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The Athletes Mind – Winding Down – Staying Fresh – Words From the Wise Man, Timmy Evens

October 5, 2012
Photo – Robert Lowe Photography – http://www.robertnlowe.com/
As our competitive season winds down its time for a change. After long hours staring at the heart rate monitor and weekly road trips to the next race, we can finally take a relaxing breathe and unwind.
We’re all athletes at heart so i highly doubt any of us will spend the next six months eating chips and staring at the tv.  I know many exercise physiologists will talk about “specificity of training” as an important component of success but i think there is real value in stepping away from your competitive venue and doing something different.
I recently read a statement by a Phd talking about what our brains need to maintain a state of happiness, exercise was absolutely essential but the key point is it needs to be “new and novel” exercise.   This may mean you get out and do those long XC loops that you never found time for during the competitive season or it may mean picking up another sport entirely.
We all feel that excitement at the beginning of the cycling season when you first start ticking away miles and the trail is new and pure.  As days roll by the same trail becomes boring and repetitive.  Sometimes we can be too obsessed with watts and miles to remember we’re animals and something about sport is suppose to tap into that primal side.
It is important to have a coordinated/calculated approach to success but that included maintaining mental health.
As fall and winter approach I encourage all of you to take up another hobby.   Ask yourself what you like to do?  Yoga?  Crossfit? Alpine skiing? Nordic skiing? Trail-running? Soccer? Motocross?
I say you need to pick one and keep exercising a athletic state of mind.   Find something that supplements your sport, if you are a DH racer then find something that supplements the need for speed.   If you are an XC racer find another aerobic outlet.
If you want to start next season strong and refreshed then take time away from the bike and use your offseason to become stronger.   Learn from the people you respect, Aaron Gwin might not put a ton of miles in on his DH bike through the winter but he rides moto and does plyometrics like an animal.  Most good XC racers will put away the MTB and either break out the running shoes or nordic skis.
The point is find another outlet for your inner animal, it needs to be different, new, and exciting so you start your next season fit and looking forward to riding your bike.
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