As a cycling coach, I have adopted the practical method of coaching through Sports periodization, training system developed by the Soviets and fathered by Tudor Bompa.
Reasons for my adaptation of periodization are more personal then for most coaches in the environment I coach, and one of those reasons is that I was brought up to conduct my life in similar fashion: assess the big picture, segregate, prioritize, execute (last has nothing to do with the Soviets).
All together creates periodization. Train, work, live that way….
Physical training is straight forward and easy to measure progress, but in life, specially in mental fitness aspect, growth requires honest self-evaluation. By using the word “honest” I could go on and on, but one fundamental starting point is taking time to spend with your self in order to do the evaluation (probably something I will be writing about on this blog a lot more then I care to admit even to my self, as part of my own self-evaluation). But I digress… .
Time…the precious commodity of today’s world, in North America specially.
More successful, less time for one-self. Less time for one-self, less self-evaluation. Less self-evaluation, less understanding of of one-self. And on in circle we go.
Stay with me…
What made me write this entry?
I am reading the biography of Steve Jobs (author Walter Isaacson). But more about it later.
In my periodization for cycling, which for me personally, as a full time cycling coach, also became way of life (or other way around: life embraced cycling? Can’t remember anymore.), current period November – January, represents “Blinders Off” Period.
No. You will not find it in Mr. Bompa’s periodization, but this period is about life periodization. Part of self-evaluation (this is where you may need to read the above again or if you attended “Night with Dr. Peter Jensen” you may understand better).
With cycling taking a lot of time from my clients during the rest of the year, “Blinders Off” Period allows time for working on their mental fitness. Mentally healthy person will perform 100% physically. Thus allowing me to get the best cycling performance out of my clients.
You probably asking: …what is this Mental Health, he’s keep going on about?
If I have to sum it up, I would say: this is when your mind builds ABSOLUTE CONVICTION about what you are about to decide and pursue, is THE BEST direction moving forward.
Armed with that conviction, your body will have no option but to follow.
When my clients ask me how to achieve absolute conviction, I try to guide them along, but at the end of the road is a solitary journey.
Solitary journey is the only way towards ZEN.
And due to his mental health (or lack thereof) something that reading about Steve Jobs and his journey through life made me realize HOW IMPORTANT the “Blinders Off” Period is!
In the chase of the future, he seems to forgotten how he achieved his Zen as a young person. It would be the reversed example of “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin S. Sharma.
The book is full of examples where Steve Jobs is trying to fight the “rat race” mentality, but when you’re dealing with people and money who depend on your actions, it’s difficult to find time for self-examanition.
And by his own admission, it may have cost him his life (or at least few years). It seems that his mind and body lost the communication. Or perhaps his brilliant mind thought it didn’t need the body? It was wrong.
I will leave this subject for now, with a legend that is mentioned in this book referring to “Memento mori“, a Latin phrase translated as “Remember your mortality”, “Remember you must die” or “Remember you will die”:
“In ancient Rome, the words are believed to have been used on the occasions when a Roman general was parading through the streets during a victory triumph. Standing behind the victorious general was his slave, who was tasked to remind the general that, though his highness was at his peak today, tomorrow he could fall or, more likely, be brought down. The servant conveyed this by telling the general that he should remember, “Memento mori.” It is further possible that the servant said instead, “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!”: “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you’ll die!”
Death, as a final act, is the most powerful “argument” in the arsenal for creating ABSOLUTE CONVICTION why physical health is more important then fame, money, carrier…
Mistakes in life are learning experiences, which is positive in the scope of full life.
OUR OWN untimely death, is the only “mistake” WE CAN’T learn from.
Death is one thing we must learn from other people’s mistake.
I hope with all of the above, to put you in a frame of mind, where in the coming holiday days, you take the Blinders off and work on your Mental Health.
Reading the books mentioned above is a good start.
Being thankful, helps acknowledge the importance of today.
Working on your mental health will pave the (cycling) road towards better performance.
Taking time for your self-evaluation, is investment, not a lost time… and what better period to start then in the Season of giving?