It is easy to start cycling training and worry only about your physique, training routine, and diet before the big challenges. Many people think that mental preparation is only used for the great elite athletes and that they have nothing in common with you.
After more than nine years of cycling, Woman Who Cycle blog author Nicola has participated in a few races and noticed that she always got nervous before them. “I never knew how to overcome this fear, I just accepted it and had to deal with the feeling,” says Nicola. She also thought anxiety was more of a female trait, until she heard national road cycling champion Luke Durbridge say in an interview that he was shaking at the finish line. “That made me feel less alone,” she adds.
How do you deal with nerves and insecurity? If you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s time to start. According to Psychologist Danyê Lorusso, responsible for pre, during and post-game monitoring of several American soccer athletes in Curitiba, anxiety is something normal.
“It is part of the constitution of the subject. It [anxiety] comes from everything that we have no control over, no answer, no knowledge, no certainty, or high expectations. Danyê says. “Anxiety generates anguish, which is fed by fear and insecurity. This is part of being human, not least because there is no way to have control and an answer for everything.”
According to her, there are techniques that minimize the effects of anxiety on the body and are quite easy to use. Check out some of them below.
The Focused Attention/Full Attention Technique
This technique consists of focusing on the here and now. As we have seen, anxiety is a result of everything you can’t control, such as what your performance on the test will be and whether you will meet your expectations and the expectations of the audience. This causes you to transport yourself to a future time, thinking about what will happen next and worrying in advance.
According to the psychologist, the way out is to live one moment at a time. Try to focus on your moment, waiting for things to happen in order to deal with them one by one.
Try to take your mind off the future and focus on the now. Are your hands sweating? Wipe them off. Can’t think straight? Take a few breaths to oxygenate your brain. Speaking of which, breathing is our next topic, since it is an important thing to ease your mind.
Breathing technique 4x4x4
Some breathing techniques are widely used to keep you relaxed and relieve tension and stress. One of them is the 4x4x4 breathing technique.
This technique consists of breathing in slowly for four seconds, keeping your lungs full for another 4s, breathing out in 4s, and keeping your lungs empty for another 4s.
Ideally, you should apply this technique 5 to 7 minutes before a test or situation in which you know you may get tense. This will help you get into the “here and now,” keeping you focused on your body and what it is transmitting to you.
This technique is also very closely linked to yoga, even assisting with meditation time.
Prepare yourself before
We have already seen that anxiety is directly linked to insecurity. To reduce this feeling a great way out is to prepare your body for the races you want to participate in. Creating a training routine and having an adequate diet will make you more self-assured.
In addition, you can do some research about the race, the places you will pass through, and even walk around a few times before the competition. Knowing what the course and obstacles are will also reassure you and help you prepare before the competition.
Talk about it
Externalizing this feeling can also help you feel more secure. Have you ever noticed that when you talk to someone about your fears and worries, it feels like a weight is lifted off your back? You can physically feel this release of tension.
You can talk to your wife, husband, friend, or any other person close to you who can reassure you by saying something like “you can do it.
You can also choose to talk to a psychologist. It is important to have a professional to take care of your emotions – he/she will help you to balance your personal and professional life, acting almost like a coach. In addition, the professional will help you find the best in yourself and undoubtedly improve your performance.
Good planning goes well
The night before, visualize how your day will go and what you will need to bring or do. Planning can put your mind at ease, after all it’s better to get everything organized beforehand than to run out late looking for your cycling clothes in the closet and your favorite socks that seem to be missing.
Prepare your carbohydrate gels, your gear, your hydration kit, your bike, your routine for the day, and any other aspects that need planning. Mentally rehearse these steps before you fall asleep and get peace of mind to focus on the competition and your performance.
Be your own fan club
When you are preparing for a competition and going through painful stages of training it is normal to be a bit harsh and critical of yourself. Some studies show the benefits of talking to yourself while pedaling, phrases like “go for it”, “you can do it” and “you can do this” will really get you going and push your limits. If you can’t think as fast as you spin your tires, you can develop a mantra to chant or run through your head while letting go of bad thoughts.
What about you, how are you affected by anxiety before the competition? Do you have any techniques that help you relax and keep your mind focused?