Its all Possible Podcast – Developing & Maintaining a Positive Mindset

Rob Hartnett

January 8, 2021

Rob:

Hey, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. We’re the It’s All Possible podcast. Today’s very, very, very, very, very special guest is Dr. Hannah McDougall. How are you, Hannah?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Bloody amazing. Thanks, Rob.

Rob:

She’s amazing. She’s always amazing. Now Hannah, you’re a doctor, and I didn’t know you were a doctor. What are you a doctor of?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Well, don’t ask me to help with a cardiac arrest, because I am not a medical doctor. I have done a doctorate in philosophy, and specifically, that PhD was in athlete wellbeing.

Rob:

Ah, excellent. When did you do that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I finished up and I graduated at the end of 2017. Did that through La Trobe University. I’m actually currently in the final stage of working with the proof editor for the final article to be published from it, so that’ll be article number four.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So here we are mid-2019, and there’s still bits that are hanging on. But yeah, a year and a half graduated now. A big weight off the shoulders in some senses, but also a pretty proud and yeah, very proud and a massive achievement.

Rob:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. Now mindfulness, tell me about mindfulness. What is it to you?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I think, Rob, we generally connect with things that help us the most in life. And for me, mindfulness came at a time where I was going through hip surgeries and rehab and was in a pretty dark place, and the psychologist at the Victorian Institute of Sport introduced me to some different techniques. And at the time, she didn’t call it mindfulness, but that’s essentially what it was, to help me get through that time in my life, which was pretty dark.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So a little bit later, actually maybe six months later, I entered this competition in the newspaper and it was “Tell us in 25 words or less, what has been your happiest moment in life?” I’m like, “Oh, shit, that’s hard. One moment?” So I listed probably one of my top five, which was the day that I got a swimming leg, and my mom and I, we went to Bondi after the swim competition and I was about 13 years old. For the first time ever in my life, I was able to take off my leg, my walking leg, put on this swim leg and just walk into the water, into the waves and jump the waves. And we had prawns on the beach afterwards. So there was no wheelchairs or crutches or piggybacks. I was able to do it all on my own.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So I wrote about that and I won tickets to a happiness and wellbeing conference, and I heard from the greats like Martin Seligman and Ellen Langer, all about different wellbeing principles. And then I was also introduced to mindfulness. And I was like, “Oh, this is me.” It just rang true for me, and I was really interested, and I find it personally, very beneficial my life.

Rob:

So is it something now that you practice still now … We’ll getting onto cycling in a moment, but do you still actively use the mindfulness side of that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Every day. Every day.

Rob:

What’s an example of it?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So from the little things that I’ve embedded into my life, so on my work computer, I have a little app or program, which every half an hour it comes up and it rings a few bells and it says, “Breathe deeply,” so I’m like, “Right. Thank you.” I also, I generally really have a bit of a tradition of after lunch, taking five or 10 minutes of just doing some breath work. And then, instead of stretching and looking at my phone these days, I put the phone away and I make sure that I’m actually focusing on the stretch and using my breath to help that stretch.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I do Tai Chi and Qigong, which is really mindfulness, essentially. And I reframe traffic lights. Instead of getting off at them that I was stopped and they were interrupting my busy schedule, that it was a chance to breathe. So they’re some of the little things, and then I do formal … I like to do longer practices on the weekend when I have a bit more time.

Rob:

I love that. I think one of the things I’ve seen in mindfulness, I’ve seen it used in a lot of corporates. I tend to see it as a tick box exercise that we’ve done something this month, and I find mindfulness … I’m a big believer in it, but I find what happens, especially in a corporate environment, it just doesn’t connect to people’s everyday life. I love what you did then, because it just connects to what you do in an everyday life, and through the app. But also are you as an athlete as well, it works in your world.

Rob:

And I think connecting it to the traffic light thing is a really good examples. So I think when people bring it to something they can do in their day, not on top of their day, because everyone thinks, “Oh, it’s something else I’ve got to do. Oh my God.” It’s a real drain.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I got to tell you, we were … Finn, who’s producing this, he and I were watching Letterman. He was interviewing Kanye West. And he’s an interesting cat, Kanye. But he had an absolutely fantastic thing. You’d love this. David Letterman said to him, “So Kanye, how’s the new diet going?” And Kanye said, “I don’t do diets. I do live-its. I don’t like diet. It doesn’t make sense to me, because what I’m doing is actually so I can live longer. So I live its, not diets. Absolutely classic. He’s a character, but he’s pretty funny.

