General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Mental Toughness Rss Feed  
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2005-10-20 8:45 AM

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Subject: Mental Toughness
Its been just under a month of tri training using my low-carb program. Progress and is slow but steadily improving. Right now I'm finding the hardest thing is keeping mentally focused. After about 10 minutes on the trainer, I start feeling the need to get off not from fatigue but from boredom. Training for long distance is sooooo monotonous.

Is there anything u guys do to stay in the game mentally during ur long run/bike/swim sessions?

(P.S. are mp3 players allowed to be used in tri's?)



2005-10-20 8:52 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
I HATE the trainer. Won't use them. Try a spin class instead.

Oddly, treadmills don't bother me.

walkmans, iPods, mp3 players are NOT allowed.

Bill
2005-10-20 8:59 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
Why are you tri training on a low carb diet? I just read "Eating for Endurance" by Ellen Coleman and she says at least 60% of the daily intake should be from carbs. I'm guessing you're doing it to lose weight, but weight loss is a caloric intake vs. caloric expenditure process. Beef up the carbs and figure out how many calories you're burning each day (the book gives an easy example of how). I think you'll find yourself crapping out pretty soon on a low carb diet. As for the mental toughness thing- progress is its own drug. The more I do this and the faster I get (and I need to get alot faster), the more I enjoy it. Transforming your body makes you feel invincible. Hang in there. I read while on the indoor bike trainer. Tom Clancy. The time flies. It's the swimming I get bored with. Tough to read while doing laps.
2005-10-20 9:01 AM
in reply to: #268874

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
poolejr - 2005-10-20 8:59 AM

It's the swimming I get bored with. Tough to read while doing laps.


Get some of those gallon sized zip-lock bags...

Bill
2005-10-20 9:06 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Expert
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Longview, TX
Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
You find that as you go longer, it's not the physical aspect that is tough, it truly is the mental stuff. Any ultra distance person will tell you that. As I've been trying to expand my training into longer distance, I've been doing some reading on ultracycling and ultrarunning websites and they discuss this issue so you might luck into those. I never use music while I workout because I know it won't be allowed in races, however, if I do get stuck riding indoors, I will watch the TV...I can't just sit there and stare at the wall, at least riding outdoors I have changing scenery to look at. For me, I try to break the whole into parts. Thinking about riding the trainer for 8 hours can seem undoable at the start, so I try to break it down into hours or movies or TV shows. I try to give myself little rewards after each interval or section to help keep me motivated such as a 5 minute break or a yummy snack. Also, when riding long distances where I have to ride laps or loops of 10-20 miles I try to think of completing laps rather than completing miles. 10 laps, sounds much more achievable to me than 100 miles. Also, I try to think about how far I've come, not how far I have to go. It's funny to think about this now, because I'm constantly having little pep talks with myself during my long workouts and races, always making "deals" with myself.
2005-10-20 9:10 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Giver
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
I struggle with this too. I can't ride trainers and I can't run on treadmills......... It's too easy to just get off. Ride and run outside as much as you can. Spinning is great if you have to ride inside, though. Just having other people around, doing the same thing you are, makes a difference.

Some people throw in a DVD while riding the trainer. Spinervals DVDs are supposed to be great. TIVO OLN's tri coverage and watch races, or just a good movie.

And, as someone else said, low carb and endurance training don't mix. It's like drinking and driving.

LCT - 2005-10-20 8:45 AMIts been just under a month of tri training using my low-carb program. Progress and is slow but steadily improving. Right now I'm finding the hardest thing is keeping mentally focused. After about 10 minutes on the trainer, I start feeling the need to get off not from fatigue but from boredom. Training for long distance is sooooo monotonous.Is there anything u guys do to stay in the game mentally during ur long run/bike/swim sessions?(P.S. are mp3 players allowed to be used in tri's?)


2005-10-20 9:15 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness

During the winter I would make my trainer rides interval training. Figure how long you are going to ride then give yourself some drills to do.

