STRESS and the Performance athlete
TotalCyclist is in the process of moving the business and lot’s of plates are up in the air. I have learned over the years that stress can be a huge part of the move. You add vacation for staff, injured athletes, the inability to serve our clients for 2 weeks, in the PainCave, and more.. sparked this post.
You try to ignore one of the biggest impacts on your performance. “It doesn’t exist”, “I got this”, “I’ve been down this road before”. Sure you have. Think back to when it all went down. STRESS can be a huge killer of mojo for any endurance athlete. You had a hard time bouncing back quickly from it.
By definition, stress is a reaction by the body and brain to meet the demands of some challenge or threat. Let’s start with the effects of stress on the brain. Stress hormones such as cortisol (THAT stuff is yucky) have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and impair these important cognitive processes. Consequently, high levels of stress can negatively affect most aspects of human cognition; the key ones being attention, memory and decision-making.
Stress can be internal and external.
Internal: Your ability to be able to process quickly. Communication starts to fail. Your ability to multi-task crumbles.
External: Tight body. Non performance body. Not nimble. Not efficient. Just not really anything good.
What happens in most scenarios is that we let all the external issues galvanize into one big FIREBALL of chaos. This chaos invades your work, home and training space. I’ve tried over the years to keep things simple. I tell our athletes K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid). But, there are times when it just happens. STRESS overwhelms you. Paralyzes you. Then everything goes into the tank.
I have fallen back to occasionally watching this on how to keep it in the NOW. Give it a watch. Hope you like it.