In life there are many lists, such as the to do list or shopping list, but The List!, in our cycling group at least, takes on a whole new meaning. This List, depending on the rider, the coach and the way it’s used can be a huge motivational tool, a simple topic for banter and conversation or, on the flip side, a negative focus resulting in wasted mental energy and effort.
So, what do I mean by The List?
Well, take a group of riders who train and race together on a regular basis. For them The List could be the names of riders on other teams or from other clubs who they’ve identified that they want to beat the next season, or even the names of riders in their own training group who they want to do better than when race time comes around.
Or, as has happened many a time while ambling along on a ride, someone will put in a cheeky dig only for another rider – once they’ve regained their composure and breath – to pipe up, ‘Mate you’re on My List now!’ In this context The List becomes a fun yet motivational tool – a light hearted threat with an unknown undercurrent – just enough to keep everyone on their toes and ensure no slacking occurs over the winter months!
The List doesn’t have to be solely for racing cyclist. For Sportive riders The List may be particular events or distances throughout the season that a rider wants to complete, perhaps with the aim being to better their own performance from a previous year. These riders may also have a longer term List such as aiming to ride an Etape stage or complete a multi-day Sportive event or some sort of cycling tour.
So, when is The List a bad idea?
Often it’s much easier for us to put far too much focus on things we can’t control rather than actually working with those things that as individuals we can influence ourselves. In this instance The List becomes the be all and end all, as in,’ I must beat that rider at all costs’, leading to one to focus far more on things that are out of the rider’s control.
At the end of the day if you and your coach work hard on improving you as a bike rider over a period of time then The List should take care of itself. You should be in the best position possible to knock other riders/teams off your List. This doesn’t happen overnight however as most people’s lists will evolve in keeping with their goal setting and have short, medium and long term motivators to be struck off along the way.
With the winter looming and the long dark nights upon us have a think about your List – who’s on it and why? Then have another think and work out whether these aims are realistic. If your season PB is a 24mile TT then can you really expect to knock Bradley Wiggins off your List by the end of next season? If you currently hold a 4th cat licence are you really going to go head to head with Mark Cavendish in a sprint anytime soon? If you are at the stage where you can ride 20 miles at 11mph are you really ready to attempt a multi-day Sportive in the Alps or Pyrenees in less than 6 months time?
Whilst F1 Coaching believes ‘life should have no limits’ and that it is possible to work over a period of time to achieve any goal you set yourself we also recommend that you choose your List wisely. By doing so it can then become one of your best motivational tools to get you through those dark, dingy winter months when you’re stuck in a garage or shed sweating it out on a turbo trainer, wondering what it’s all about. Choose your List unrealistically and you will only be setting yourself up for a fall and will find it hard to come out of the winter months with enough motivation and mojo to even make it to the race/event season!
Comment below to share your List making experiences and don’t forget you can always have a joke list to provide hours of endless ribbing and banter to while away those winter base training hours!