Your best "self-talk"?

I started my build phase and MAN IT’S HARD.

What is your favorite self-talk when the work is tough? These VO2 max workouts all feel like I am at the point of failure, but I am eeking through them! I am feeling proud and teaching myself that YES, you CAN do it! Repeatedly!

Today during the 3rd (of 5) 9 minute intervals of Budawang +5 I told myself:

“You said you are willing to put in the work, RIGHT NOW is when you put in that work! 3 minutes left in this interval. 3 minutes to prove you are willing to work!”

Sometimes I feel like I am wavering for 10-15 seconds and part of my brain says “Welp, that’s it! Throw in the towel.” My response today was:
“10 sloppy seconds doesn’t mean it’s over! Get 1 solid minute together to get back on track. Just 1 minute right on power. OK, that was a great minute…back on track! 1 more minute. 1 more minute”. Towards the end it becomes 10 seconds at a time.

I saw a competitors Strava a couple days ago and saw they bailed on their last set of intervals. I told myself “I complete my workouts and that’s why I have the advantage”. When I start struggling, I try to draw on that. I remember that I can’t complete the workout full workout if I don’t complete just this next minute.

What are some of your best self-talk?


I just like to think about how I’m the only one nailing those intervals right there and then. Everyone else is failing them. Seems simple but works for me.

I also remember watching a pro race on TV years ago. Breakaway is out on a miserable day. A rider (wish I could remember who or even what team) did his turn on the front, pulled off, punched himself in the face three or four times, then got back in the rotation.

I don’t suggest it but it could work.


LMAO I would love to see this race…hahahahahaha

Discussed here:

And here:


If you’re talking that much, you aren’t pedalling hard enough. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Self motivation for me is hardest getting into a training session, not during it.

For VO2max intervals, unless it’s my first few of the season or I’m out of practice, if my body is saying that then I should probably listen to it.

For longer 3hr+ sessions motivation can get hard but usually comes and goes in waves, so I mentally break it into 1hr chunks “Come on, the first hour is easy…one more hour and you’re past halfway…hey look another hour and you’re finished…Now if I could get output for four hours like that on race day…:+1:

I disagree here. I’m finishing up GBMV (week 7) that has plenty of V02 max intervals that increase in intensity and duration week after week. It’s a constant mental battle that I need to win towards the end of each interval. Today I’ll be holding intervals of 3 min repeats at 122%. Early season or not as the intervals stack up it challenges the mind. When my legs are burning and cadence is screaming to slow down, every interval is a mental battle to make it another 30 secs. Then as soon as I finish I wonder how am I supposed to do that again.

I use a whole host of mantras during the interval and positive self talk during recovery to get me through. The book “The Brave Athlete” and “Let Your Mind Run” have left me with useful notes and quotes that I use before and during the workouts to get my mind right. Because when your mind tells you to quit, you’ve only used about 40% of your bodies capabilities.

This is a different kind of mental struggle than V02 Max intervals. Neither is easier than the other, it just affects your mind differently and self talk changes accordingly.

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I think the positive self talk that you are doing is great. Also add to yourself that “it’s only 3 minutes!” Before you know it, the pain will be over. There’s an author named Jesse Itzler, and he taught me “Always think of tomorrow”. On a more micro scale, always think of how you’ll feel if you quit early. You’ll be so pissed when the pain is gone. Just keep pedaling. And like other’s have said, many people won’t put themselves through that torture.

Physiologically, make sure you are going hard enough to get the adaptation needed. Also, 95% vo2max metric in wko4 is what you want to get towards. Don’t hold back to make the full interval…make sure you are going hard enough!

If you don’t use wko4, ask your coach to check and make sure you’re going hard enough. If you don’t have a coach, I can show you online sometime if you like.

Good luck with the intervals!

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Tripper’s refrain has seen me through many the final minute or final seconds of many an interval over these last thirty years…


Death Crawl scene from Facing the Giants - YouTube it.

5 minutes of great motivational chat - I’ve had it it queued up to play when I hit the 117/18 minute mark in a ramp test.

"You give me your best! Your keep going! That’s it.
Do your very best! Your very best! Your very best! Keep moving Brock! That’s it! That’s it! That’s it!

Keep going! Don’t quit on me! Keep going!

Keep driving it! Keep your knees off the ground! That’s it! Your very best!
Don’t quit till you got nothing left!"

I don’t talk to myself, rather I imagine a scenario.

Last October I rode the last race of my season. The weather was shocking and I wasn’t on form. Needless to say, I got shot out the back in no time. I can still see the pack creeping further and further up the road.

I worked like a dog to catch back on but never did. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to just getting off the bike. That is where I send my mind when it gets really tough. It took mental toughness to just keep pushing those pedals. The work I do in my garage is building physical toughness in an effort to try and ensure that it never happens again.


Personally I start before the pain.

I convince myself (sometimes poorly) to look forward to the pain and welcome it as that is when the benefit comes.


From How Bad Do You Want It:

  • Compared to suppression, acceptance reduces the unpleasantness of pain without reducing the pain itself. “This is going to hurt, but no worse than before.“

This is outstanding

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Well I’ve got 5x3 myself later so I’ll let you know how the internal voice goes. :slight_smile:

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@RobertK that’s brilliant man! :laughing:

When I want to quit I think about my competition not quitting. Seems to keep me going every time.


Of course I’m not actually talking. I am making some random grunting noises though.

I am a firm believer that my body is constantly lying to me in order to preserve itself. I say SHUT UP BODY AND DO WHAT I TELL YOU!


+1 to this.

When the positive stuff doesn’t work for me anymore – and it works quite a bit – I think about a failure that gnaws at me. I put myself back there, and it gives me the same feeling of shame, frustration…but also determination…that I felt in the moment.

There is a hill in Northern Michigan, in Leelanau County called Trumbull Rd. – it is positively Flandrien in its suddenness, sharpness and selectiveness. It only took me 2 minutes 50 seconds to get up and over it in my last “A” event. Problem is, it took the leaders of the race about 2 minutes and 30 seconds to get up and over. And just like that – 27 miles into my 60 mile race, I was unceremoniously spit out the back, and I had 33 miles left to think about it. Alone.

I can – and do – picture what that looked like and what it felt like. I was fully on my limit. I was desperately trying to go harder, but there was no other gear to get into. I was maxed out. And I could see and feel them pulling away. I picture that a lot when I’m deep in the well during a workout.

Trumbull Rd. is the reason I joined TrainerRoad. I am determined not to get dropped this year.

Harness the bad stuff. Use it. Use everything you can think of :slight_smile:


This thread is great! My “trick” is to think about all my DNFs last season which tends to add immediate resilience. :sweat_smile:

Strange to say it, but it took me giving up repeatedly and having to live with the disappointment afterwards to be able to channel that energy towards improvement.