  • 5 min warm up
  • 10 x :30  high cadence
  • 4 x 1:00 one leg drills
  • 10 x 1:00 hard gear (53/12), :30 easy pedaling
  • 10 x :30 standing :30 sitting
  • etc

I found that the time went by much faster when I broke up the training.

Otherwise I would watch during football games and ride easy during the huddle then hard during the play. I would go high cadence during the kickoffs and either one leg drills or stand during the commercials. I would just make a game out of the training.

Tom

2005-10-20 9:27 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
grrr, I realized this morning that it is in fact my mind that is the weakest link in my training (and job performace, and relationship issues, etc etc...) I always feel like my mind is in control of itself and that I can't do anything about it. Today I did 10 sun salutes (yoga) before swim class, and did some quiet sitting (not quite meditation) and breathing. When I got into teh water, I just kept telling myself, "I am so lucky to be here right now." Then it evolved into, "Every single time I put my arm back into the water is like an affirnmation that I am stronger than I was before." and "Every set is a fresh start."

I felt so good and relaxed, and when I found myslef getting sloppy or lazy or bored, I just tried to think about something like the above. My favorite was, "OK, so Kathryn is still in bed, and I could be there getting more sleep and cuddling, but instead I am here making an effort to be a faster swimmer and healthier perosn." When I finished that set, my coach said I wasn't working hard today becasue I was Smilling when I came out of the water!

SO today, anyway, was a good mind day. It is just so hard to have good mind days every day.
2005-10-20 10:28 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Crystal Lake, IL
Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
Over the summer I saw a special on one of those shows like 20/20 (I'm sure someone else can tell us which one it was) that profiled the story of Sarah Reinertsen. If you don't know, she's an above the knee amputee who is a triathlete. At the time of the story she had tried Kona last year and was pulled for not finishing the bike portion in time. I can still vividly see in my mind her expression, and hear the total disdain in her voice when she said, "Sometimes I see people with two legs and I think, pffft, what a waste." It was that comment that started me down this road I'm on now training for my first triathlon next spring and it's that comment that pops into my head every time I think of quitting or get bored while training. I think, "I'm bored? That's my problem? Am I kidding? I'm going to complain that I'm bored while I'm doing something that I love and that most people will never get the chance to do in their lives?" Sarah finished Kona this year, and someday maybe I will too. We all have dreams and it never gets boring when you're chasing a dream. It can be hard, fun, painful, rewarding, agonizing and priceless, but never boring for me. Hope this helps.
2005-10-20 10:32 AM
in reply to: #268877

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness

SMUJD - 2005-10-20 9:01 AM
poolejr - 2005-10-20 8:59 AM It's the swimming I get bored with. Tough to read while doing laps.
Get some of those gallon sized zip-lock bags... Bill

Tried that, I found that goggles work much better......hard to breathe through the bag

Oh, you meant for the book

Seriously though, I am making my winter reading material all about sports psychology

I started on this yesterday (pardon the weird formatting)

The sport psych handbook / Shane Murphy, editor

Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, c2005



Edited by ride_like_u_stole_it 2005-10-20 10:37 AM
2005-10-20 10:35 AM
in reply to: #268894

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Giver
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
possum - 2005-10-20 9:27 AM  "I am so lucky to be here right now." .


Excellent. Wow, possum, that's great. Mind if I use it? If it helped you win out against the evils of warm beds and snuggling, it's got to work for me beat the succubus that is the couch.


2005-10-20 10:39 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Master
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness

I've got some large print books from the library. They're easy to read on the treadmill although I have yet to try it on the trainer.

But I never listen to music because I like hearing my breaths and being in tune with my body.



Edited by marina 2005-10-20 10:40 AM
2005-10-20 1:06 PM
in reply to: #268866

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Master
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
Wait a minute...low carb diet and you expect to make gains in training? Your body needs carbs, along with protein and fat, in order to recover and rebuild. You are harming your body - putting extra stress on your kidneys by eating high amounts of protein & fat.
2005-10-20 1:43 PM
in reply to: #269096

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
Okay, I think I need to clarify what I meant by 'low carb'. In reality my training program is a 'low refined carbs' diet. Basically, what I'm doing is not eating bread, pasta, rice, sweets, etc. My meals are basically lean meat and green vegetables. The only time I'll have fruit is immediately after my workouts.

