was. The distance wasn’t a real problem, though it was quite a long ride for me, but mentally it felt a long way out of my comfort zone.

This weekend it felt like a really nice ride and more importantly it felt perfectly normal. It didn’t feel at all strange to be cycling for three and a half hours. It is now well within my comfort zone, not just physically but mentally as well. There was no fretting and no worrying partly because I know the route now but mainly because I have been doing enough riding that it just feels normal to be doing this. My perception of time seems to have changed as well, I can potter along for hours without getting bored.

On the other hand I still have a long way to go before the Ironman. Just the bike ride is going to be double my normal long ride so I need to start increasing the distances I am covering. Also I decided to go for a short run after my ride this week, the first time I have run off the bike for months. Now I remember why you need to do those sessions, it felt terrible. Looking at my Garmin results afterwards I can see I actually managed a good pace for the run but it was a real struggle to run at all. Time to institute a run after every bike policy I think.


Karen said...

Hey Mike - sounds like you are going well.... Think the general consensus is a brick a week. Last year for my HIM my coach had me sometimes running short ones (like 10-20mins after short bike) or longer, even up to an hour!... Don Fink's book seems to have one a week, usually on the shorter side.

Keep up the good work!!

Franz said...

You should consider training mentally as often as you can, on one hand using actual movement sequences that you replay in your mind and on the other using autosuggestions whenever your mind otherwise ran free and esp. before going to sleep.