Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mental fortitude

My yoga practice has really been hammering home something I've been learning on the bike as well. And that is the seemingly simple, oft-repeated fact that the greatest limiter to most athletic endeavors is the mind. I really enjoy riding my bike. What I don't so much enjoy is suffering. However, the point at which I want to quit comes way before the point at which I really must quit. The area in between is where the training happens. Last month I practiced yoga every day for the month of January along with many other people around the globe for WoYoPracMo. My asana practice grew more in a month than in the last couple of years that I've been practicing. More importantly, however, I've learned about focus and learned all about that area between wanting to quit and needing to quit, and the amazing benefits of playing in that area. It was similar to the benefits I encountered when I started climbing repeats the fall before last. Pushing beyond "this hurts" when powering up Ohio St. time after time after time resulted in measurable improvements. The theory and blah blah became reality, the pain became (relative) performance. Thus the spring training is going better this year, because I'll go out and train even when I don't want to, when riding or running is not a pleasure, because I've actually experienced that improvement begins when the comfort zone ends. This is probably nothing new to the competitive athletes reading this, but as a relative newbie to competive cycling, it's a revelation to me!