Diagnosis or Change ?

Clients periodically come to me with a condition or something they feel is outside of themselves. This could be a health condition, bad ‘luck’ in races, low energy, injuries or poor response to training. They think of this one thing (or combination of outside circumstances) as the ultimate reason for their poor results or health. My first response is to ask:

What should we be doing (that we aren’t) that would make you better, regardless of the diagnosis?

Are those daily actions you will need to take once you have your ‘diagnosis’ the same as things you can do right now and see if they make a difference in a couple of months?

Are we delaying positive daily action in favor of chasing a diagnosis?

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Could a skills session help improve results? Meet people? Avoid crashing? Avoid ruining more of your equipment. 

If, for example, you think your problem is your cortisol level and you want it tested … Instead of waiting for the diagnosis, can you start to improve your sleep, diet and have some fun with friends? Avoid intense exercise for a bit. Focus on bringing yourself ‘down’ a bit more often and supply your body with the fuel it needs.

If you are damaging equipment or your body in crashes… It is likely not just bad luck or the fault of your competitors or the organizers. There might be an element of the sport you can work on to get faster and safer out there. Bike Skills training is a thing and it is important for beginner riders right up to the pros. If you can’t bunny hop a cyclocross-barrier, track-stand forever or navigate a pump-track without pedaling, there is some room for practice (it is fun!).

If you are having knee pain… Could you back off the riding for a bit? Start easily into strength training. See a therapist who focuses on movement and who can help you learn movement variety and how to increase your work capacity? Could you check your sleeping and working positions to ensure they aren’t contributing?

If you are low on energy have you checked your sleep, consumption of iron building foods and done a triple check of the sugar and processed foods in your diet? Have your tried upping your calories, including those pesky carbs and seeing if you feel better? Remember more fuel = more work capacity = more fitness.

If you are not reaching your cycling goals have you talked to a coach? (you can do it free here). Have you checked that you are within the ‘norms’ of training? (i.e. stop doing suffer workouts everyday and work on event specific skills/terrain). Sleep more, eat better, enjoy riding.

These things don’t happen overnight but if you dedicate your daily actions to moving a little closer and getting a little better you can get where you want to go.

Work honestly on the basics consistently.


If you are in Toronto on Dec 6, Aurora on Dec 7 or Barrie on Dec 8 we would love to have you join us for the “Saddle, Sore Version 2” Book Launch Party DETAILS HERE


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