Creating benchmarks and rewarding yourself for completing them is a classic strategy athletes use to get through a long and challenging event. I bet you have used a version of this, whether on a bike or in a 10K running race or triathlon. I use it all the time on long climbs as it helps break up the activity into bite-size chunks. Many years ago when I was training for a triathlon, swimming was my biggest challenge. On the days when I was supposed to do a mile-long swim, I discovered I was much more successful mentally when I never said the words “I have to swim a mile.” That thought filled my head with dread! But when I said, “I’m just going to swim 10 laps,” and then 10 more, then 10 more, until I had completed the requisite 72 laps, I fared much better, both physically and mentally.
It’s truly amazing how successful this technique can be, whether for a skilled athlete or a brand-new participant in your indoor cycling class afraid they won’t make it through the next 45 or 60 minutes.
This topic is rather lengthy so I will break it into two posts. This first one will present a few personal examples and discuss three different ways to set benchmarks and rewards. Part 2 will apply these techniques to indoor cycling classes with visualizations and motivational cues that you can use in your challenging climbs.
Break it up and accept mini “wins”
Part 2 of this Strategy for Strength will provide ways to use these concepts in your indoor cycling classes, including specific visualizations and cues.
Check out our other Strategies for Strength articles: