10 Things You Have To Hope Don’t Happen in 2014 If You Run and Ride
By Christopher Cudworth
All that positive, encouraging stuff you’re about to read for New Year’s is all well and good. Stuff like resolutions and inspirational quotes about making 2014 the best year ever. Run your best 26.2 or 13.1. Do a triathlon. Race your bike or do a Century. It would be great if all those things you want to do come true.
But honestly, many people just hope for a year where nothing serious comes along to mess up your basic workout plan.
In that sober light, let us consider a list of 10 Things You Have To Hope Don’t Happen in 2014 If You Run and Ride.
10. Gaining Weight
It’s pretty clear that most of us run and ride for one primary reason: to keep our weight under control. The challenge to weight gain is that it works like a snowball at some point. If you put on a few pounds then you have to work even harder to lose it. Don’t be discouraged though. You’re far from alone in that regard. Everyone is walking around like human snowballs after Christmas and New Years. A few good workouts and dialing back on the diet usually sheds 5-10 lbs. Once you get rolling, so to speak.
9. Getting Injured
Injuries suck. Half the time you don’t know where they come from, and the other half of the time you vehemently deny the truth about how you got injured so you don’t have to back off you’re training plan. So pay attention and be honest as hell with yourself this year. If you get injured, it’s because of one of these three things:
1. You either trained too much or didn’t rest enough. So get real.
2. You have a biomechanical flaw or muscular imbalance. That’s right, you’re not perfect.
3. Your luck ran out. Deal with it and take some ibuprofen.
8. Crashing Your Bike
Let’s put it this way: If you haven’t crashed your bike you’re either not riding hard or not enough. Because bike crashes happen sooner or later to anyone who rides. However, a bike crash can change a lot of things in a hurry, and not in a good way. To prevent crashes caused by bike mechanical failures, get your bike tuned up if you don’t know shit about your machine. Second, be sure you account for riding conditions in all seasons. Third: If you race your bike it is wise to rehearse hard riding with partners or by entering practice criteriums. You need to prepare your mind and body for fast-changing circumstances or you’ll go down in a stupid heap.
7. Using Your Shoes or Tires Too Long
You say the inside heel of your shoes is nearly touching the ground and you wonder why they don’t feel as good as they used to? That’s dumb. Trying to get those “few extra miles” out of a pair of running shoes or a set of bike tires is seldom a good idea. So stop with the rubber denial. Your shoes and wheels are the foundations for your training. Excess wear on running shoes sets you up for overuse injuries. Excess wear on tires can cause flats and even blowouts. Push them too far and you get what you deserve. Sore and slow.
6. Eating a Crappy Diet
No one ever credited a Big Mac for a PR, and nothing will slow you down on the run or ride more than eating crap food all the time. You can get away with occasional fast food binges or sweets but not if you’re shooting for peak condition or preparing for a race. Be disciplined with your diet and you’ll also have greater consistency and learn to know what your body can really take. That includes prepping for each run or ride. Get to know what your body likes and needs. A crappy diet leads to crappy performance. It’s that simple.
5. Thinking Too Much
When it comes time for a hard workout or big race, it pays to simplify your thought patterns. If you choose the “associative” brand of performance prep, it means you focus on actualities like pace, time and heartrate, power wattage or other empirical feedback. Then you gauge yourself by those measures. But remember, it’s possible to think too much about these feedback mechanisms and lose focus on speed and pace entirely.
By contrast, if you are more the emotional, dissociative type, then your goal must be to free your mind to engage at the level and type of inspiration you need to succeed. If you don’t know how your head works try singing the melody to your favorite beer commercial as you run or ride. At least that will distract you from repeating to yourself, “I’m too tired…I’m too tired…”
5. Losing Perspective
If you’re a committed runner or rider it is possible to get so caught up in your sport that you lose perspective on why you’re running and riding. It happens for a variety of reasons. If events in your life cause hardship, it is possible to immerse yourself too much in running and riding to compensate in terms of mental attitude and self-esteem. But the other extreme can cause just as many problems. Like, you can get too enthusiastic and lose contact with important relationships in your life. When that happens you’d better take stock and ask someone who can be objective whether they think you’re going nuts with this whole exercise thing. Do yourself a big favor, too. Don’t just ask people who will give you easy answers that you want to hear. If you’re not a world class athlete training for the Olympics or something on that order, then dial it back if your work, family or love life are suffering. It’s not worth it.
4. Losing Motivation
We all lose motivation now and then. But some people lose it so badly they’re like Austin Powers longing for his Mojo. Losing motivation is usually a product of fatigue, boredom or loneliness in what you’re doing. So think all that through, because losing your desire for your favorite activities can a sign of a crisis in self-identity and self-worth, which also happen to be tied up in the things you like to do. Be sure before you take steps to cure a loss of motivation that you understand whether the source of your ambivalence is not part of a greater pattern such as anxiety or depression. Many athletes use their sport as a healthy way to manage these conditions but getting overinvolved can actually heighten difficult mental health challenges. Make sure to maintain resources outside your sport to keep your total mental health in order. If basic motivation is lacking you may simply need a break. The great thing about running and riding (and swimming, as this author is now learning) is that “changing it up” is a healthy way to go.
3. Losing Faith In Yourself
A bad race can undermine your hopes. Even a bad workout can work in bad ways on your mind. That’s when it is important to “source back” to your reasons for running and riding. If a missed goal or DNF has you down, write it down! Putting your reasons for frustration into writing can help you get a grip and put a new goal into the mix once you’ve worked through the reasons why you’ve lost faith in your ability to run or ride as fast as far as you would like. Also, build back to your original form carefully. Going out to try to fix things all in one day works sometimes, but not that often.
2. Giving Up
Everyone has the urge to quit now and then. If you do quit a long ride, pedaling home with your tail between your legs, or if you drop out from a long run, take stock by looking at what you have already accomplished. You know that you do not always give up. Don’t let it become something you believe about yourself.
- Being Too Critical Of Yourself (Or others)
A wise counselor once told me, “You seem to be good at forgiving others. How are you at forgiving yourself?
The question stopped the conversation cold as I ached to consider what she meant, and how true it was. We are all pretty critical of ourselves, and it is as important to forgive our worst traits in order to work effectively on improving them.
That’s it, the 2014 List of Things You Hope to Avoid. Hope that helps you make a more positive list for the coming year. If not, don’t drink too much.