Motivation – Using the left or right brain

Motivation never comes easy, especially when it comes to exercise. Busy lifestyles, schedules and the need to train on a high level will all butt heads at some point. Let’s face it, if you want to be good at a sport, then you are going to need to train when you’re tired, stressed, and pinched for time. So, what motivates you? Are you motivated by the sights and feel of a workout or by the numbers? Determining this will help you figure out which side of the brain you like to use most, which will then help you dig deep for motivation when you need it.

Most athletes will train on a daily basis but never think about what motivates them. As a coach, I try to figure out what motivates people, but as a self-coached athlete, you need to do this on your own and it’s important to do. You need to determine whether you are a left or right brained dominant person and use this to your advantage. So let’s take a look at the differences between left and right brain characteristics.

Left or Right Brained

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Setting season goals

To do well as an endurance athlete, season goals need to be set early to provide the motivation needed to train hard. It takes a long time to build endurance and reach peak fitness levels, so the sooner you start with setting goals, the better. Your goals can be loose, precise, large or small, just as long as they create the desire to work hard. Most importantly, season goals should be set around something you love to do.

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5 ways to improve indoor cycling workouts

We all know that cycling indoors is not as pleasurable as it is outdoors on the roads and trails. Being stationary and not experiencing momentum may play a large role in why indoor exercise is not as stimulating. But for many, indoor workouts are the only option certain times of the year. The cold temperatures of winter and the hot temperatures of summer will force anyone who deals with either extreme indoors to ride. So, for those of you who deal with being forced indoors, here are five ways to improve the quality of your workout.

The Use of Power

Power meters are a great tool to use while indoors. Using power allows you to gauge your effort easier than with heart rates alone. Heart rate is a great tool indoors and out, but heart rate is not as precise as power. When exercising indoors, there is advantage to being more precise. Using power will help you maintain steadier efforts, which will provide a greater challenge and more benefit. The more specific you can be while training indoors, the more it will benefit you when you’re back outside on the bike. Continue reading

Stomach Issues while racing – Possible causes and solutions

If you have ever dealt with a stomach issue while racing, then you have experienced the gut wrenching, painful, disappointing feeling it brings. Once you are dealing with a stomach issue, there is little you can do and no quick solution. Slowing down to allow digestion to take place is one solution but to stop racing may be the only answer if the pain is severe. The best way to avoid stomach issues, otherwise known as the dreaded gut rot, is to prevent it. In this article we will discuss a few aspects of racing that can lead to stomach issues.

Poor pacing can easily lead to stomach issues, especially when you are competing in long duration events. The longer the event, the more need for food and water and the more important pacing becomes, especially for events that last from 7-10 hours. Too many intense surges during these longer events can easily lead to stomach issues. When you surge and work a higher intensity, even for a few minutes, you create an increased need for blood flow to the working muscles and to cool the body. That leaves less blood flow for digestion. Continue reading

Lower Priority Races – What to achieve

Spring is fast approaching and athletes everywhere are starting to think about key races to do well at and secondary races to use for training and motivation. Lower priority, B and C races, are commonly used earlier in the season, but these races can also be used throughout the year for training and more. Secondary races provide experience, training benefits, and as a stage to assess your early or mid-season form. So, targeting a handful of races throughout the year to use as a learning experience, in addition to training, is a good idea.

Experience

A race environment is unique in many ways. From the arrival to the finish line, a race can be a nerve wracking experience, especially when you realize there are a few hundred to a few thousand others looking to do the same thing as you. Gaining experience in this environment is important to helping you feel more comfortable, confident and able to avoid distractions leading up to and during the race. Athletes commonly get psyched out over the looks or attitude of their competition, creating self-doubt and a loss of focus. Practice and experience will help you avoid these types of distractions the day of the race. Continue reading

Heat Acclimation

Dealing with the heat, at least initially, is always an issue. I think it is fair to say that most if not all endurance athletes have experienced some degree of cramps at one time or another, and most likely while racing or training on a hot humid day. Even those who live in hot climates need to acclimate somewhat to the hotter conditions of the mid-summer months of June, July and August, especially if you plan to race during that time.

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.

Jason Betz

One of the ways your body keeps cool is by circulating blood to the skin. This allows the internal heat building inside to be transferred to the environment. Core temperatures of 104F (40C) have been observed with marathon athletes. So, transferring heat to the outside plays an important role in helping your core keep cool. Continue reading