Distraction Techniques

Anyone can indulge me with some good ways of distracting the mind and letting it ponder during sweet spot training? I got YouTube on and TR but during the 2 hour sessions with last few minutes of the 20 minute sweet spot intervals like Wright Peak -2 etc I need some more Inspo :rofl:

Wondering if you guys can help me with some of your techniques :rofl:

Specifically any mental games/techniques of distraction as want to be able to apply to real life cycling situations where YouTube or a TV would not be at my disposal :rofl:

Not entertainment as such but I often do counting and mental maths during efforts. Calculating what fraction of time I have done and what fraction I have left takes my mind away from the pain. Really tests you when the effort is not a whole minute in length ! :rofl:


I just go to my lizard brain…


Counting, singing (silently to yourself), daydreaming, focusing on making perfect circles are things that work for me.


Decompartmentalizing the intervals into their own sub-intervals is definetly one good way of getting through it :rofl: :+1:


Lizard brain - please explain :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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There are lots of racing vids on youtube. I find them motivating, and uncomplicated enough that I can watch during exertion.

Paris-Roubaix 2016, Maty Hayman’s glorious victory, is my favorite. The end makes me cry sometimes tho


All taken aboard - cheers :grin:

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where you only see straight ahead and hear your heart and feel your breath…coming from a background of running ultramarathons and doing 15 mile treadmill workouts i learned to put myself there :slight_smile:


Fair play? Thats a technique ill defiantly have to practice and perfect myself :+1: totally in the zone :sunglasses:

I find comedy series on netflix or prime the greatest distractor, watched trailer park boys from beginning to end, best riding companion ever!

Some of these Asian race videos are great, putting you right in the action…

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One thing I try is to ‘go into’ the discomfort, if that make any sense. I have mild scoliosis, and pre Covid had regular massage to loosen up the muscles in my back. By far and away the best masseur I ever had said ‘just acknowledge the pain and don’t fight back’. I find the same with horrible intervals etc. Just accept it hurts, think ‘this means it’s doing something worthwhile’ and I also try to enjoy the experience of pushing myself to new speeds/watts/boundaries. But acceptance is the key IMO.


I sort of approach your question as two questions: How to motivate during long 2-hour sweet spot workouts, and how to manage the final ~2 minutes of a longer 20-minute interval.

For longer workouts, I find eating becomes important, so eating a GU or an energy drink can help. I find shifting from more serious podcasts or Netflix to motivational music also makes the ends of longer workouts easier. For the final few minutes of a long interval, the workout text can be helpful, and energetic music can help. Intentionally remembering past races or athletic highlights can also help. I know that for the last Ramp Test I did, having the “Live FTP” showing was really motivational, so I wonder if there’s some kind of similar feature that one could toggle on/off that could help motivate during workouts like you describe.

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Music, daydreaming. Actually think the space to daydream is one of the things that I enjoy about cycling. I find watching stuff adds to the mental load and also adds to the amount of faff before each workout. I need less faff, so no more ‘entertainment’ for me.


Zwift and music appropriate for the workout intensity for me. There are plenty of studies showing music can be motivational and zwift isn’t a distraction for me, it gives me a purpose.

I don’t try to distract or disassociate from the discomfort but I don’t wallow in it either. I think it is important to know what different intensities feel like as it helps calibrate my RPE. If I’m hammering outside or on a group ride I’ve already felt those feelings before and know how long I can hold that effort level for. And if I know what the ride is going to be like (big day in the mountains, specific group rides, etc.) I know what kind of efforts I will have to put in and the feelings I will experience before the ride even starts.


I often try to dial in my RPE and what it feels like as the interval progresses, aiming to hit my targets more by feel than watching the display. Sometimes I’ll deliberately not watch the screen for a short period and check how close I end up to the target power- which also has the benefit of forcing me to stop staring at the countdown :stuck_out_tongue: It’s definitely helped me ride smoother at high outputs without bouncing around the place chasing numbers as much, and I think being able to tune into my effort level/fatigue has helped me race more intelligently and finish long rides feeling stronger.

Conversely, if you’re used to riding in erg, switching to resistance mode and having to “follow the power” and make those minor adjustments can certainly occupy a bit more of your attention. I’m also a fan of spending chunks of time riding in aero or at different cadences- I ride exclusively indoors over winter so those kinds of skills often get neglected. I remember a recent podcast episode mentioning that something about being in an aero position makes it way easier to “zone out,” and that’s been pretty consistent with my experience.

I’ve also planned all my meals for the week, figured out my budget and watched uni lectures. I’m not any more organised (RIP) but at least it’s helpful in the moment…

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Thanks for the detailed breakdown - I always stay on top of nutrition during a workout and calculate to make sure I’m not in deficient & on youtube i’m always playing motivational music (drum and bass😍)

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This will sound morbid but its what helps me, I think about lost loved ones and imagine myself having a conversation with family that are no longer here. Works very well for me as I find it very peaceful.

So basically I speak with the dead!!


For me it is a sort of meditative exercise… even at VO2max… Although that is the banging head off brick wall school of meditative reward… feels great when it stops!

I love that point in the long enduro rides where it all goes away… You have been clock watching, not feeling great, struggling and can’t believe you are only 40 minutes into this long ride. Then suddenly it is 4 hours later… luv it.

[Top distraction tip]Just keep repeating the mantra; “Boop Boop Beeeep”

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