Rob:

You’re training now. You’re constantly training, but you’ve got the Olympics, obviously, as a goal, for Tokyo. Tell me, what’s a week like for Hannah? What do you do during the week? What’s the big things you do every week?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So, I generally get up at five AM each day. When I have a sleep in, that’s six AM. So that’ll be a Friday, which is the sacred rest day of the week.

Rob:

Can I just stop you here? Finn was nodding. That was five AM, you get that? Not PM. You get that? I just wanted to check on the Gen Zed produce here. Yep, so five AM and six AM to sleep in. We’re just reinforcing that.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) So generally, five AM, get up day. I do gym twice a week, so strength training. And then I’m on the bike six days a week. And generally, sessions will be between two and four hours long and I’m training about 20 hours per week on the bike. And then I’m also doing a weekly Tai Chi and Qigong class, and then doing my daily practices of mindfulness, getting excited here, bashing the microphone.

Rob:

[inaudible 00:00:06:24]. You said with Qigong. And What’s that one?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Qigong?

Rob:

Qigong? What’s Qigong?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I like to think of it as mindfulness in motion. But essentially, it’s a series of postures and movements that you go through, and you’re looking to work every single muscle, ligament, and tendon within your body through that phase. And it’s all about, there’s different energies within the body and utilizing those energies in a helpful way, for perhaps if you’re targeting healing and restoring, et cetera, et cetera.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

But there’s a lot of Chinese medicine behind it in terms of, okay, so this position is targeting this acupuncture point, and therefore, this meridian of the body and these organs and blah, blah, blah. I think I like it because it’s a bit different from your traditional, formal mindfulness practice of sitting and focusing, for example, on your breath or your senses, et cetera. Whereas this is bringing in a movement to it, and you get a pretty good release afterwards.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

But I think most importantly, I just have the most amazing teacher. She has one of the world’s biggest hearts, so that connection and that space to not be Hannah the athlete or Hannah who works at the Victoria State Emergency Service, and just kind of have a little bit of timeout, is absolutely crucial.

Rob:

How did you get into that? The Chinese medicine, you’ve mentioned a couple of times, what led you to that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So I have been having regular traditional Chinese medicine sessions every three weeks or so, and that’s part of the weekly schedule as well, is having some type of treatment, whether it be physio, Chinese medicine, soft tissue, psych, et cetera, et cetera. I’ve been having it for a long time. I’m a big believer in acupuncture. I’ve literally seen the power of it.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

And then, in terms of the Qigong and Tai Chi, it came at a period last year when I was completely burnt out after coming back from the world championships. I put on six kilos, I thought I had depression, but it just turned out that my leg had a systemic infection, and I had a whole body infection, and I had antibiotics and I was actually okay.

Rob:

Can I just stop you there and say that there was an upside to that, which was, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the only time I was able to keep up with Hannah, was actually when she put on six kilograms and had an infection in her leg. So I just want you to know that I felt good about that. You may not have, but I was like high fiving, going, “My God. I think I’ve still got something.” Now you’ve told me that, I’m going backwards.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I think Rob’s being modest there. He whooped my on a recovery ride two weeks ago.

Rob:

I don’t think so.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

But during that time, I was just listening to a podcast. It was of this lady who was in a bit of a wellbeing space and she mentioned Tai Chi and how useful she found it, and so I just Googled Tai Chi for beginners and watched a 10 minute video and did it. I was like, oh yeah, that was all right. That was just something that stuck.

Rob:

Right. What I’m enjoying about your week is it’s really balanced. I was listening to you … I know the amount of training you’re doing and riding you’re doing six days, the times you’re up. But what I’m hearing from you also is this balance of also making sure that you’re getting the soft tissue massage. You’ve got the influence of Chinese medicine as well from a psychology point of view, but also from a physical point of view as well.

Rob:

So is that something you’re aiming for as well, to be really balanced in terms of putting your body under stress or your mind on the stress, but then actually balancing it back the other way to look after it?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Oh, yeah. Recovery is just as important as what I do on the bike, because I know I’ve trained my friends well in terms of another piece of that puzzle is that, when it gets to 9:00 PM, everybody knows it’s pumpkin time, and that Hannah needs to go to bed at night.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I was actually out doing a talk a few weeks ago, it was a dinner talk, and I was telling them the importance of sleep to help with resilience and recovery. And I’m like, “So my bedtime’s nine o’clock.” And it got to quarter to nine that night after I’d finished speaking, and everybody was like, “Hannah, go home. Go, you need to get to bed.” I’m like, “That is genius.”

