Archive for the ‘Mental training’ Category

That hard ride….

July 20, 2011

Last sunday I went for a longer ride than I normally have been doing lately. I set out to get about 3-4 hours on the bike. I had a plan for a ride to work on some threshold paced stuff during the later parts of the ride. I was shooting for some 5-10 min intervals at least 2-3 hours in to the ride. The short story was I completed the workout, the long story is below.

First there is a time and a place for when doing intervals in a more fatigued state. Just look at the tour de france right now. How many times do the riders save almost all of there effort for later into the ride? By my counter it is nearly every day. The training benefit is to teach your body to cope with large efforts in a fatigued state. This may help you run the last mile hard in a half marathon, conquer the hill in the century ride, or be able to blast past your friends or rivals in the local race or group ride.  This type of work out not only teaches the body, but also the mind.

It has been a while since I have done some quality hard miles  after 2+ hours. This past sunday was the first time back at it. I almost had forgotten how much of a mental game a workout like this can be. My legs were protesting and my body was telling me it was time to relax. The trick is to know that you can push past this point. Jens voigt has been quoted talking to his legs: “Shut legs and do what I tell you to do.” You more or less need to take the same approach during your training. This past sunday I told my legs to shut up, and I finished the ride by taking a long hard pull.

The mental aspect to meeting a goal is huge! Not only does saving the hard stuff for later in the ride help your body adapt. This type of training also helps you to realize that when the pace is high or challenging you to can push past it.

I know this seams to be a bit of “well no kidding” But to know that you can do it during your goal event or race, you need to do it in training first. Remember how it feels, remember the pain, remember how you can cope with it. This element is critical to pre-race or event visualization. Recall these feelings as you are getting ready for a race. I have seen several athletes, just say I know this is going to hurt. You need to push past it, you need to push yourself into the deep pain.

Just remember what Jens voigt said “Shut up legs and do what I tell you”

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan.

for more information go to to see how Achieve Coaching can help you!


The mental prepping for a big race.

May 31, 2011

So I have about 5 days to go before my big event. The state championship road race…

There is still leaps of “fitness” you can make, its not physical its mental. Take the extra time to start thinking about race preparation and what you will encounter during the race or event.

Mental strength is just as good or if not better as physical strength. Imagine what the event will feel like. Will there be some pretty challenging hard moments, will you have to endure extreme environments, or what else will be challenging? Take time to sit down and imagine what it will feel like. There are athletes out there that can raise there heart rate and other physiological signs by just thinking about it. This is an advantage one race or event day. By knowing what it will feel like, this will help you better overcome the challenge of it being physically hard. Imagine every little detail and imagine it several times before the event.

Also, it helps to pack and sort out equipment early. This is your big event! Prepare for it! Do not wait last minute. This early preparation will leave a lower stress level before the event. As we all know, stress can negatively effect performance. This is also part of the mental prep. Its time to relax yourself and just be ready for the event.

Stay tuned for saturday, I will post some last minute details and thoughts the day before a big race.

Ride hard

Coach Jordan

What to do when it all goes wrong…

March 29, 2011

AS many of you know, I am a huge fan of Marv Zauderer. He is a great sports psychologist and helps us athletes keep our heads on straight. Here is a great articel for any runner, cyclist, and more for helping to deal with mid workout or race crisis.


Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

Fantastic article on mental tools

November 23, 2010

Go to

Pez Cycling News For a great article on mental training

Coach Jordan

The balance of aspirations and reality

November 22, 2010

So its no secret I have been talking about goals. I want to address one more thing in relation to goals. I posted this blog in a forum and received some interesting feedback.

A fellow rider pointed out that while its all well and good to base a goal off of statistics; (i.e. power out puts for periods of times etc… as I discussed) how does this relate to a racer that has heavily performance based standards. After all racers need to be in a top spot to get an upgrade or to be considered successful. This is an interesting question and the previous recommendations I laid you before, fit perfectly.

By training with the goal of needing to perform “x” amount of time or effort, it gives the proper tools to position yourself well for a race finish. It is better knowing that you will go into a race needing to perform 50 times above 500 watts to be able to podium vs. I just want to podium . The difference between these two statements is vastly different. The racer whom trained with some obtainable goal will have a better chance at being victorious. While it might be the case that next year you will need to perform 50 times at over 600 watts; this is always an unknown that is called racing. I will always say its better to have some type of goal laid out in concrete obtainable terms rather I just want to win.

This also starts to touch on the racers psyche, the racer who wants it the most, usually is the best. I know from a personal experience I have been able to do things in racing that I was not expecting. This comes from the mental determination needed to perform at a race.

It is this combination of quantifiable preparation along with the will and want to succeed that will produce a truly great racer.

