The Power of Self-Talk

The Deluded Cyclist

Self-talk, simply talking to yourself, is an aspect of cycling which can have positive and negative effects on your performance.

Negative self-talk, saying things to yourself such as “I don’t have the legs today” or “I won’t make it up that hill” can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Positive self-talk, on the other hand, can have a great effect on performance. A recent study showed that positive self-talk can reduce time taken to complete a 10km time trial. The study is nicely summarised here by Yann Le Meur.

Another study showed that positive self-talk can increase time to exhaustion, summarised again by Yann Le Meur here.

Perceived Exertion (how hard an activity feels) is important in endurance sports. Reducing it through positive self-talk is a great way to improve performance. Swapping in a few phrases such as “I’m flying today” “I feel strong” and “My legs feel good” at…

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