Rob:

Yeah, I like that because Finn and I love to watch movies, that’s what he’s doing. He’s studying a lot of movies and things. So I said to him, “Look, if we’re going to do a movie, it’s literally got to be on by seven.” It’s got to be on by seven, because I just can’t balance the books, basically, doing that. So that’s interesting.

Rob:

Now, one of the things, when I talk about you to other people and especially who know you well, who either train with you, cycle with you, they go, “My God, Hannah, she’s just a ball of positivity.” That’s exactly how I describe you. You’re one of the most positive people I’ve been with. And I remember riding once, I think it was David Long or AJ. We were doing a ride early in the morning and we could smell the coffee, maybe 15 kilometers away. We’re struggling through, 6:30 in the morning, we’re just getting there.

Rob:

We’re thinking, yeah, we’re nearly there. And then you come past with this grin on your face, flying past us going, “Whoa, here we go down this hill.” We’re just like, “Wow.” It was so infectious. We’re just like, “Yeah, we’re alive. How cool is that?” How do you do that? What drives you in being so positive? And as much as I see it anyway, but having that such positive energy?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

To be honest really, when you sent me a message and said, “Han, I’d love to catch up with you and do an interview, and you’re one of the most positive people I know,” it was just like, “Oh, really? Thanks.” I think I just see myself as Hannah. I think gratitude plays a really big role in my outlook on life. Growing up with a little bit missing, and having a single mom, and she had two kids under five. She was working full time. She was studying an MBA and she was making decisions between, do I sell the house or do I sell the car to survive?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

“Sorry, guys, we can’t afford to have this in your lunchboxes, but we can have peanut butter sandwiches.” I never want to see another peanut butter sandwich on my life again. But I think growing up with that, and then too, I went to a Christian school, so gratitude plays a big role in that. So that’s, I think, a really big key, but also wellbeing and studying wellbeing and living wellbeing has been a really big part of my life now for the past seven, 10 years. And our brains, as we know, there’s this thing called neuro-plasticity and we can train our brains, and the beautiful analogy of, so typically speaking, a person, we’re genetically wired thanks to our evolution, having to run away from danger and surviving, so we’re genetically attuned to all of the negative shit that happens in life.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

But through training, training that muscle the brain, we can flip that and make, instead of all of the negative stuff which is naturally like Velcro, we can make the positive stuff more like Velcro instead of like Teflon.

Rob:

Yeah.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So I think there’s that aspect. But there’s also the Hannah McDougall the person, and I have my bad days and there’s … When I don’t get enough sleep, I get very hangry as well. With my family, they see it all: the tears, the happiness, the pain. So yeah, it’s a mixed basket there. But I think those two key things in terms of gratitude and brain training, mindfulness, et cetera, have played a really big role in that.

Rob:

Yeah. I think you have to be intentional about it, which you obviously are.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

You do.

Rob:

Being intentional about the training the brain. I love that Teflon, Velcro. I think that’s a really great point. Let’s switch gears a little bit, because one of the things that I’ve done and you’ve done it far more successfully, but I love what you’ve done, is you’ve changed sports. So you were the swimming to the cycling.

Rob:

What was the shift, between going from swimming, which you clearly were awesome at, and you’ve represented Australia since 2001, you’ve done so many things, you’ve been captain of the swimming as well. So what was the change between swimming and cycling? Why did that happen?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

It got to the point where, unfortunately, I hated it.

Rob:

Yeah? Burn out?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I was good at it.

Rob:

Yeah?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I would definitely say it was burn out. And I’d been doing it from such a young age for so long, and you guys would have swum up and down a pool, that black line does not change. It’s the same black line. Every single morning. So I think when you’re dedicating so much of your time, energy, and effort to something, you got to like it. Love it, I would say.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

There’s moments in cycling when I do have a lot of leg pain or it’s pissing down with rain and I can’t feel my hands because it’s so cold, that I’m like, “Why am I doing this?” But there’s still that underlying drive and love of the sport itself, whereas I’d lost that in swimming. So it was just a process of elimination in terms of, I still want to go to Paralympics. What are the Paralympics sports? Can’t catch a ball to save my life. Don’t need more scars. The size of the end my leg is about the size of a 10 cent piece, so I get stress fractures pretty easily. So all kind of running sports are out.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So it literally boiled down to rowing and cycling. Rowing was another early morning, water-based sport.

