Are you one of the 30,000 lucky cyclists who recently got a place in the Ride London 100? If so your training for the event has likely already started or perhaps you are about to start a programme of training to get ready for the 100 mile ride. Or maybe you are an experienced cyclist competing in a number of races over the coming months?
One question any cyclist should be asking themselves is “as well as my physical training, how much mental training am I doing?” and here we will see why mental preparation and exercises should be part of any cyclists programme of training, whether event specific or general training or their race preparation.
People may think that mental training and sport psychology is only in the realm of professional cyclists but in reality anyone who cycles for exercise, does long rides, or competes at any level would benefit from being able to optimise their mindset.
The power the mind can have over our performance, for better or worse, cannot be overestimated. Excluding injury or overtraining, our mindset when starting a workout, event or race will be the biggest contributor to inconsistent performance.
The goals of a mental training programme would differ between individuals depending on what they want to achieve, what barriers are stopping them from achieving, what their perceived ‘weaknesses’ are etc.
For example, a relatively new cyclist who is participating in the Ride London 100 for the first time may want to work on: on-bike mental toughness training to help them through what might be a tough preparation period over the coming months and to also help them on the day itself. Guided imagery/ visualisation exercises might also be of great benefit to help them with motivation during the training period.
An experienced endurance cyclist performing at a high level may want to work on on-bike mental toughness tools to manage pain or maintain focus, learn self-hypnosis to eliminate any emotional blocks from everyday life which may affect peak performance or learn exercises to manage pre-event nerves or anxiety to ensure they start the event in the optimal mental state.
Sports hypnosis is a widely used tool to make positive changes in how we think, feel and behave and through its use, either via self-hypnosis or one-to-one hypnotherapy, significant shifts can be made in how we perform both physically and mentally.