Habits of Highly Ef­fec­tive Ath­letes

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - FEATURE -

When it comes to pur­su­ing goals, pro ath­letes don’t just train and call it a day. They create an op­ti­mal daily train­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Sure, you may not be able to sleep in an alti­tude tent, but you can make your ev­ery­day life fit your ath­letic dreams bet­ter.

Sleep More It’s no sur­prise that sleep is at the top of the list. Ask al­most any pro ath­lete, you’ll hear that sleep is the No. 1 train­ing tool. Many pros aim for nine or 10 hours per night, pos­si­bly sneak­ing a nap in mid­day as well. You may not be able to hit those num­bers, but set­ting the goal of get­ting be­tween seven and nine hours of sleep most nights is go­ing to make your re­cov­ery faster so you can hit your next in­ter­val harder.

Fuel Right Make sure that you’re fu­elling be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter your ride. Cur­rent cross coun­try world cham­pion Kate Court­ney says this is one of the ma­jor changes she made in terms of her nu­tri­tion dur­ing the past few years: eat­ing enough and eat­ing at the right time. She adds that eat­ing more dur­ing a ride helps avoid mak­ing less-than-healthy choices post-ride.

Add Mo­bil­ity Flex­i­bil­ity might not be at the top of your goal list, but hav­ing good mo­bil­ity will help you avoid in­jury and make you more ca­pa­ble of train­ing longer. It may even im­prove your power as you’ll be more able to use your full range of mo­tion and re­cruit mus­cles pre­vi­ously left dor­mant. Whether you start do­ing a quick morn­ing yoga rou­tine, use a foam roller or lacrosse ball for some self-mas­sage or hit a yoga class a cou­ple times a week, make sure you’re tak­ing care of the mo­bil­ity com­po­nent of your train­ing, not just the “hard” stuff.

Com­mu­ni­cate Whether you work with a coach or make your own plan, a good ath­lete com­mu­ni­cates his or her needs, even if that means just com­mu­ni­cat­ing hon­estly with your­self. Record­ing work­outs with data, such as power or heart rate, and adding notes about how you felt, can help you keep track of progress, rather than just train­ing hap­haz­ardly and won­der­ing why it doesn’t feel like you’re get­ting faster. Start Keep­ing a Jour­nal Whether you keep an of­fi­cial train­ing log or just jot down a sen­tence or two each day about how train­ing went, keep­ing track of your progress in some tan­gi­ble way can show you where you’re im­prov­ing slowly but steadily, and where you still need to fo­cus. Pro­fes­sional run­ner Kara Goucher has even writ­ten a book on this topic – Strong – delv­ing into why she keeps a “con­fi­dence jour­nal” and what it can do for your self-con­fi­dence.

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