Rob:

Right, right.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Which was my logic at the time.

Rob:

Yeah, okay.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Cycling can still be an early morning water-based sport. But I loved it. I loved the freedom, the adventure of being outside, which I had really missed with the swimming being in an indoor environment. I’m definitely a road cyclist. I take my hats off to the trackies. I’m an outside road cyclist.

Rob:

Yeah. That’s an interesting view. I spoke with Alisa Camplin on this issue when she was wanting to be an Olympic athlete. And people always think she was a snow skier and she just wasn’t. She just wanted to go to win gold at Olympics or go multiple times. She did so many sports. All three of these. I didn’t know she sailed. She did a whole lot of things, all successfully. But one of the things she said to me was, “If you’re not passionate about it, it’ll never last.” And she said, “I can never get passionate on running.” She said, “I could to do it. I was quick at it.” But she said, “I just was never passionate to keep it going.”

Rob:

And then when she got into the snow skiing, would literally be like you eliminating variables. And then one of hers was, what are we world-class at? What is a good training at locally here? What is reasonably close, as you drive about three hours to the border and things? But it was around just as elimination of what’s in the Paralympics? What can I do next? Any similarities between swimming and cycling? Is there any stuff you brought across from your training in swimming that you’re able to apply in cycling?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah. There was a lot of things in terms of how to set, perhaps, more effective goals, how to reach out to support networks and ask for help when you need it. The different elite athlete mentality of pushing yourself to limits or past the limits, dealing with pain, the psychological skills of resilience and mental toughness, knowing how to travel, taking your own pillow with you. All of those little things were easily transferred across. It was just, you had to kind of learn how to ride a bike.

Rob:

Yeah. And had you ridden bikes much before?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Not much, no. A little bit as a kid, but never intensely or more than kind of just to get around the block and muck around with my mates.

Rob:

Right. So now as you moved into the cycling and you’ve been clearly riding overseas and competing overseas. What was the probably biggest learning when you went overseas for the first time cycling?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

It’s a lot easier to travel as a swimmer. And if you’re looking for a sport, I reckon either running, because all you need is some running shoes and maybe a few other bits and pieces, or table tennis. Small bats, small balls. Cycling, equestrian, rowing. Whew. That was one thing I learned that cycling and traveling with bikes, because you’d have your road bike and your TT bike when we’re traveling with the team, was one thing that I learned about very quickly. And then how to put it back together.

Rob:

So you become also the bike mechanic as well?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Thankfully, we’re blessed and we do have mechanics that travel with us. So if we get a little bit stuck, which I usually do, then I just kind of say, “Mikey, can I have a bit of a hand please?” That was a massive learning curve. And then also, just the world of cycling, how it works in terms of registration and set ups, and what the differences are between competing in an international level versus locally, et cetera, getting drug tested again, although that was familiar.

Rob:

Right. It would have been for swimming, yeah.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah.

Rob:

And on your body though, because with your prosthetic, it would have been completely different, wouldn’t it, between swimming and cycling in the way you use that? Was it a different prosthetic you used or is there specific ones you have? How does that work

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

In swimming and to race, I wasn’t allowed to use a prosthetic because it’s classified as an aid. Whereas cycling, I could either choose to ride with a prosthetic or not, and then that would influence the classification that I’m in. So I chose to ride with one, because I think that’s a lot healthier for my body if I have the choice.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So yeah, it’s been a big learning curve. Having a foot, not having a foot, angles of the cycling leg, weight of the cycling leg, pin system, and then trying to not hit that pin on the bottom and getting bone bruising heat. And then you have leg swelling. It’s been a massive learning curve and we’re still in it.

Rob:

It must be huge. It must be just a whole system in itself, just getting that right. Just listen to you there about the angles and points and the weight distribution. I can just imagine. I was thinking through my head today about how that dynamic all works. It must be evolving. Is it continuing to evolve with the design and that type of thing as well? You’re continuing to do that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Design and technology in terms of 3D printing. I reckon if I had three biomechanists and a team of scientists working on it, they might be able to nut out what is the best after about a year.

