What do you do when the going gets tough?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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pjclinch
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby pjclinch » 2 Sep 2015, 3:12pm

beardy wrote:The absence of any "get out" tends to work quite well for me. No choice but to carry on going.


Indeed.
The worst case of having to keep on on a cycle tour was at the end of our planned campsite had changed to static caravans only, the next one had shut, and heading on it then started to rain as our legs were past their best, and there was a B&B so we stopped there. That wasn't exactly a hardship.

Worst case of having to keep on on a ski tour was a broken binding in the middle of a Norwegian wilderness with no shelter until we got to the next hut. Could have gone for the impromptu snow hole and survival bags and minimal emergency food, and would have had we got to the probable exhaustion stage, but as it was just keeping on trudging was the better option so that's what we did. I've never been so tired in my life as when we arrived, but when the only option is obviously much worse than keeping going I don't really have a problem with keeping going.

The trick I can't do so well is keeping going when I really don't have to (like coming across that B&B in example 1).

Typical UK/NL cycle touring (where I've toured to date) doesn't result in high death potential if you stop without shelter. Other places may, and that does indeed concentrate the mind wonderfully...

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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NUKe
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby NUKe » 2 Sep 2015, 3:39pm

mental maths.
percentage to go, percentage done, chunk it up break it down, play with the numbers, use the stat which feels most comfortable to my brain. So I might be sayingto myself 40% done, rather than 60% to go you find that calculating the figures in a particular way makes you feel better. work out things like 5% is 3 miles then concentrate on doing another 5% rather than focussing othe the total miles
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maxcherry
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby maxcherry » 2 Sep 2015, 3:43pm

I rip my shirt open and find my inner 'Brian Blessed' (such a dream boat 8) ) and carry on.
Only stopping for a cup of tea or a really nice view :oops:
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Tangled Metal
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby Tangled Metal » 2 Sep 2015, 4:00pm

I have no problem in coping with the tough, I just hear my Dad's admonishments when i was a kid about how I gave up to easily. I am stubborn as hell and still love to prove him wrong. i have since gone on to challenge walks all of which I have succeeded within the allowed tine limit. 50 miles walking in 16 hours is tough but I know I can do it now so it will not hold any sway over me.

For me it to have an internal soundtrack going on where I have done it, if that makes sense. Look to goals you can see, if necessary right down to the mark you can actually see ahead of you or to a checkpoint (real or one you have identified on the map). Complete the tough event in these small chunks.

Whatever you are doing I think we have all assumed it is an endurance event of some kind. My first thing to do would be prepare for it through exercise and preparing the kit properly (even down to trial runs at distance with each kit component and change kit as the evidence of these trials shows. Preparation of body, mind and kit. The mind bit is really about studying maps and any information you can get on the challenge. Visualize each bit or section and use those sections as short term goals. Having these smaller chunks firmly set into your mind can mean you are concentrating on the next section and forgetting about the longer event as a whole.

There will come a point that you are at your limit. This limit will be your mind (if it really is tough). IMO that is down to you and how you work. What I mean is you can not make someone truly tough in mind only give them tricks to get by (such as splitting it into smaller targets or goals). At some point it is down to whether you can just keep going, get over the pain, the difficulties in the terrain/weather/other conditions.

The best you can do is expose yourself to these challenges and develop up to cope with the really big events. For example 25 mile challenge walks (piece of urine really but hard for someone who has never walked further than 2 miles round the shops on sales day) then up to 30, 40, 50 and 100 mile walks. Start small to aim big. This can help you become tough enough for the big event.

As far as load carrying goes, why bother? Light kit allows you to carry more food for longer legs but at the end of the day if your kit is 20kg without food you are always battling the kit (walking/backpacking example).

One thing to point out, there is some kind of evidence that people with conditions such as ADHD are better able to cope with extreme conditions/events. I am sure there is a lot to the way the mind works. I have come across people who just have the natural propensity to get on with it no matter what it is. I am kind of like that but I have known people who are more so than me.

One last thing to think about. Get past your tipping point. What I mean is there will be a point when you have invested so much into the challenge that it becomes impossible for you to give up. Well impossible is a bit too strong a word but you get my meaning, you have too much invested in succeeding to be defeated without giving it all. If you do fail after passing this tipping point (and it can happen that you have nothing left to give) then TBH there is no shame.

One last trick to the sectioning of the larger event is to have you mind working out your progress. If you have gone into it all right down to timings then something as simple as working out how far you are into each segment and how you are doing in time wise gives something for your mind to concentrate on. For me it is about working out approximate speed and whether that is fast enough for a mini-goal. Making adjustments on the fly to meet these targets along with the calculations in the head seem to keep me going. Having someone to talk to or music playing through a earphones might help. Basically whatever takes your mind of the trudge and drudgery of the challenge.

