Thursday Thoughts

Look Around
A very busy week drops on your lap. You take on too much work -it swamps your brain, your life, it causes the smallest of things (like getting lunch) to become a massive stress. You can’t walk away no matter how much you want it.
You don’t eat and your training suffers. Your mood suffers. Your relationships suffer. Everything suffers. The only thing that doesn’t suffer is the feeling like you’re failing to keep on top of it all – that keeps getting better and better. In a manner of speaking.
Taking the time to push away. Look at things objectively and think “are these important” that is what we need to do in these situations – too look on with a callous mind and work on what is important first – everything else can slide away. Knowing how to do this is difficult, impossible for some.
I use myself as an example, I’m no better at dealing with it than anyone. Looking at myself and helping others learn from you is what coaching is about. Making the mistakes, trying the sessions that looked good on paper but didn’t hit the target. Sometimes we have to try to hard, to put too much on, to fall over from it in order to get back up again. Sometimes I take on too many people, ideas, promises and it breaks me. But I work at it, and force myself to deal with it logically. To break each stress into a “session” and address it. The pre- packed clothes for the after work session. The food in baggies to grab for breakfast when I land at my desk after a ride. The diary slots on my phone to tell me when to do things for others.
To build a resilient mind you also have to stress the mind, the same as a resilient body. That can be through stress itself, but it is not something that can last for extended periods of time without something going wrong. The trick is to realise it, to take that stress and put it down into the wheels and pedal it out. Push hard, use it, abuse it so you can get rid of it.
What I’m getting at is this – stress can be productive, just learn to manage it, use it to your benefit.

It’s Time

Cross season is back. It’s time to get some updates out. Bring on the mud.

Otherwise – we’re still full with current clients.

If any openings appear – I’ll post them here.

First of the Summer Wise

 The next few months are key to a successful season. Get the basics sorted first.

1) Check your race bike over –  if you’ve been training on your winter XC bike, don’t expect your summer XC/CX bike to be in perfect order.Take it down, run through the gears and brakes, check it all works. If you’re not competent enough fixing it – take it to your local bike shop and get it sorted.

2) Check your shoes – the winter is terrible on kit and cleats. Check your old winter cleats are in working order and if in doubt, swap them out. Its only a few quid and it will save you a world of pain if you pull out of your pedals in a race.

3) New bottles – your ten year old fateful water bottle may not be your best friend. dragged through a winter of mud and slurry it probably is covered in some nasty things. Get some baby bottle disinfectant and get it clean. This goes for all bottles, there is no point in getting a GI infection at this time of year.

As ever the months of March and April are about base. Focus on what you need to be doing – riding your bike, getting stronger off the bike. Take it all, get prepared now and the next few months will be a lot easier on you.

Commitment

Sean

You have to want something to make it happen. You have to work. You have to give everything to achieve even the smallest thing. Sometimes this means failure. Sickness. Strife.

To some this comes as a door blocking any attempt to get better, to progress past the point they know they should be at, but with no knowledge or drive to do it.

For others it is a challenge, a door that needs to be picked to show us what lies behind with the treats of victory and progress behind it.

Getting past that door takes commitment. Time on wheels. Time out in the dark, the rain, the cold. It gives you the edge. Puts you across the line first. With everyone else looking like they are still behind the door.

What did you commit to last in your training?

Back on Track

Six years away from track riding and I thought I’d lost the bug. But spending a week back and forth from the track in Manchester with an athlete racing the worlds has taught me one thing. I still like to turn left, I love watching it, the noise, the smell, the atmosphere. The bug is back…seeing her get 3 medals may have helped ;) One or two things stayed with me. The most basic of which was posted outside the USA pit area:

IMAG1536The second, it is ok to suck. Sometimes we do. We are the meaning of suck, at life, at reality, at everything we do. But others can help us not suck. Those people support us, drag us kicking and screaming from a pit of suck onto the beaches of success.

I have only resurfaced from sleep after 4 hour nights all week. Staying up to cook food, to wake up to prepare bottles and coffee, to convince and persuade an elite athlete that they are elite…it takes a lot from me. But damn, it feels good when they perform. Results for a coach are proof that the pudding not only tastes good, but stays down.

Time to cook some more.

Time to suck less.

End of Season Reviews

Some of our athletes are finished for the year. Taking a break, looking back, knowing that you did what you could. All of these are important skills that each athlete needs to learn.

Congratulations to Tim at the London Triathlon at the weekend – goal achieved despite a season of training skewed by external pressures.

Similarly well done to Sean, performing at Bontranger 24/12 despite a massive reduction in training time and increase in life stress. One place off the podium in a harder field than last year. Some gains are not measurable by position.

Autumn is about to fall. The weather has broken and many athletes are just awaking. Keeping motivated in the lead into fall races is always hard, hours are less, weather more unpredictable, life catches up after the summer break.

Focus. Simplicity. Targets.

All of these things will allow them to continue.

Time Away

We’ve been quite quiet of late.

Athletes are training and racing. Coach is trying to do the same.

Time for words has decreased. Time for sunlight is here.

Updates:

Commiserations to Phil at the Highland Trail race – retiring due to a mechanical is never fun.

Congratulations to Sarah for victory at the Skerries Triathlon – injuries are never as bad as they appear.

Continuations to all athletes, racing, training, suffering the fitness that has emerge – enjoy the summer. Winter is coming.

DSC00527

Weekend Results

Stunning week for Stoic Focus athletes:

  • 2nd place Vet and 5th over all at the European 12 Hour MTB Championships for Phil
  • 1st place at Round 3 of the Irish XC NPS for Claire

Summer is coming and people are going fast. Keep them coming.

Request for 100km running race advice.

A referred email from clients. Advice about the psychology that is needed to cover 100km by foot. No talk of pace, no talk of time, just thought.

It made me think, so I share.

Hi there,

BIG question there. “What do you need mentally to get through an ultra?”

For me, from both an ultra running, triathlon and cycling background it comes down to one thing: You need to want it. More than anything.

If at any point you feel that you don’t belong at the race – you’re in trouble. You can not let that even cross your mind.

Training is training – racing is racing. You train to race, not the other way around. Simulate the racing in your training – be focused on the fact that it’s not a long run today and a long run tomorrow.

It’s a run today, a run tomorrow.

It’s not long compared to 100km. So do it, move on, then come race day it will be easier. Incremental focus. Focus on the task, not the enormity of it.

During racing itself incremental focus is more important than anything. Breaking a race down is the way to deal with it. Don’t think of a 100km race, think of an easy paced 10km run. Then think about another easy paced 10km run. Repeat until you happen to cover 100k. Focus on the total of the event and it will break you.

However, fail to understand or appreciate that totality of the event and the demands that it will place on you physically at your peril. It may break you. But so may stepping off the kerb.

Be aware, not wary. Knowledgeable, not paranoid. You are capable of making the decisions, not the race itself.

Mostly. Enjoy it. 100km is not that far.

Greg 

Weekend Results

Another weekend of mountain bike racing and the girls are smashing it.

1st place for Claire Breslin at the first round of the Irish XC National Points series in Cong county Mayo, and another 1st place for another athlete at the Southern XC series. The ladies are doing me proud.

More results as they come in, but the summer looks like a good one.