Rob:

Right. Really?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

We don’t quite have those resources.

Rob:

Or the time, sometimes either, to do it.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Time. Yeah. At the moment, we’re looking at maybe changing the angle of the cleat a little bit to get the force going more perpendicular through the pedal, and then how can we make it more aero? But then is lighter necessarily, or do you want similar weight to your other leg so that you’re more even? Lots of questions. Lots of questions.

Rob:

When you travel, do you take a spare, I suppose, with you?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah.

Rob:

I’ve always been wondering about that.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I try and take a spare walking leg. If I have a spare cycling leg, which we’re working towards, then I will start traveling with a spare walking leg. And then I might travel with a wet leg as well for beach or shower or stuff like that. So I do have a dedicated bag that goes underneath the plane and has fragile written all over it. And that, thankfully, travels for free because those add up.

Rob:

Now you told me once, and I might get the story slightly wrong, but the case you were training in Europe, and you came through like a roundabout and a guy didn’t see you and he crashed straight into you, but he crashed into your prosthetic. That was kind of a good thing, a good thing in a way, but you basically had to get that thing out of his front bumper bar. Was that the story?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Similar. I was just walking on the street in Italy with a bunch of people, and the motor bike came up and he clipped my prosthetic leg, and his number plate come flying off. And he started abusing me in Italian, and I’m like, “Oh, dude, you just nearly killed me.” And he drove off and muttered and there was really deep gouges in my prosthetic, in the carbon. Also like, “Whew. Glad it was that side. Otherwise, I would be in hospital with probably a leg off right now.”

Rob:

Exactly. So all the legs are carbon that you’re on, or are they different?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yes.

Rob:

Yeah. Okay, interesting. You started to talk about some of the people you work with now, who are the principle people in team Hannah? So in team Hannah on her quest to do cycling now, who’s around you? What role they have?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Oh, here’s a big team.

Rob:

Yeah, of course.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

And I’m sorry. I’m so lucky. So we have obviously, the Hurt Box and David Stewart who heads up there. So I have all of my Hurt Box family. And then we have Nick Owen and the whole of my Victorian Institute of Sport family. So Nick writes my programs and does my coaching and checks in and says, “This went well. You didn’t do this hard enough.” Those kinds of things.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

And then there’s soft tissue therapist, my physio, Natalie McColl. My TCM practitioner, Michael. My Tai Chi teacher. Nick does sport science as well, so he covers those two bases, which is great. Nutritionists, Kylie and doctors, Greg.

Rob:

What do you reckon, about 10 all out?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Probably maybe 15.

Rob:

Yeah, that’s what I figured.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Also.

Rob:

Right.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah. And then friends and family.

Rob:

Yeah. So there’s 15, probably the core. I think it’s really important, because people don’t associate that with, it’s never on your own, even though cycling might appear to be a very individual sport.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yes.

Rob:

That’s probably the big thing when I came from sailing to cycling was the biggest change from it, was to realize that actually, this is a really big team sport, even though they might be the one person who’s sprinting or doing something. It’s actually not that. And the whole Peloton thing was new to me about how much work is done by the team. There was a bit that was just-

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

It’s massive.

Rob:

I don’t think it’s that widely known or acknowledged about how big the teams are and what the team does in the sport, because it appears to be an individual. And then you’ve got the 15 outside of that. When you’re picking a coach, and we know it, we know your coaches, what do you look for in a coach? So top three things.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah. Top three. You’re making me less bubble now. I think there has to be that connection on some level. So that connection needs to involve respect for each other and as people. And then, I think that coach needs to be able to … I would never want to be a coach by the way, cause I ask way too much of them … They need to be able to know when to push you and when to say, “You need to back off now.” Because generally, you will find athletes, whether it be more grassroots or elite level, we’re going to push ourselves. We’re going to do stupid things. So they need to say, “Okay, yes, this is the time to push, and this is a time where you need to recover.”

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

This is non-negotiable. And then, I think just having your best interests at heart in terms of working alongside, what goals do you actually want to achieve? How are we going to do that? What is the stepping stone … Sorry, getting way too excited … and that’s going to help us get there. Yeah, they would be my top three things.

