One of my subscribers on Youtube suggested to make a blog post about fighting the voice in your head. I understand where that person is coming from but I wanted to change the title to something a little more accurate. When you get that inevitable voice in your head that tells you to quit because you are going too hard you don’t need to fight it but simply ignore it. Don’t let the devil on your shoulder tempt you into cruising home to chill on the sofa.
If you want to improve your fitness on the bike it’s going to hurt. You can’t change the fact that it’s going to hurt but you can change the way you deal with it. On rare occasions you will feel almost god-like in that you are riding at 350 watts and it’s hardly hurting after 10 minutes, or rather it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it usually does. This is alpha state but it doesn’t happen often. Most days it’s going to be a world of pain but you just can’t listen to that voice telling you stop.
How do you ignore that voice in your head? How do you keep going when it gets tough? Here are 2 things that are essential for me if I am going to push myself to the max and make some serious fitness gains.
Set a compelling goal
A compelling goal is a vision that pulls you toward achieving it. If you can believe it happening in your mind then you can achieve it in reality. Walt Disney said that if you can dream it you can do it. Always remember to wake up from your dream and take the daily action that will turn it into reality.
A compelling goal could be racing a 100 miles in under 4 hours. It could be keeping up at the club ride. It could be proving your naysayers wrong (this is powerful shit). Hell it could even be winning the Tour de France. Whatever it is make sure that it lights you up every time you think about it.
Another strategy is to make public what you want to accomplish. This will put more pressure on you to keep going when you think about throwing in the towel. When I told my audience that I was going to complete my 500 km ride I just thought about it when things got hard and it got me through. That’s a different kind of pain but I just ignored it and kept at it.
Shift the focus
What you focus on is what you feel. Focusing on the pain when it gets hard is going to make it feel harder. Focusing on your micro goal for the day is going to help you to deal with the pain. I always feel less pain when I focus on what I want rather than on what sucks in that moment.
Sometimes the small goal for the day is not enough. In that case bring your focus back to the bigger picture, the grand goal that you are working towards every day. This change in perspective can be an even more empowering focus.
How do you know when you are pushing yourself too hard though? Your body will let you know. Don’t use stimulants or painkillers though as these will numb the signals that your body is trying to send you saying that it is fatigued and heading toward injury. When you are drug free there comes a point where you can’t shift focus anymore so if it comes to that then cruise home and enjoy your sofa. You’ve earned it.