As a former Royal Marines Commando, and life long friend of Bongo, I am no stranger to pushing myself through physical boundaries that have you believing you are going to die.
You have this inner dialogue where a whole conversation is going on between mind and body, you become two people, you argue with yourself and you always lose.
The reason you lose is because you argue.
One of my current roles as a performance coach is to guide teams of clients who are at the beginning of their ‘get fit’ journey. We are using fast walking (‘Yomping’), as a kind of ‘gateway drug’ to get people hooked on all things outdoors. Starting with the basics, low level rolling countryside (no load) and increasing distance covered over time. We are 3 weeks into training, with one group, and significant gains are being made.
During my last session one of the clients talked to me about how they had experienced a mild panic attack on a hill session the previous week. I had not been made aware that they had been experiencing them prior to the start of the course but was happy that they had shared this. We discussed the inner dialogue; below I offer my take on it.
First things first, your body is designed to give you physical warnings that will tell your head something has changed, you then process that information based upon your own experiences. If you have never pushed your body to this point, it’s a new experience.
‘A panic attack is an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. It is the rapid build-up of overwhelming physical sensations’
Most of these sensations can naturally occur during a session. For example, a pounding heartbeat, feeling faint, sweating, nausea (feeling sick), feeling unable to breathe, having shaky limbs, or feeling like your legs are turning to jelly. Latter stages of endurance sessions will leave you feeling like you’re not connected to your body. If you have little experience of processing these feelings it can be a bit overwhelming.
Just reading the list makes your heart beat faster; that in itself is a valid example of how the brain can inform the body.
Providing you have no medical conditions. Correcting your diet, using breathing techniques and getting to know your body’s limits at a realistic rate will enable to make continual gains both physically and mentally. You must always check in with the Doc before embarking on your ‘get fit’ journey.
Chest pains on the other hand are a clear indication to ‘back off’ and do some self reflective practice and seek professional advice.
Surely, the best advice you give will be the best advice you take, I realised this after the session and I wondered for a moment ‘had I pushed the client too hard?’ and, am I pushing myself enough in my personal training? (my inner dialogue, again!)
No, I don’t believe I was pushing them too hard. But I now know I need to challenge myself a bit more. I was content to think that both of us had received much to reflect upon in our quest to keep moving forward.
Last thoughts… If we wish to progress, both mentally and physically, the mind has to rule the body. Part of my inner dialogue has been stamped with the memory of a Royal Marine PTI screaming ‘Take control of your body!’ usually into someone else’s ear, and maybe on occasion into mine. A constant reminder of my past experiences.
Do not argue with your body, take control of it!
Another singlespeed adventure and another part of the country I have never ridden before. I was about to travel down on the Friday evening but the M5 was busy as usual so i loaded up the bongo wagon and had an early night to head off at the crack of dawn. Saturday soon came around and I was off like flash gordan, flying blind on a rocket cycle heading straight to Exmoor.
Once I arrived I soon found Café Aris (Pete Harris Mobile Home) and pitched the tent up and got ready for the Saturday ride around Exmoor with some old faces. It was great! Wild ponies, great views, coffee and cake and plenty of laughs. The only down side was Porlock bloody hill with one cog Ouch! I knew at that point that I needed to change my gearing.
The scott events are always a great atmosphere from the moment you see the orange arrows directing you to the event village at the Wantage . On arrival you always smile as you are about to mix and socialise with like-minded people that have a lot in common with yourself.
I arrived Saturday evening and hooked up with some old friends, first stop the bar! And a good old chin wag talking bikes and getting tipsy, whats not to to love!
The Cycle-tec always make you feel welcome and there are plenty of great companies supporting the event such as Scott, Hope, Fiberax and Top peak. The event itself has everything to offer from the mini marathon, midi and max marathon distances. So there is plenty of range to offer beginners to elite riders.
The morning of the race mountain bikers everywhere! Love it! The atmosphere is building and bikes are being checked over. I couldn’t stop thinking of the task in hand with one gear but after a bit of breaky and a lesson on how to put a tubeless tyre on without an air compressor from the legend that is Pete Harris I was set to go.
1-2-3 GO! And we are off……. The start was great as I was near the front but it soon came apparent why you are better off with gears over 80k as I was getting sucked up by everybody. Then the first climbs and the crunching of gears apart from myself and the other crazy few on single speed mountain bikes. I was pleasantly surprised how strong I was but happy all the same, Looks like winter training has paid off…..
It was a hot day and a fast pace over the chalk lands of the Chiltern Hills but great fun and great training for the up and coming 24hr solo race at this years Mountain Mayhem.
I would recommend if you have never tried a Scott Mtb Marathon before, that you put it on your bucket list and get yourself down to one for the whole weekend. Great atmosphere! Great organisation! And Great Riding.
See you at Dartmoor…….
This year I have set myself the personal challenge of competing at the last ever Mountain Mayhem 24hr mountain bike endurance event in June. I will be riding solo for the full 24 hrs on a single speed mountain bike. It will be my biggest challenge to date and I am under no illusion about how hard it will be, both mentally and physically.
As it is a pretty epic challenge, and the last ever Mountain Mayhem, I thought it would be great idea to raise some money for a pretty epic local charity. The charity I have chosen is Rainbows Hospice for children and young people based in Loughborough, Leicestershire.
Sadly, some children don’t live long enough. Rainbows is here for them and the people who love them most. By making a donation, you’ll help us be there . Please Donate Now
To learn more about the work they do at Rainbows please visit
I will also be posting up-dates with 12 weeks to go and
starting a blog providing news on how my training is going and a write-up about the event itself.
Please visit the web links for more info on the challenge
and the charity and please donate. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Marc-Stapleford1
#OneLifeRideiT #24Hour #Solo #SingleSpeed
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