Rob:

Right. And now your pathway. So you’ve just come back from overseas. Tell us about your last trip. Tell me the good side, and then tell me something about some of the other side.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Oh, it was a bit of a bucket of pain to be honest. I was in really good form leading into that trip and I was so excited to race and to see what I could do. Because you know, when you ask your legs to do something, usually in training, you’re fatigued and they just don’t. They’re like, “Oh no, what are you asking me to do now, Hannah?” Whereas, when you start to freshen up and sharpen the pencil, it’s like, Okay, let’s go. And they’re like, “Yeah! Whoo-hoo!”

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I was excited about that, and being with the team is always awesome. Not having to cook and wash is also … The weather and being in Italy, fantastic. Gelato post-race, fantastic. And then a couple of days before I raced, I had a crash. Technically, my second crash for the trip. The first one was just a little tumble when we’re doing skills and it was wet, and my back wheel slipped. That was neither here nor there.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

But this one, yeah. I avoided a car and came down really hard and hit the back of my head and got a concussion. My ribs were really sore. I think I was running on adrenaline for the races in Italy, and I picked up a silver and a bronze there and still put out all right power, like power PDs for this year in those races. And then we-

Rob:

So hang on a second. You raced after the concussion and with the ribs? I thought that happened afterwards.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

No.

Rob:

Because you did really well, all the results you had.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So that race, I got the silver and the bronze. And then we raced in Belgium a week later and I picked up a silver in the road race.

Rob:

Yeah. Okay. That’s amazing. They’re amazing results and I think that’s adrenaline and you’re over there and all that. You must’ve been happy with the results given? I know you had the issue which is the fall, which you didn’t want. But still given that, when you balance it though.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

It’s funny, because I think my brain only remembers all the pain. So people are like, “Han, well done.” And I’m like, “Eh.” It’s kind of like, don’t mention the wall.

Rob:

Right, yeah.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So yes, it was good. And I think because I was in such good form, I was also able to do that.

Rob:

Right.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I don’t recommend doing it, though. Stay on the bike, people. Stay on the bike.

Rob:

Who knows a preacher? I need to call up. Yeah. So now you’ve done that. What is the pathway from here to selection for Tokyo? What’s your next steps for that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah. So we’re off in August. We’re off to Canada for a world cup.

Rob:

Right.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Then we had over to Europe and we’re racing at the world championships middle of September. So at this point in time, we’re looking to gain as many points as we can to qualify quota slots for Australia. So Australia can qualify six quota spots for females in para cycling. So they, I think we have essentially up until after the world championships in May next year, to qualify those points.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

We then get allocated those slots and then Cycling Australia essentially rank the females that are up for eligibility. So at the moment, if I repeat what I did last year at world champs and do that again, and it is a little bit gray because the course for Tokyo is on a racetrack and is very hilly and technical. Whereas, the world championships is dead flat.

Rob:

Oh, okay, great.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So you’ve kind of got to have a few strings to your bow there in terms to do well at worlds, but also show that you can be very good at hills and technical stuff.

Rob:

Do you focus on both still? On time trial and road? Or is it any particular-

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Just mainly time trial, because for Tokyo Paralympics, my road rate is combined with the class above.

Rob:

Okay.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So the girls who might be missing maybe a couple of fingers, compared to half a leg, and it’s whoever crosses the line first. There’s no factoring or anything.

Rob:

Okay.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So there’s no really point. Time trial it is.

Rob:

All right. So time trial is the main focus?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah.

Rob:

Excellent. So with your time trialing … you and I were doing a time trial at ACU the other day … I was interested to ask you on that is, when you’re doing a Tom throw, what’s your warmup for that? What’s the regular activity time trial? Say, maybe 35, 40 minutes? What would be the warm up to balance that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah, I’ve got a very specific routine that I’ve created, and I think that really helps people to create their own routine and what works for them. Because once you start going through those motions, the body is just like, “Oh, this is race time. Let’s start getting into a race zone.” So for me, I have breakfast three hours out. I have my beetroot shot two hours out. I have my double shot of caffeine where I’m just hopping on the ergo 40 minutes out. And then I have my specific race where it’s essentially a mixture of pattern of elevating the heart rate, decreasing it, elevating, decreasing, and working up to threshold and above.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

And finishing off with a few sprints. So that, 15 minutes before the start of the race, you get off the bike, you put on your helmet, you roll down to the start line, have a little bit of honey before I start racing, and away you go.

