What to focus on when it gets tough?

Curious to hear what other people do to distract themselves from repetitive “I want to quit” inner talk?

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Great question, thank you and welcome, James!

I’m looking forward to hearing what others say, but also check out my blog for info on my methodology: https://coachpav.com/cycling-mentality/how-your-mentality-affects-your-cycling-performance/

Happy to have a chat about this with you!

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I think this is a great question. Something I can say I am poor at too.

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This is awesome! Thanks Pav!

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Oh dear, here my process. I think about the food I will have after the ride. You know, the delicious dessert, or that great fattoush salad. I would work out the setting on the table, which silver ware, what glasses. Then I work out what recipe I will use to cook all of that, what tools to use, which pots I’d need. Beeing there I’d come up with a shopping list, mentally going throu the pantry, what is still there, and what needs to get bought. Then of course I go shopping, mentally. You see I have a photographic memory, so I can flip throu the pages of a cook book, and memorize what is where in the grocery store. That process can keep me busy for hours, mainly because somewhere along the line, you forget something and start over.

The downside is … sometimes I forget where I am going and end up in places I did not want to go.

Suppose the general idea is that you go mentally throu a longer process of you doing something. Especially something that motivates you (“I can eat this tiramisu after this ordeal”).

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Nice one!! Thank you :slight_smile:

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I wish I could think about food, but gosh, by the “I want to quit” point, I am pretty much ofer shoving food into my mouth to fuel my race. Soooo, I divide and conquer. I might look forward to the start of a climb (I know; most of you will say the reverse), a certain aid station where I’ll see my family, etc. I might also divide the race into mini workouts: I’ll hold 170 watts for the next 20 minutes, and then I’ll reward myself with a 10-second breather.

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There’s some really good points in here! The family one is a real strong motivator :slight_smile:

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Something I’ve done for years is counting! I’ll count to a 100 to different rhythms, might be to my peddle stroke or something else.

I’ll often set a little carrot for say completing 10 reps of 100: could be a gel or some other food, I’ve even used the incentive of looking down to my head unit to see how long left of a long climb.

Another thing I did with success on a recent long trip was to listen to comedy playlists from Spotify. I was riding along on my own on long (20-30k) climbs in the Alps and Dolomites laughing out loud to myself. Smiling and laughter is very positive medicine both psychologically and physically

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I have found this really tough as I am sure Pav will testify. Meditation was a big breakthrough for me. Finding a purpose was another one that really helps when things get shit. Breaking things down into small chunks and dedicating them to someone who is important to you. And finally, remember that the suck doesn’t typically last very long - most people ride through it.

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There is some great feedback here! I look forward to trying some of this out :slight_smile:

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Thanks everyone!! I really appreciate the advice :+1:

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It doesn’t always work, but I focus on breathing, and I remind myself that each pedal stroke is one more closer to the finish. Additionally, I put more into making sure I’m staying on top of fluids, electrolytes and nutrition. I find if I cramp or bonk, my mental state never recovers.

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This is a really good point. I focus on my breath or motion of pedalling. It helps me focus and get in the zone.

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Nice one, Karanbir, thanks for sharing!!

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This is awesome - thank you!!

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Echo everyone’s thanks here - this is great :slight_smile:

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On the road or the trail, I do the classic devide an conquer: I find a thing to focus like a lamp post or a tree and than I just concentrate on going to there and then find the next one. Or I look at the computer and if it says 97.2km I tell myself “I will not look at it before 100”.
On Zwift/Intervals music does help a lot. For example before a FTP test I make a playlist for the 20min and think about how I will feel at a certain point and what will help me at that time.

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Love the idea of the 20 min playlist for a 20 min FTP test. Thank you!

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