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31-07-2023 | Wouter Fioole

5 ways to overcome a dead moment

We all know that moment when we wonder what we are actually doing. Why don't we just sit with a book in the sun (or in front of the stove) and have to pedal away for miles in all weathers? Here are five ways I help myself through those dead moments, sometimes boring miles or just really tough tempo and threshold blocks.

1. Adding and Counting

First, make sure you always keep looking at your ride from the positive "the glass is half full" perspective. If you're going on a 150-kilometer ride, then after 15 kilometers you've already done 10%. That shoots up nicely! (So not, "Pooh, I still have 90% to go.") If you're over halfway, then turn it around, so at 120 kilometers you only have 20% to go! Easy-peasy! I personally always use the most attractive unit to think in this, sometimes that's percentages, but sometimes it's actual kilometers or the time you still have to complete or have already done.

2. Count Yourself Rich!

If you are already over halfway through your ride then the meters count double, simple trick, but your brain kicks in and suddenly experiences it as a lot more fun, better and faster. Are you at 75 kilometers of your ride, so you still have exactly the same distance to go as you already have. But 1 kilometer further on, you have suddenly cycled 2 kilometers more than you still have to (after all, you still have 74 to go and have already done 76). Every meter counts for two... Nice and especially good for morale!

3. Matches

At really long rides or hard training sessions, you know for sure that you are going to have a dip or two. What I sometimes do is simple, I put five matches in my pant leg or loosely tape them to my handlebars. As soon as I realize I'm having a dip, I grab a matchstick and put it away (no, don't throw these in nature either!). I then mainly think "ah fine! First difficult moment behind me, I'm done with that!" ... and you can move on!

Note: I've never needed more than four sticks, so I don't know what happens to morale when you run out of sticks and then get another dip.

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4. Small goals

Setting small, achievable goals can make a significant difference in completing long treks or challenging workouts. Whether it's reaching the next turn, arriving at the next village, or completing the hour, any attainable target works. Once you achieve one goal, set a new one. You'll discover that accomplishing these goals revitalizes your energy and motivation, leading you to enjoy cycling without constantly focusing on new targets.

5. Embrace the enjoyment

The last and perhaps most vital tip is to take the time to savor what you're doing - enjoy the surroundings, appreciate the fact that you're cycling while others might be stuck in traffic, confined to air-conditioned offices, or shopping in a supermarket. You can even consciously embrace the feeling of being free from all that. Remember that you're healthy, outside, liberated, and cycling... No matter how tired you may feel, that's pure enjoyment!

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