Three Ways to Maintain Mental Focus on the Indoor Bike
While riding a bike outdoors, hyper-vigilance is uber-important. Bumps in the road, traffic signs, debris . . . they all command your attention. Furthermore, the perils of misjudging a turn or descent are worth keeping a keen eye on the road.
Indoors, eh, not so much. Maintaining focus during your workout is paramount to peak performance. Just because you’re turning the pedals, doesn’t mean you’re working out. Try these three strategies for getting the most out of your Echelon ride.
Upon losing his place on the podium (top three) at a major race, cycling legend Alberto Contador commented: “I'm not so much disappointed in losing the podium as I am on losing the win overall. But when you win you don't learn much and when you lose you learn a lot more, and that's going to help me for next year.”
When was the last time you won something, came home and asked, “How can I improve?”
When the instructor asks for all-out intervals, be willing to go ALL OUT. On a long climb, don’t wait until the last minute to go hard, be willing to F.A.I.L. -- First Attempt In Learning. Your body will learn from the experience and be better prepared for success the next time.
Okay, okay. It’s indoor cycling, of course, there isn’t REALLY a road. However, studies have shown that visualization enhances performance. Guided imagery, visualization, mental rehearsal or other such techniques can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your training. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, American Mara Abbott, the race leader, was overtaken by three riders in the final 300 meters (just under 10 football fields of the 84-mile race. [video below\ In a beautifully written article published by the Wall St. Journal, she laments:
“Before the race, people told me I was ‘gold-medal capable.’ I guided such platitudes in one ear and out the other. I never truly absorbed my potential, that it could be me. I’ve actually raced at this level for years, but my self-concept apparently had a junk mail filter on “best in the world.” The morning of the race, I was still bleating at Dean: ‘Is this actually possible?’ and then ignoring him every time he said yes. I never believed it until the split second between when I saw the 300 meters-to-go banner and when I looked under my arm to see the winning sprint fly past.”
See yourself as the winner before it happens. The women's Olympic Road race in 2016 provides a great example of believing in yourself.
Starting a new regimen is exciting. But it doesn’t nullify existing habits. Do you zone out after thirty seconds on endurance tracks? Do you forget to add resistance during a sprint? Habits are actions done subconsciously. Willingness to push out of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges allows new habits to form.
According to habit-forming expert Nir Eyal, “When users start to automatically cue their next behavior, the new habit becomes part of their everyday routine.” Echelon’s instructors will be there to help, but your ability to know what your body needs next is essential.
On his way to winning the 2012 Tour de France, Sir Bradley Wiggins recalls the moment he saw his main competitor fall off the lead (ensuring his victory) and he allowed his mind to wonder:
"I heard on the radio that we were alone, just the two of us. I just lost concentration and started thinking a lot of things. In that moment, all the fight went out of the window, everything to do with performance."
Stay in the moment and allow your body to find its peak performance.
How do you stay focused on your Echelon bike? Share your tips in the comments section below.