Your Secret Weapon
Late in the race, when things get tough, you reach the meltdown threshold:
It gets very difficult to execute the next stroke, the next stride perfectly. The wheels start to fall off of your wagon. It’s not just energetic fatigue...
Your proprioception is failing.
We often hear the motto “Mind over matter! I just have to force my body to move forward with sheer mental will.”
Mental will is important when you reach that meltdown threshold where things start to look grim. When the fears and pain prevail, you begin to question your capacity and your sanity. It takes mental tenacity to keep moving forward.
But mind over matter will not put the wheels back on your wagon. Sheer mental will cannot bring back your perfect stroke or stride. You need to strengthen your proprioception. "My pro-pri-oh-what?"
Proprioception is your body’s feedback system. It’s your:
It is all of these rolled up in one.
Your body has millions of receptors (called proprioceptors) embedded in your muscles, connective tissues and joints that are all wired into your nervous system. These millions of organs constantly inform your Central Nervous System (CNS) about the status of your joints and muscles: their specific locations in space, their degree of flexion and extension, their tension and level of stress.
Miraculously, your CNS can make sense of this constant barrage of “electrical data” and respond to keep your body upright and moving forward. Your logical brain – the one that thinks in words – is incapable of doing this.
Ultimately, this is your alliance with gravity. With each perfect stroke or stride you use the pull of gravity to move you forward. This is the essence of efficiency.
Use the pull of gravity to move your body forward.
Or gravity will pull you to the ground.
When you strengthen your alliance with gravity, you:
- Go faster and farther with less energy.
- Swim/bike/run the path of least resistance.
- Delay that “meltdown threshold” and push it much closer to the finish line.
- Execute more perfect strokes and strides before the wheels fall off. This is real endurance.
As you train your body to be fast for the next race, train your mind to be quiet,calm, stealthy and laser-focused... for the rest of your life! This is called mindfulness.
You can’t change your genetics to be a better athlete. But you can improve your proprioception and mindfulness to be a better athlete.
Find out how with this introduction to Zendurance: Zen Fitness for Body and Mind.
Using Zendurance Cycling Methods, you can develop endurance, strength and speed through techniques that improve your proprioception and mindfulness. The Zendurance Cycling Self-Study Guide provides guidance for applying these methods.
Triathlon Motivation: Kinetic Intelligence
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