woman cycling by a lake

Can this pro cyclist’s tips for success help you?

World champion cyclist Lizzie Armitstead shares the work and life tips that made her a global success…

By Asda Good Living, 27 April 2016
Can this pro cyclist’s tips for success help you?

Nothing seems to faze world champion cyclist Lizzie Armitstead. She won the hearts of the nation when she became the first Brit to scoop a medal at London 2012 (she won silver in the road race) and now she’s expected to win gold at Rio 2016 this summer. 'I enjoy pressure and I thrive in a competitive environment', she told Good Living, continuing: 'I’m really looking forward to it'.

I thrive in a competitive environment

Lizzie, 27, who will take part in the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire from 29th April until 1st May, only tried cycling because a boy at her school told her he could beat her. British Cycling’s Olympic talent team were visiting their school in Otley, Yorkshire, and Lizzie cycled faster than her male adversary. She’s now the reigning world, commonwealth and national road race champion.

Here Lizzie shares the secrets of her success:

Whenever I’m nervous before a race…

I try to override my emotion with logical thoughts. I’ve seen a team psychologist in the past but I haven’t used one personally. I’m quite straightforward I suppose and don’t feel I need coaching through it.

I always find motivation...

Cycling is my job so if I was missing training or not motivated, it would have repercussions. I’m always reminding myself that everything I do has a consequence. The only person who is going to suffer if I don’t train is me. I’ve always been conscientious.

It’s important to have balance in your life…

If a race or training doesn’t go so well I ring up family and friends and talk about something else. Even in a normal job I think it’s useful to switch off and realise there are more important things in the world.

I do have superstitions…

I have silly rituals like wearing new socks on competition days, but I wouldn’t let it put me off if I didn’t have them.

Everyone needs a mentor…

My first coach was a guy named Phil West, who really introduced me to cycling. It’s quite a difficult sport to get your head around if you’re new to it. He guided me through all the technical aspects, the cycling talk and the tactics. He saw my potential, without him I wouldn’t have got to this point.

The book that I can’t forget is…

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. I don’t read many books but that one is quite inspiring from a feminist point of view.

I’m disciplined before a competition…

The night before a race I don’t look at social media or speak to anyone really. I just watch rubbish TV or read a book, try not to think about what’s going to happen the next day – and I always make sure I get a good night’s sleep. I look back on races and think, ‘those were the days when I was completely in the zone without distraction’. It’s like tunnel vision; you go into a space in your brain where you focus completely.

You have to make sacrifices to succeed…

I’ve missed weddings and all sorts but luckily I have very understanding friends and family. The upside is that they get to do things like come and watch me compete in Rio. They know it’s not forever and it’s a sacrifice that’s worth making.

I want to use my profile for good… 

I’ve spoken about sexism in sport in the past and I don’t want to just tow the media line and say what everyone expects you to say. That’s why I’m delighted that the Asda Tour de Yorkshire race will offer women and men an equal winner’s fee. Hopefully, things will start changing in the future.

Pick up your perfect cycling kit from George at Asda’s women’s sportswear collection.