Tomorrow we’re going out on a very long bike ride with a mate. The idea is to complete it. I am nowhere near in need of such a long ride at this stage of my training, but it will be good as a fitness test, fat-burning exercise and start of a taper period before the 60k ultra a week after.
The reason for the ride is to carry on with a classic ride from Auckland to Coromandel that has been happening for the last 4 years. It is also a good way to help my friend who’s got a 200k ride in 3 weeks time and needs to do the distance to know he has it in him.
Which gave me a new take on another reason why we go out training that I hadn’t thought before. Some times we go training just to know we can finish an event we haven’t done before. I remember my first triathlon to be quite a long day in the office. I had never combined a 500m swim, 20k ride and 5k run in the past. And even thought I completed it, there was a few moments of doubt during that race. With time I learned to work around the doubts and voices that come upon.
If we split the race in three, we have hope, doubt and belief. The start of the race is full of hope and good anxiety. The middle of the race gets a bit more serious, and at some point or another there’ll be a bit of doubt, which seems to be the way the body whines about the hard times we’re giving to it. Then there’s belief, the end of the race is all about getting all that self confidence back and pulling ourselves together to get to the finish knowing we’ve given our best. Post race there will be another three stages, but that’s the subject of another post.
So, back to the long ride of tomorrow, we’re doing it for the moment when the voices and the doubt come knocking at my mate’s helmet: 3 hours into the race and going up a hill, mildly dehydrated and hungry, and probably a bit uncomfortable already by being on a small bike seat. The voices will say, do you have it in you? If all goes to plan, he’ll say “hell yes!” I did it two weeks ago and finished it. And I can do it again today.
Whether you need to do it all before to know you have it in you depends on one’s self belief, number of years training and the length of the race. My take on it has been usually towards the other side, keeping a bit of doubt has worked as a motivator to show up at every training session, as each of them increases the probability (but not the certainty) of getting the successful outcome. Let’s play an example.
You’re running neck to neck with another competitor for a long bike/run/swim, it’s close to halfway and you’re already above your sustainable effort mark, you’re tired, a bit thirsty and maybe hungry. You’re all focused on the task ahead and all of a sudden doubt starts to creep. DO YOU HAVE IT IN YOU? what would you prefer? To know you have it in you because you’ve done it before or because you’ve trained mind and body well enough?
Keep training wise