Your mojo: A user’s guide

Mojo {Eng, noun, singular}: 

Intangible object, sensation and emotion referred to by endurance athletes, to describe their form, lustre and love for the sport. A mental phenomena directly correlated to physical performance and ability.

A feeling of strength, speed and effortlessness. Directly proportional to improving fitness and desire to train.

i.e.: ‘I’ve lost my mojo’; ‘I’ve got my mojo back’

NOT: A description of sexual potency, as utilised by fictional character Austin Powers (ref: Austin Powers, a popular yet poor film released 1997. Feat. Michael Myers, Dir. Jay Roach)

 

Your mojo: A user’s guide

A mojo is something that cannot be proactively built, but can be effortlessly lost. With improving form, sunny skies, new training methods or upcoming events, comes your mojo. It is a product of other things.

A mojo can be lost. With that loss comes an overwhelming feeling of woe and helplessness. Legs feel heavy, the desire to saddle up diminishes, the love for your bike dwindles. Times are bad. Very bad.

However, there are factors that can mitigate a decline in mojo and, if applied rapidly and effectively – before that intangible awesomeness is totally lost, can reverse the slip into the abyss.

They are set out below.

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How to protect your mojo

  • Have a rest
    • Your mojo is a mental thing, but it is directly linked to your legs. Your legs feel good, your mojo is up. Your legs feel bad, your mojo run away to hide. If your mojo had been flying high and suddenly vanishes, the only explainable cause is that you’re training too hard. Your form doesn’t suddenly vanish, and neither does your mojo. It’s a temporary loss provoked by fatigue.
    • Sit on your sofa and chill for a day or two. Do something different to take your mind off it. See friends, watch films, get out of town. Y’know.
  • New roads
    • It’s very easy to fall into the trap of riding the same roads time after time. You can switch off on your ‘home roads’; you know every turn, every pot hole, every little pitch in gradient. You need not worry about navigating, allowing you to enter the wonderful mediatative zen of a long rumble through the lanes, or the adrenaline and grit fuelled focus of a set of intervals.
    • However, with familiarity grows contempt, the seven year itch so to speak. The unexpected brings surprises and rewards; a venture down new roads brings fresh zip to the legs, new desire to attack, more lust for the ride.
    • Fear not getting lost. I bet if you’re reading this you’ve got a garmin. Only an idiot gets lost if they have a garmin. And hey, of you do get lost… it’s all more fun. Remember what it was like when you were a kid on a bike, going into the woods and getting hopelessly lost on your first MTB, and then not telling your mum about it? It was fun, remember?!
  • New methods
    • The months prior to a big ride or race in the diary can lead to endless mile munching if your striving to replicate distances, or barrages of interval if racing. Both of these get dull pretty quickly. Forsaking a ride or two of this specific training for doing a type of riding totally different to the norm, i.e., intervals rather than LSD (long steady distance) and vice versa will refresh you and make you want to fight on in the next sessions. And that’s more valuable than any event-focussed spin will ever be.
  • New training partners
    • If, like me, you tend to train alone, preferring the flexibility and ultimate selfishness of doing what you want, when you want, boredom can be a factor if you’re going long. Although it may not be your usual choice, consider going out with some mates or a local club. The pace and workout may not be to your liking, but if faster, then it will make you stronger, and if slower, it will give you the opportunity to sit up and make friends. Either way, you’re going to feel rewarded and satisfied.
  • Turbo – yes or no?
    • NEVER go on the turbo if your mojo is waning. Wait until you feel rested and you’re starting to feel yourself again. A turbo session if you’re not sufficiently pumped for it (unless it’s a recovery session) will only crush you.
    • However – if you’re feeling better, the mental battle and sense of euphoria on completion of an indoor workout can do wonders for your mental state. Maybe test the water with a nice relaxed outdoor spin first; if the spring is back in the legs and the motivation back in the mind, steel yourself and get on the turbo. With every drip of sweat and battle of will you accumulate, the more you will feel that strength and desire for your bike return.

REMEMBER: Look after your mojo, and your mojo will look after you.

 

 

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