23 Dec Engage Your Mind, and Your Legs Will Follow.
By: Zach Fout, USAC Level 2 Cycling Coach, Cycology Coaching Solutions, LLC
How many times have you rolled up to the start line and told the person next to you, “I haven’t trained a lot, or I don’t feel like I’m riding well,” not realizing that you’re already setting yourself up for failure. When you tell your fellow racer that you’re not prepared for this or you’re quietly speaking to yourself and sending a negative message to your body…..”I have already lost, don’t bother trying.” You should go ahead and kindly excuse yourself and leave the start line. Your competition should shake your hand and say thank you.
I tell my athletes all the time, “Engage your mind, and your legs will follow!” It’s not just a cute slogan or something that should be taken lightly. Many things can go wrong in a race: Legs are burning, can’t breath, crash, flat tire….and many more. If you’re pushing yourself to the limit, you’re going to want to quit a couple of times each race. But, if your mind disengages during the race and gets caught up with what’s out of your control, then the race is lost. Leave the course and DNF…….OR you can stay focused, and keep the mind engaged on the task at hand…..the legs will follow. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, and it does take a lot of practice to pick yourself up and keep going. I’ve been there and struggled the same as many of you.
What I have found to be the most successful with my athletes and myself is finding a mantra (a word or sound repeated to aid in concentration (dictionary.com) that you truly believe in then repeat it. Just a few words can and will make the difference in finishing the race as strong as possible, or rolling off to the side line and watching your competition finish in front of you. Practicing your mantra is no different than training your legs. It takes daily practice for it to become strong.
Remember, the next time you’re training and pushing your body to the limit, don’t forget to train the mind. If you keep the mind engaged, the legs will follow. If you have any questions or need help with your mantra, give me a call.