by ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp
“Great players train their weaknesses, good players train their strengths, and poor players don’t train at all.“
It’s sunny and warm out and I’m fixing to get out on the bike. I sense some procrastination though, as I’m training a weakness today. On tap are two by 20 minute lactate threshold intervals. Easy for someone with a large aerobic engine but challenging for my sprinter anaerobic tendencies. It would be much easier to practice my sprint, to use the tailwind out of the north and fly along 63rd, punching it up and over the rollers. I smile just thinking about it. But instead, I’m tasked with a headwind and keeping my power up and steady.
We all have weaknesses, whether they are on or off the bike. And as coaches, our job is identify what those weaknesses are and make them an area of focus. For some this might be LT sessions or sprints. For others, they might have a hard time taking a true recovery day. And yet others, riding in a group and sitting close on a wheel or cornering three abreast seems intimidating.
It’s important to practice those weaknesses. And it’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
As we gear up to head out on the bike for weekend training, set an intention around practicing a weakness. Visualize yourself the night before practicing one weakness and executing it with proficiency. Fill your mind with a sense of what it will feel like to ride with success. Use affirmations to support your visualizations such as, “I can climb!” or “I can sprint!” or “I am a lactate threshold monster!”
Having the right mindset while practicing a weakness is key to building confidence and improving. Now it’s time to practice what I preach and throttle those LT efforts.