I've been following my program for just under a month now. I've lost 6 pounds so far and haven't really felt any loss in endurance or strength (then again, I'm not in very good shape to begin with so if I've lost some strength I wouldn't know!). My goal is to lose 40 pounds by September and complete an Olympic tri following using this program.

Yeah, so by no means am I following Atkins or Protein Power. Hopefully, it'll all work out!

2005-10-20 1:48 PM
in reply to: #268866

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Master
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
It is easier for me to stay focused because I have raced before and that is my motivation, I want to improve. You may want to try challenging someone on that forum. Use that as your motivation. Then you'll spend some time thinking about not losing and hopefully wanting to do more.
2005-10-20 1:54 PM
in reply to: #268866

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
In college before my events I would put the walkman and jam out. It seemed that at a certain volume my brain would wash out everything else and I could go to a place that would let me envision my event. I could play the picture in my head of every aspect of my event. While listening to the music I would also do my pre-event stretching, loosening up, etc.....

Now that I'm an old and my main event is against father time, I perform the same ritual. Instead of INXS and U2, its now U2 or Toby Kieth.

Then when its game time I've already done half the race in my head, If its the bike, Iknow how I am going to approach every turn or hill, I just do my best to pre-focus during warmup and the music alows me to not hear anything that will distract me.




2005-10-20 11:52 PM
in reply to: #269136

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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
Man, you have basically cut out the crux of my diet! I live on all the things you have eliminated. I don't know how you keep your energy! I dropped 20lbs in 3 months from training when I started, with zero diet change. I still drink 2 or 3 cans of Pepsi a day and eat a big dessert after both lunch and dinner. I make sure I burn it off in training!
2005-10-21 12:04 AM
in reply to: #268894

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness

possum - 2005-10-20 9:27 AM grrr,  I could be there... cuddling, but instead I am here making an effort to be a faster swimmer and healthier perosn."

You are tougher than me Possum.  "faster and healthier" doesn't stand a chance against cuddling in my world

I don't have a trainer but I use the spin cycles at the Y...I don't have much problem staying focused.  I either crank up the tunes or bring reading.  If I don't need to study/read I plan interval workouts, etc.

The treadmill...however...is a different beast.  After a mile I feel grouchy, two makes me whine and three just makes me want to be done.  My record is 10 miles, I only did it a couple of times and I'm not sure how.  I think it becomes possible when old man winter makes the endorphin junkie in me scream in desperation for a fix.

Actually I take that back.  I did a treadmill half mary once, just to prove to myself that I could.  Which makes me a complete moron.



Edited by CindyK 2005-10-21 12:09 AM
2005-10-21 9:31 AM
in reply to: #268866

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Mental Toughness

I hate the trainer/treadmill.  I'd rather stock up on cold weather gear and just do it outside.  As far as boring, it doesn't have to be - set up a training session as someone else said (which you want to do if you're riding the trainer anyway)

As far as diet, if you aren't eating ANY high carb foods then you aren't going to have enough energy to really improve on the workouts.  You should stay away from processed carbs, yeah, but whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc. are definitely an important part of the endurance athlete's diet.  If you cut carbs as drastically as you are doing, I don't think you're going to see much performance gain.

Also, in that funky way your body has of conserving energy - you might find that your weight loss goals do not materialize because your diet is too low in calories.

And, as already stated, mp3 players are NOT allowed at races, so you should get used to training without them.  At least part of the time.

2005-10-21 10:45 AM
in reply to: #269136

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Crystal Lake, IL
Subject: RE: Mental Toughness
Anyone who says you can't do this training on a low carb diet has never met a Celiac. I'm not saying it wouldn't be easier if I could eat anything I want, but it can be done. But in general I think everyone is right when they say it's ok to allow yourself more carbs so you have more energy. If you don't know what a Celiac is let me put it this way - we make people on the Atkins diet look like carbo-loaders except for us its a medical condition, not a choice.
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