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T -106 - Cycle - Thursday - Coaches, Motivation and Pain
by Denis Oakley in

I misdirected the assasins hunting me by telling Dave that I would be going down the NKVE to Shah Alam if he wanted to join me. On seeing a thunderstorm in that direction I instead headed off through Kota Damnsara and up the Guthrie to Sungai Buloh for a nice 50k cycle.

It was bit slow and bumpy in the dark but once on the Guthrie it was light and there is a beautiful cycle lane (mopeds are also allowed to use it). I picked up the pace and had a great cycle back into town. Average speed was about 32km/h but I did a couple of wonderful 50km/h sprints over taking slow cars and sticking my tongue out at them as I passed.

Pretty inspired by Emma's blog as well this morning. It's a good read but this also clearly xplained the benefits of coaching with Ironguides. In one of Joe Friel's posts http://www2.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2008/08/athlete-types.html he talks about different athlete types. I head towards the scientist type I think - though it depends on the day - and I think that when you select your training method you have to fit it to the type of athlete you are. I feel stronger - but I like to try and quantify it.  To me feeling may be my body lying to me - the Cartesian problem.  That's why I like training peaks and I guess that if I go for a coach it will be someone who uses that methodology. Emma- by contrast seems much more of the artist type - and that seems to fit well with the Ironguides methodology. "What makes her tick?" they asked - and then constructed a program around her psychology - or at least customised a template. 

Thinking further about coaches and getting up in the morning - one of my friends who is also training for Langkawi trains by feel and I think pretty eratically. It showed in her results on Saturday and in past ironmen. I don't know her deep motivations for training - they probably aren't the same as  mine - but I do know that my plan, and even more so I expect with a coach, are very powerful psychological pressures to make you move forward.  I would really hate to have to write that e-mail to coach Vinnie explaining that I couldn';t be assed and so I'd get out of bed.

I felt this big time on Sunday when I was walking round the run. I kept meaning to start running again but I never did. KK got me started again but it was my shame at stopping in front of him that kept me going again. I guess a pretty similar mechanism is responsible for soldiers pressing forward in battle. It is very powerful and I think a great way of getting your training to deliver if you can get it to lock you in. Tell your friends, buy a plan, get a coach - all somhow use that fear of shame and failure to keep you going. 

When I was doing my stretches yesterday morning I was listening to a new death metal album I'd just bought (anathema - Alternative 4 -1998) and there was a great song that started something like - "I want pain - bring me more." Positive motivation is critical to triathletes and endurance athletes but the number of times that we get up and run swim and cycle into that red wall of back also means that we need something darker driving us forward.


Emma said...

Hey Denis,
Couldn't agree more with you about the "Shame" factor. It's not about embarrasing ourselves by failure its about being brave enough to admit to those goals no matter how small or BIG they may be. It's about giving it a shot and having no regrets no matter what the outcome. It keeps your dreams real - in your mind and in your day to day life. It is in my opinion one of the things that makes you try and then TRI Harder :o)

Denis Oakley said...

One of the things that intrigues me is the psychology and personality of Triathletes. One of the first things that someone said to me (a cyclist) was that triathletes are a bunch or arrogant wankers.

Sonme of the more obvious traits of triathletes are - obsessive, disciplined, competitive. Do our psychological traits pre-select us for triathlon - or is it similar in most sports once you get beyond the casual member?

I might start taking questionaires to races . . .

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