I could just work, have someone else take care of my kids during the day, come home for dinner, put the kids to bed and hang out on the couch watching TV. But that doesn’t really appeal to me. Instead, I have a part time teaching job, a reasonably full docket of triathletes to coach, an ironman to train for (LP2016!!), as well as three crazy, young boys to chase after. I have chosen this path. This lifestyle full of twists, turns, changing gears, and non-stop action. A typical day for me consists of a 5:00AM wakeup to workout for a couple hours followed by breakfast with the kids. Then I run off to school to teach high school seniors a lesson on game theory. I maybe try to squeeze in a quick 30-minute durability run before rushing home to partake in monster truck races, bouncy house games, and perhaps a pile of fun (jumping off the couch into a pile of pillows) with my three boys before the dinner hour strikes. After dinner, I get the kids cleaned up (maybe), watch a couple episodes of Curious George, and put the kids to bed. Then I feed the dogs (wait, did I remember to walk them earlier??) and hop on my computer to check out my athletes’ workouts for the day and analyze their progress. I work on training programs and answer emails until the clock hits the bedtime hour (no later than 10:00!) as I know that my lifestyle is not conducive to being overtired.
The dreaded FTP test…. A test where you are asked to ride your bike as hard as you can for twenty minutes straight. Most would think this test strictly evaluates your strength as a cyclist. However, in order for this test to be accurate, you need to have the mental fortitude to push yourself as hard as you can for twenty LONG minutes. From my perspective this sort of test is as much a test of mental strength as it is a test of physical strength. Twenty minutes is a long time to push yourself as hard as you can! And how do you really know if your effort is at its maximum? Honestly, you don’t! And you probably can always push yourself a little bit harder as 99.9% of the time, your mind gives up before your body does. These sorts of prolonged “best effort” tests, such as an FTP test, a 6-minute run test, or any sustained max-effort interval, can be quite daunting for many athletes. Below are some mental strategies that I have found to be effective in helping survive and even thrive in these sorts of max effort intervals.