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Age is Not an Excuse: Why Mental Toughness Matters More Than Ever

"I'm not as young as I used to be," "I don't heal like I used to," and so on. As we age, it's common to hear these phrases as an excuse for no longer progressing. But age is just a number, and it shouldn't hold us back from achieving our goals. In this post, we'll delve into the importance of mental toughness in training and how it can help us continue to grow and develop as riders.

Mountain biker on Jack the Ripper, Pemberton BC

The Illusion of Truth

The "age excuse" often comes from middle-aged men and women approaching their 40s. But what happens physiologically to men as they age? Their testosterone levels drop, which affects their confidence and aggressive approach. However, this explanation doesn't hold for women. So why do we still fall into the trap of using age as an excuse? It's called the illusion of truth - the more we repeat something, the more we believe it. If we tell ourselves enough times that with age comes regression, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Mental Fortitude and Elite Athletes

As women who ride, we've had to work on mental fortitude from day one since we can't rely on testosterone and arrogance to get us through. So as we age, shouldn't our mental toughness be stronger than ever? Elite level athletes - men and women - train for mental fortitude to compete at a high level. It makes sense that both genders enter their middle age with a good, strong mental game.


The Missing Piece

But what about hormones? While testosterone levels drop in men, women's estrogen and progesterone levels drop as they age. The surprising result? Women actually have more testosterone as they get older. So what does this mean for female riders? It's time to change our self-talk and recognize that age is not and has never been an excuse. Instead, we should be getting better and stronger as we age.

The Bottom Line

It's time to work on our self-talk and how we visualize our riding experience. Our beliefs and attitudes can form our reality. Age should not hold us back - it's just a number. Mental toughness matters more than ever, and it's something we can train and develop over time. So let's focus on our mental game and continue to progress as riders, no matter our age.

  1. Positive self-talk: To cultivate a more positive self-talk, you can start by paying attention to your inner dialogue and replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations. For example, instead of saying "I can't do this jump," you could say "I do this jump with ease." You can also try using visualization techniques to reinforce positive self-talk.

  2. Visualization techniques: Visualization involves creating a mental image of the desired outcome or performance. You can use visualization techniques to prepare for a ride, visualize yourself executing a specific maneuver or overcoming a challenging obstacle. Visualization helps to build confidence, reduce anxiety and improve overall performance. To use visualization techniques, you can follow these steps:

    • Find a quiet place to sit and relax.

    • Close your eyes and visualize the ride they want to have.

    • Use all your senses to imagine the experience, such as the feel of the wind, the sound of your tires on the dirt, or the sight of the jump.

    • Visualize yourself successfully completing the ride and achieving your goals.

    • Repeat the visualization technique regularly to reinforce positive self-talk and build confidence.

By incorporating these strategies and techniques into your riding routine, you can cultivate a positive mindset, build confidence, and improve your overall riding experience .

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