Next week: Setting up the training year

Ride hard,

Coach Jordan

Goals for the season to come

October 23, 2010

Enjoying this part of the year is critical, you should be having fun doing what ever your favorite endurance activity is. Running, cycling, or even some cross training into that other sport you may not always have time for. Mentally this part of the season is about finishing up any last-minute goals and starting to plan for the future.

Planning for the season ahead is really more complicated than some may think. At this point of the season you have to be thinking about what did you like or not like about the past season, what events suited you well (and those that didn’t) and how this will factor into the season ahead. Is there a new team? How do I want to improve? What event is it that I could do best at next year? Setting these goals are of high priority for the season ahead.

The biggest mistake I have found in working with athletes is the statement of “I want win (or do x place) at this event.” There is one glaring mistake in this logic. You can not control what other people are doing. What if John lost his job and decided to just ride all the time instead? (while ridiculous, you get the idea…) Placing emphasis is in performance goals is a very hard thing to unwire.

Instead look at it from a more logical and easier way to understand why you got “x” place at the event from last year. For example: In one of my bike races this past year, I got dropped on a hill during a short criterium. Looking back at the race it is very easy for me to say why did I get dropped, and why did I not get 15th place or better? Breaking this race down shows a much better way of understanding it. It was an hour-long race and the race crossed this hill roughly 38 times. I made it through 35 mins, So I was able to do roughly 17 laps. This particular hill was about :50 sec long. and the average pace was about  22 mph or 450 watts for :50 sec, 38 times. Looking at this means, that if this was my goal race for next year I need to improve my ability to perform the workload from 17 times, to 38 times. This is a trainable goal that is possible to quantify. Here is more or less numeric proof, that if I can obtain this goal, I will have a much better shot at then placing in some “x” place.

Here is another example dealing with cycling, but is very applicable to any endurance sport.

My goal this year is this:

To go to Green Mountain Stage Race, My unicorn race and lay down 4 very good days of racing. This 4 days will have this goal attached with them based of the previous years field.

day 1 =  14 mins @ 420 watts

day 2 = being able to complete a 3.5 hour race at about 2600 kj’s with minimal fatigue in my legs

day 3 = being able to climb two big mountains at 350+ watts for 20-30 mins

day 4 = being able to perform about 35 laps with 35 hill repeats at 500+ watts.

By doing these four things, I know my chances at GMSR are likely very good.

Quantifying your goals into some tangible amount of data is likely to be more motivating as well. You will have to perform “x” by this certain date. And by another date you will have to perform “x” again. This is setting up miniature goals that break down the big “I want to win” into smaller more obtainable daily goals. And this works with any sport be it running, triathlon, swimming, everything. It can all be broken down into some form of pace or ability to repeat a measured performance.

So, here is the challenge: Instead of having a performance goal this year, think of what amount of performance will likely place you well in the race for next year. Right this goal down and hang it somewhere you can see it. Look at it every day, and always remember every workout is helping in some way to reach that ATTAINABLE goal.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

Next week: how to break down a goal to start thinking about how to best train

for more information about coaching and how to achieve these goals go to: Achieve Coaching

An interesting work out (and lesson)

October 18, 2010

Here is a little story form my ride yesterday, that I feel may be of help in some form or another (or at least a fun story…)

I went out with my buddy to train in umstead park. He just got a new cyclos-cross bike and I had to borrow his mountain bike. Needless to say the mountain bike (mtb) is fair bit slower than the cross bike he had. In the first 15 mins or so, we just got in to the rythm of the ride and were having fun. On the first climb I felt ok, and tried pushing it on the climb. I lead and he followed no problem at all.

As the lap on umstead progressed, I felt progressively worse, each mile was getting longer and more taxing and my buddy was able to float up the climbs like pantani. On the last climb of the lap, I died… badly! Its one of the wroes feelings to see some one just float away and not being able to answer in any sort of manner.

After I was recovering on the flats, I started feeling better. I was keeping up with my friend, and even starting to contest the climb as well. The lap was getting more fun, and I was feeling better with every pedal stroke! The final climb came and I was able to gas it and finish the climb stronger than perhaps any time before.

Generally I say to not continue when you are feeling bad. It usually is a sign to not keep going. However sometimes you just need to keep pushing and eek out that last little bit. In this case staying with the workout taught me to keep pushing, the body goes through its ups and downs. On this ride it was both mental and physical. In your next workouts, if it isn’t feeling great, just try a few mins longer. Hopefully it turns around and you can use this as a future tool to know when you need to hang back a bit in your next event.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

The post season…

September 16, 2010

Big local crit… Check, State Championships… check, hammer my buddy in to the ground… (priceless) Check. Whats next?

This is on the minds of road bike racers all over the country. After the racing, the hard training miles and counting every calorie what do you do the fitness you have? After all you must do something to maintain your level of fitness right?

