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Breaking Bad Habits

Sports Psychology Series Articles: Affirmations ] Anti-Anxiety Training ] Arousal ] [ Breaking Bad Habits ] Confidence ] Cycling Psychology Profile Quiz ] Dealing With Bad Results ] Exercise-Related Personality Changes ] Focus & Breathing ] Goal Setting ] Motivation ] Pain Management in Training ] Sports Psychology Intro ] Stress Questionnaire ]

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The fourteen sports-psychology-series articles are all incorporated into the eBook Psychling Psychology.


Breaking Bad Habits (Introduction)

Bad habits, whether they are training, racing, or more general lifestyle behaviors, can interfere with safety, improvement, success, and happiness.

Most of us have habits we’d like to break. Why do we keep these bad habits? How can we break them? How can we establish good habits?


What We’re Talking About

●   You have planned to ride moderately, to help recover for your next interval workout. But you get caught up in the ride, race to the top of the hill, and contest every sprint point. You then are too tired to train at high intensity the next day. This has happened before.

●   On group training rides, you tend to ride in the middle of the road. You know it impedes traffic and is unsafe.


Rider in middle of roadway, avoiding the paceline.


●   You have a training log to record your workouts. But you can’t seem to get around to filling it out.

●   You don’t “finish the interval,” letting up a few seconds early. You don’t “finish the hill” or “finish the sprint,” letting up before the top or line.

●   You frequently forget items you need for racing or training. You have a list but you are not in the habit of using it.

●   You have more flat tires and mechanical problems than most of your teammates. You know you should pay attention to bicycle maintenance. You just never get around to doing so.

●   You are chronically late for races, and you don’t get a proper warm-up. You are also frequently late for other events, even work.

●   You arrive with plenty of time for a good warm-up. But you get into conversations with other riders, and miss the hard efforts necessary before your start.

●   You forget to drink regularly on training rides and in races. It impairs your performance.

●   You find yourself at the back of the pack in criteriums and road races. You know it is wiser to ride near the front.

●   You always chase breakaways that you needn’t or shouldn’t—someone else will do the job and you could save your energy. At the end of the race you’re toast.

●   Your mind wanders in the third quarter of a time trial; you lose focus. Downloading your heart-rate monitor to your PC, you see that your heart-rate recordings repeatedly show relatively large swings or drops in heart rate during the third quarter of time trials.

●   You tense your shoulders and upper body on rides and races; they sometimes ache afterwards.

●   You make a tactical error in a race and beat yourself up about it for days, months, even years after.

●   You drink too much alcohol the night before races, and feel mildly hung over at race time.

●   You party into the wee hours of the morning after races, effectively ruining your recovery and delaying training by several days.

●   You get up at the last possible moment and frequently don’t have time for a good breakfast. You bonk often in rides.

●   You smoke. You know you really shouldn’t but you can’t stop.

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