We are all creatures of habit both good and bad. Sometimes we find ourselves making the same mistake again and again. It’s like we are riding a bad line on the bike, caught in a rut.
The thing is often the “rut” doesn’t seem too bad, so we ride it out… again, again and again!
Think about it, even if you are slacking on one thing you are likely repeating this same bad habit. And it’s the multiplier effect that is the real problem. These ruts lead to much greater problems.
The solution is simple! Stop, reset and change it up. Fix it!
Here are some common ruts that negatively affect athletic performance:
I’m guilty of all of these too! And in fact I just fixed something which sparked the idea for this blog topic. Here are a few of my ruts and solutions:
Running Race Rut: I’m about mid-race and running my target pace and there is this guy right in front of me that is sounds like he is about to die, almost gasping for breath. To make matters worse he has a hitch in his stride. After about a half mile I realize this is how he must always run, but it is stressing me out and distracting me from my race. Yet somehow I am still next to him. We are coming to a hill and I decide then that’s it I need to change this! I threw in an attack. 30 seconds later I settle back to my pace, it’s quiet and I get back to running my race.
Bike Racing Rut: This has happened plenty of times, but I specifically remember a criterium and there was this squirrely guy who was strong enough to keep getting in the way, but his bike handling was bad. Somehow I kept finding myself behind him as 80 of us hit the corner at speed. His line and braking were bad causing me to get on the brakes more and then causing me to sprint out of the corner. He was an accident waiting to happen. And if he went down so would I. Mentally I had to flip a switch and change this bad situation. I attacked hard solo off the front. Four other strong racers bridged across to me. The break stayed away from the field and I never saw that guy again.
Bike Maintenance / Setup Rut: About 8 months ago I setup my new Trek Speed Concept. I used a custom aerobar that created a problem putting a water bottle between the bars. I modified an X-Lab setup that kind of fit but banged on the bars constantly. I MacGyvered it with some foam and tape, but it still vibrated and made a racket. But it kind of worked and I rode that way for 8 months! It took a vacation away from the Speed Concept to open my eyes. My road bike was so smooth and quiet, a joy to ride. My first ride back on the Speed Concept was hell. As soon as I got home I ripped off the X-Lab. The next day I rode 2.5 hours without a front bottle or even a Garmin and it was heaven! It’s funny how just a little thing like a rattling bottle cage can distract you and effect your ride and workout. I ordered some new parts and will solve fix it.
What is your rut?
Don’t live with it.