You’ve charged your Garmin, pumped up your tyres and are all set to go out for a ride when the pre-ride nerves kick in.
Your stomach is in knots and you’re wondering if you need to make yet another trip to the loo! it’s all quite exhausting and you haven’t even left the house yet!
Feeling nervous is understandable especially when you’re going to do something new whether that’s a sportive or joining a group ride for the first time.
Yet many of us feel those pre-ride butterflies before rides and distances that we’ve comfortably covered many times before yet we can find ourselves completely focused on the “what if’s” list!
What if I’m not fast enough and get dropped?
What if I get lost?
What if I can’t get up the hill and need to get off and walk?
What if I can’t finish the event
What if I let everyone down?
Go through a mental checklist of all your what if’s. Are they really that much of a big deal? If they’re really stressing you out, write down the worst case scenarios and come up with a plan of how to deal with them.
So for example …..
WHAT IF I get a puncture? Learn how to fix a puncture and always have a puncture repair kit with you. Always take your phone with you so if you can’t fix it you can call someone for a ride home.
WHAT IF I can’t make it up the hill? There is absolutely no shame in walking up a hill, and just ignore anyone who tells you different.
Make sure that your bike is in good condition, check your tyres, pack a tool kit and always carry a few quid incase you get stranded at the pub or café!
As little as 2% dehydration can effect our performance. As most of our anxiety is about ‘not being good enough’, being properly hydrated when you start riding and staying hydrated throughout a ride can only have a positive effect.
Visualise The Ride:
This is a technique used by many professional athletes and it works just as well for anyone. Before you ride, instead of focussing on the negative and what may go wrong, focus on the positives and create a vivid mental picture of yourself succeeding – getting up the hills, staying with the pack, having a good time and enjoying your ride. Continue to use positive mental imagery to stay focused and motivated when you experience obstacles or setbacks.
Take A Moment:
Research suggests that not only does our body language effect the way other people respond to us, but also how our own brains respond. Adopting a strong, confident and open body position can have enormous positive effects on your own confidence. Try it for yourself: Take two minutes before your ride, Stand in an open pose, shoulders relaxed, chest open (known as a high power pose). Close your eyes, breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5 at the same time visualise the positive outcome of your ride.
Stay focused on the here and now:
Don’t think about what has happened on previous rides or focus on the what if’s, think about the sense of freedom you get on your bike and how much you enjoy the experience and remember there’s really no need to feel so nervous after all, it’s only a bike ride!