Rob:

Away you go.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah.

Rob:

You know the part … The one part I was missing of Hannah’s was, I think I do the “away you go” part. I think up until that point, I got to work on. The last time I saw you, you run a full disc wheel sometimes. When do you use the full disc, when don’t you use the full disc?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

I’ll generally always use a full disc for a time trial.

Rob:

This is just wind, you don’t do it?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Unless it’s 50 kilometer gusts of wind, I won’t use it. But if I’ve got a headwind or tailwind, I’ll still use it.

Rob:

Right.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Definitely, it’s the front that you’ve got to be a little bit more careful of. Wind dependent will influence more my front wheel rather than the disc.

Rob:

Right. Okay.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah.

Rob:

Okay. And when you’re traveling overseas, how many wheels do you take with you?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Only three.

Rob:

Only three. Is that because … I don’t’ know the rules about it.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Because we generally have only 40 kilos of luggage.

Rob:

Right.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

And with two bikes, that goes really great quick.

Rob:

Oh, I imagine.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So yeah, it’s literally the disc and my two race wheels. And then Cycling Australia usually has a few wheels we can borrow if we need to.

Rob:

Right. Okay. When you’re going overseas, do they, the Cycling Australia, does VIS go with you overseas?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

No, it’s just all Cycling Australia.

Rob:

Just Cycling Australia. And I guess the support cars and all the rest of the gear that has to go with it.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah.

Rob:

Excellent. So what are you focused on now? You’re healing up. I think you’re probably pretty close to being better, I guess now, from the pop in the ribs. Are the ribs still sore from that incident?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Yeah. They shouldn’t be.

Rob:

Yeah, because they take time.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

They shouldn’t be. Nine and a half weeks. Anyway, my doctor’s like, “Soon, Hannah. Soon.”

Rob:

Soon. Yeah. No, ribs is tough. Really tough, because you’re breathing and you know that … What are you focused on now? What are the, say, three things you’re working on now to improve on?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So we’re just finishing endurance block this week, and then we start moving into more of a TT specific block. So we’re really focusing on, at the moment, TT positioning. So we have, at the VIS, a really cool program where we set up my TT bike, I’m on a green screen, and there’s cameras, and I can watch this computer program while I’m in my TT position and it spits out if I’m in a green, red, or orange traffic light system.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Where green is yes, we’re within like 1% of your ideal TT position. Orange is, I don’t know, three to 5%, et cetera. And red’s plus 10%, for example. So we’re really working on that TT positioning. We’re also working on getting my cycle leg right, so some angles and weights and everything. And then I need to be pain-free. These ribs need to be healed.

Rob:

Fantastic. Now, what’s your website, Hannah? Because that’s a great website, some great resources and all sorts of stuff. What is that? What’s that?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

So, that’s just www.hannahmacdougall.com.au.

Rob:

Beautiful. And you also do a great Instagram too. I love your Instagram you do. What’s the handle on that one?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

HanMacdougall06.

Rob:

HanMacdougall06. So yeah. Guys, check out both the website of Hannah’s stuff. There’s a great blog on there which she contributes to and you can read more about what she’s up to. Plus the Instagram. She’s always a great contributor on the Instagram site. I know she had some fantastic quotes on the website.

Rob:

I know she had one from Aerosmith. Are you a rocker, Hannah? Is that where you’re getting that from? [crosstalk 00:35:00] The glam rock?

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

It’s my secret, covered self that comes out every now and then.

Rob:

The hairspray goes in, it’s this massive glam rock. It’s been fantastic. Hey, thanks for joining us today. It’s been really great to find out so much. We covered a lot of ground during this. Good luck with the rest of the riding, and no doubt, I’ll see you on the road as you go past. I’ll just be in the distance. All right. Thanks, Hannah.

Dr. Hannah McDougall:

Thanks Rob. Cheers.

 

The Positive Mindset with Dr Hannah McDougall
Rob Hartnett

Rob Hartnett

Author and Founder of The Hartnett Group

In his earlier career, Rob worked in senior management roles at Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard, where he won the coveted Asia Pacific High Achiever Award. Rob became the number one sales consultant for the worlds number one sales performance company Miller Heiman Group twice and a Presidents Club winner 9 times. Today he is an independent Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team. Rob is known as an inspirational and entertaining speaker on leadership, sales & mindset.

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