I am in the base phase of training, rebuilding and preparing for the 2013 round of the 24hr solo world champs. Coming back from some reasonably serious illness means that things seem tough for a perfectionist like me.
It's hard work, it's boring at times and is going to be done for months yet. It means the day to day local racing is done when I am belted and it is prep for something that is still so far away. It is tempting to go easy the day before local races or skip sessions to focus on what is in the right now. The desire to do well at an unimportant race that is right now is stronger than remembering the real game is October. Does this happen to you? Why am I so tempted, every time???
There is a simple explanation for this. There is psychological theory that supports all of this. The subjective value of a reward is affected by temporal factors. It is the basis for what we call 'impulsivity'. In simple terms let's say we were choosing between a gummy bears and and sour worms. We choose the gummy bears because we like them more. But now, let's say we could have the sour worms right now, and we have to wait 5 months for the gummy bears. Typically people choose the sour worms. We generally end up deciding something that we can have right now is more valuable than something that is a long way away.
In understanding how our brains typically work it helps us to be aware and shape our behaviour. There is some good news! Specifically engaging the medial PreFrontal Cortex allows us to temper this behaviour. WTF I hear you say??! It's simple - i f we stop and THINK about it, we can reassign the appropriate values and make the right choice to align to our goals.
So I am doing the work. On the bike, and in my head :) Hope you are too!