5 Oct

Very interesting- The NY times is reporting on some recent research on the mental component to athlete limitations.

In short, elite cyclists used a computrainer to establish power and time for an all-out 4,000 meter time trial. The cyclists were then split up and one group was told that they would be racing against a computer generated competitor putting out 2% more power- this group could not match the effort of their virtual competitor. However, the other group was deceived and told that the computer generated cyclist was them at thier established max effort (in fact, the computer image was outputting 2% more power and 1% more speed than the cyclist had ever done before). In this situation the cyclist was able to match the computer image and go faster and harder than they ever had before. Very interesting stuff and a huge clue that our limits are heavily influenced by mental factors.

Interestingly, money did not motivated the cyclists to go faster or harder in similar experiments. Expectations of ourselves seem to motivate us more than anything else previously considered a motivator….

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