BruceJ
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby BruceJ » 2 Sep 2015, 5:07pm

We tandemists quite often burst into song towards the end of a long hard day ....... good for team morale and, of course, breathing.

skicat
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby skicat » 2 Sep 2015, 5:19pm

Bruce J wrote:We tandemists quite often burst into song towards the end of a long hard day ....... good for team morale and, of course, breathing.


We soloists do that as well. With the advantage that there's no-one around to complain about the racket.
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby mnichols » 2 Sep 2015, 9:35pm

does anyone use mantras?

I often just count the pedal strokes up to 10 and then start over. I find if mind is doing that then it can't feel sorry for itself at the same time? works best on long climbs

or sometimes I use a repetitive positive mantra on the down strokes - feeling good, feeling strong, feeling happy, etc

How do you distract your mind from going into a negative spiral?

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby gottogetfit » 2 Sep 2015, 11:40pm

I'll need this thread tomorrow. I'm doing the Coast & Castles. The weather forecast is for 24mph head winds and heavy rain :(

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby Tangled Metal » 3 Sep 2015, 10:54am

For me it is mental arithmetic that is related to what I am doing.

Other than that I sometimes sing a few songs as this helps to make sure I am working at the right amount of effort. If I am struggling to sing it means I need to slow down a little or I will not keep it up. Unfortunately I often end up forgetting the lyrics to songs apart from snippets of a few cool songs and loads of totally un-cool ones. I can now sing pretty much the theme tunes to most CeeBeebies programmes but only a few lines of a few Clash and Stones songs. Also the odd Bob Marley songs. Also a few alternative Xmas songs since I've been training someone's toddler these ready for Xmas! :twisted:

It is a good policy to use distraction techniques, but these tend to be personal as to what works. I find if I am tired and struggling I struggle with mental arithmetic which then makes me want to get them right more and more. This takes more concentration than normally and suits me. Singing is only a temporary distraction to test effort for me, but arithmetic works well. Stupid things too like trying to work out geometric puzzles I have made up based on things I have seen along the way, but especially working out timing estimates and speed estimates (doesn't work well with modern cycling GPS gadgets as it is all there in accurate form but on walking or running events it works well with the distance markers).

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby AlaninWales » 3 Sep 2015, 12:20pm

mnichols wrote:does anyone use mantras?

I often just count the pedal strokes up to 10 and then start over. I find if mind is doing that then it can't feel sorry for itself at the same time? works best on long climbs

or sometimes I use a repetitive positive mantra on the down strokes - feeling good, feeling strong, feeling happy, etc

How do you distract your mind from going into a negative spiral?

Yep, when it's a question of just keeping the pedals turning, I'll count a short sequence repeatedly, or chant a repetitive ditty (doesn't matter what really) - or combine the two :) " one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, all good children go to heaven". Any distraction that keeps the brain from concentrating on the burning legs :lol: .

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby honesty » 3 Sep 2015, 12:28pm

I usually just stop, have a cuppa and a piece of cake. Relax, destress, evaluate what needs to be done. Set some micro goals (ok 5 miles til this sight etc.) - parcel up the remaining ride into easily manageable bits. Then head back off. To be honest though, as I usually plan my small tours to the minutest of details before hand only an absolute catastrophe is going to put me outside me ability.

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby Vorpal » 3 Sep 2015, 1:25pm

I know someone who recites sonnets. Loudly. :D

I sometimes count pedal strokes, or chant 'I think I can' over and over to the rhythm of the pedals, like the Little Engine that Could.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby pjclinch » 3 Sep 2015, 2:15pm

AlaninWales wrote:I'll count a short sequence repeatedly, or chant a repetitive ditty (doesn't matter what really) - or combine the two :) " one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, all good children go to heaven".


"1,000 mile to go, 1000 miles to go, we'll ride a mile then rest a while, 999 miles to go (etc.)"
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 3 Sep 2015, 2:16pm

A bit like Vorpal, I chant 'I think I can, I know I can' and 'I can do this, I am doing this' or 'It's not the North Face of the Eiger, is it?'. If i have run out or am running out of energy I stop, eat and reflect on what I have done thus far and past achievements

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Re: What do you do when the going gets tough?

Postby Farawayvisions » 3 Sep 2015, 2:52pm

Chanting is good, especially if it's on a hike-bike-stage. I say, 'I am strong and my bike is light,' over and over. I know it's codswollop, but it distracts from the tough moments and I sing a lot. Being away from loved ones is one of the toughest things I've had to contend with - and I dealt with those times by looking around me and asking myself what motivated me to do what I was doing. I journal my emotions and that helps too. Hunger makes me feel quite low, hanger is a real thing for me, so I try to ensure I'm well stocked.

Times do get tough, whether you're at home doing run-of-the-mill things or on an action packed adventure. It's life. It builds character. You learn what works and what doesn't and you get to choose one of two states - either you're happy or you're not.

Do what makes you happy and the tough times will be few. Be kind to yourself and the world will be kind to you.