How to Reach Your Full Potential
"Just dream big. Go for it. There's nothing holding you back. You can have ups and downs, but if you believe in something, keep the faith; keep fighting. And don't let people put you down."
--Geraint Thomas, Tour de France winner at 32 years old
As humans, we are always looking for the most efficient ways to complete a task. Dishwashers, computers, airplanes, and microwaves are all perfect examples of how we have innovated in order to get things done more quickly.
In the digital age, things have become instantaneous. You no longer have to wait to go see a movie, you have millions of movies and TV shows that you can stream at the touch of a button. You do not have to wait to email someone until you get home, you can now use email from anywhere through your smartphone.
This way of living has begun to saturate our existence. We get fidgety whenever something takes longer than it should. We have become so used to things being automatic, that anything that does not conform to this way of living becomes a nuisance.
This has pervaded the realm of cycling. Many workouts these days are selling themselves as some kind of "magic bullet," that will allow you to see twice the gains in half the time. There is no magic bullet.
The only way to reach your potential is through patience and consistency.
Yes, it is true that if you are first starting out with cycling, you will see gains very quickly. But as time goes on, those gains become more diminished. Certain improvements in the human body can be seen relatively quickly, such as the ability to sprint. However, others take many years of dedication in order to be realized (i.e. your "engine").
The best musicians and artists in the world did not get to where they are by just watching a "how-to" video on Youtube. It took many years of practice and repetition in order for them to master their skills. It takes many years to develop the "muscle memory" in order to be able to develop these abilities. The same rings true for cycling.
The best way to get fast is not by some magic interval session. Consistency is the most important ingredient to realizing your full potential. It requires repeating training sessions for many years in order to reach your maximum potential. Think of your training as a house... to complete this house, you must build it brick by brick. Every single day of training, you are adding a brick to your house. With years of dedication-- you may end up with a mansion.
What training should you do, and when should you do it? A coach can help you to determine what direction you should head in as you build your house. It's important to make sure that each brick that you place fits the overall "theme" of the house. Additionally, there are lots of pitfalls that can tear down your house or slow it's completion. Having an accountable partner to guide you through this process is the best way to ensure that you will build your house the right way.
Something that inspires me is seeing that the best in the world are no different. There are of course the occasional phenoms (Looking at you, Remco Evenepoel), but many professional athletes do no see their shining moment until after decades of blood, sweat and tears.
Geraint Thomas, in in his first Tour de France finished 140th in 2007. It wasn't until after many years, that he finally found his shining moment by winning the Tour in 2018. He had built his mansion. It wasn't easy... but it was worth it.
Photo Credit: PA