Chapter 7: Think better, perform better: Here are some practical techniques in sports psychology that can be used to make real gains in performance. Try asking yourself a couple of questions: What proportion of your performance do you think is due to your mind? What proportion of the training time do you commit to training your mind? My guess is that there will be a discrepancy between the two answers…
Chapter 6: Longer term (phased) training plans: Once you get into your sport more and more you may start to think about goals that are further in the future. For example you may have done some competitions this year and think it would be good to see whether you can do better next year. To meet these longer term goals it is a good idea to make a longer term plan for success.
Undoubtedly if you are carrying extra weight, then losing some weight will reduce the amount of work you have to do, especially when running up those mountains! However, I have all too often seen runners lose too much weight and begin the slow decline towards multiple injuries, fatigue and declining performance. Being a healthy weight will help you be a better runner, being too thin can, however, be just as damaging to both your overall health and your performance as carrying too much weight.
Chapter 5 - Weight, diet and nutrition: The subject of this chapter involves three related concepts that are important to consider if you want to take part in competitive sport. Whilst you won’t achieve sporting success as a direct consequence of your weight, diet and nutrition, it is certainly true that not eating properly will reduce or even negate your chances of success.
You now have a goal and a detailed plan to meet your goal. You can access the earlier chapters of the ebook here if you want to review them. In my experience it is useful for many reasons to use some measures to keep track of progress, fatigue and various other parameters. Don’t be scared if you’re not very technically minded, as it's very easy and there are lots of free tools out there that you can use.
Chapter 3: The detailed plan: In this chapter we will briefly think about the psychological aspects of sport that can help you meet your goals. Then we will develop a day by day plan to reach your goal.
Chapter 2: How do I make my goal real? After Chapter 2 you will have: your goal (what you want to achieve at a certain time); a list o things you need to achieve your goal; what you can do in comparison to each of those needs; one physical need that is a priority; and one psychological need that is a priority.
If you don’t have these things you may want to go back to review Chapter 1 and put these in place, alternatively you can go on with this Chapter but it is important to do each step in turn to get a really solid plan.
The basic principles of training for sport are simple and needn’t be complicated. Some of the theories are complicated but it isn’t necessary to understand these to achieve amazing things. What I want to do is produce a simple guide to training and competing that is accessible yet provides the basic requirements for an athlete at any level.
Working with long distance cyclists I am often amazed at how the human body can be trained to cycle further and further. I thought it would be useful to help others learn from my experience by writing a blog article with some guidance on how to develop your ability to cycle longer distances.
So, how can I cycle further without getting tired? There are four main things that will help:
Understanding how equipment works is both interesting and useful so I thought I would write an article explaining how bicycle power meters work and how they can be used, including some practical ideas about how to train with power if you don’t own a power meter.
I was first introduced to the concept of hypnotherapy in sport by John. John had used hypnosis with several clients to good effect, included Karen Darke (pictured above). John and I used the technique to enable me to become more focussed and positive when racing. I used the skills we had practised in hypnosis to good effect during the Dentdale Run in 2012 going on to win the ladies race, something which I never thought possible. It was this positive effect of hypnosis that inspired me to go on and become a qualified hypnotherapist myself in 2013. So yes, hypnosis can help you have a more positive mindset and achieve performance goals.
I’m sitting in the house after 10 days off from running due to a horrible cold. This is rare for me, normally I will train through anything, hating to miss any days. So was I right to take those ten days off? A few key factors led me to take time off: 1) I felt faint after mild exertion; 2) I had a hacking cough; 3) I was feverish; 4) it began as a mild sore throat, which I trained through and got steadily worse over three days. So on the Saturday when I was not sure whether or not to train I e-mailed my coach explained all the above and we agreed rest was best on this occasion.
I was first converted to training and racing with a heartrate monitor after pacing some key races badly. I had trained hard for these races and wanted to do well, but it became clear to me that I was not good at pacing. Since starting to use a heartrate monitor I have consistently used this to help me both train and race with some success.
There are many people who run mountain races who never win or get a podium finish. In fact, most people are in this situation and when I first started mountain racing, I never expected to win at all. The fact that I am sometimes lucky enough to stand on the podium is a lovely bonus but certainly not the reason that I am a mountain runner, or that I take part in races.
I’ve run a few mountain races in my time, some I seem to have paced really well, finishing strong, others I’ve barely been able to run through the finish line. My typical pattern is to run so hard up the climb that I’m too tired to descend well leading to a fall or a disheartening number of people overtaking me on the descent.
One question I often get asked is ‘how do I use my heart rate monitor?’ or ‘what are heart rate training zones?’ or ‘how do I set and use heart rate training zones?’. With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to write an article on what a heart rate monitor is used for, what you can learn from using one and perhaps more importantly, how can a heart rate monitor benefit your exercise and training?
I’m sitting here thinking about the races I have run over the years. Some have been good and some have been bad, sometimes I’ve been on my period mostly I haven’t, by luck rather than design. So does being on my period mean that my athletic performance is going to be so impaired there’s just no point getting to the start line? Over the last few years there has been a lot more openness about this topic, so I wanted to find a definitive answer to this question.
Marquixannes is a little village about a half hour drive away from Casteil. La Pla des Oliviers is a unit housing people with a variety of learning difficulties enabling them to be purposeful members of society enjoying as much independence as possible whilst providing them with the support they need. It is part of the Val de Sournia association, established in 1981 to provide support for those with a variety of needs which mean that they are unable to do paid work.
So is cycling twice a day too much? In most cases, cycling twice a day is not too much. Many athletes train twice a day and there is no reason for cyclists to be any different. The important factors are the overall volume and intensity combined with fitness at any given time. In many cases, cycling twice a day can be very beneficial.