Coming up with what to do is very important, but it must be stated you must do something. A size-able amount of fitness can be lost over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. The season between your last big important race and the base season must be filled with something to carry on all the hard work from the previous 44 to 48 weeks.

First and foremost the off season is the time to have fun again, do that which reminds you why you started pursuing the sport in the first place. I tell people to go out and enjoy riding again. Go do your favorite loop, ride with that slower friend, ride with family, ride to your favorite lunch spot. Just have fun and remind yourself why you enjoy riding.

Luckily there is a little invention of cyclocross to help ease some of the off season blues. Cross is fun, a good hard effort and usually has beer afterwards!! This is also the time to focus on a few other things

There are a few basic concepts to an off season.

-Have fun:

As stated above its important to enjoy yourself once again. It is critical for your metal sanity to let your mind rest form a rigorous training method

-Improve that which you are week in

You can take the time to focus on weakness’s. During the season it is important to focus on this as well. But during the off season you can work on it much more with out worry that it might not be a good idea before “x” race. I know this might not be the most fun, but it can be treated as a goal and use this as motivation.

-Start strength training

Start hitting the gym once or twice a week with minimal weight. The idea is to get the soreness out of the legs (from lifting) before the base miles start again. Weight lifting can be fun, and really get some mental stamina back as well. This is also the appropriate time to rebuild any weakness from miles and miles on the bike.

-Cross train

Do you enjoy skiing? skating? or something else. This can be a great way to keep aerobic activity up but still do something fun and exciting. Go out there and enjoy!

-Set a Goal

Maybe there is a big late season race coming up. This is an excellent way to keep motivated. Just like the start of the season, set a goal and stick to it. There are several bodies of research that show how well the human psyche responds to goal setting and achieving.

What about a break?

Taking a break is very important, especially in a sport that is repetitious as cycling. If you consider the average training season is 4-500 hours long; that is 2 to 2.4 million pedal strokes. You need a break. For high endurance athletes (cyclist, some runners, long distance triathletes, adventure racers) your body can not maintain this for ever. You therefore need a break at some point. After a full season it is desirable to take 2 weeks or so off. I know I mentioned above you can and will loose some fitness, it is good to have cycles to everything during the training life.

Enjoy the off season.

Ride Hard


Welcome and lets talk about motivation!

April 21, 2010


This blog is a way to help you understand a bit more about what I do. Every so often I intend on leaving articles, comments thoughts, anecdotes and more to help you achieve your own success.

Here is this weeks entry:

This go around, I want to talk about motivation.

Motivation is a very popular topic there seems to be lots about. Sometimes I feel though it is treated to generally. I want to share a personal anecdote about my motivation right now.

With my current job, and what seems to be the way my next few years will play out; I have no time ti race or even contemplate it on the weekends. This has been a big blow to me going from playing with the likes or garmin-chipotle and Bissel to racing against no one. I have been putting in at least 200 and even some occasional 350 mile weeks. I have really had to find a new motivation to keep riding and doing the 6:30am group ride 2 days a week. Commonly Motivation is followed by the setting of a goal. It has been interesting for me to set goals that no longer seem to have firm dates, or competitions. My goals now instead are to be putting myself in the best position possible to capitalize when time allows for a race or event. I have found solace in knowing that every pedal stroke is making me a better person and puts me one pedal stroke further to getting to my goal that may be still a year or two away. It is hard for me some times to get out and do my 4 hour monday ride when I know I can skip it and it won’t make a difference. But I know in the back of my head its only a slippery slope to decreasing fitness. Every day I make a list of things to be done. Its nice to check off a list and look at what you may have accomplished. So how might this apply to your every day? I know time is the commodity we all need more of and I still am not sure how some of you guys do it with family and so much more. But to help you through the work out make a list in your head or on the bike and check off each little detail of the ride. Don’t look at 10x 1:00 intervals as 10. Look at them as I hav this 1:00 interval and I will get it done, then move on to the next one.

Also, When I started off this adventure with you all I said this needs to remain fun and not become something that I do because my coach tells me to do. Why do you ride the bike? I still giggle sometime when I tear through a corner and instantly burst out of the saddle exiting the corner. Its the little things like that I can 1,2,3,4 or 5 hours into a ride that remind me why I still have the motivation to ride the bike. The next time your thinking this interval sucks. Stop and ask why does it? Its making you a better athlete, a better person, and you doing something 99.99% of the population can’t do. For me that feeling of this is hard is the reason to celebrate cycling.

So to paraphrase the next you need some motivation during a race or work out. Break it down, make the goal smaller. Also take happiness in just the small little things during the ride that reminds you why you are cyclist.

Ride Hard

%d bloggers like this: