How to stay motivated through your Entire Race Preparation
Many start off gung how. They are going to take triathlon by storm. They do two, three even four workouts in a single day. They do bricks, weights, yoga class, you name it. That lasts for, oh many a week, even up to a month or so. Then, an important assignment comes up at work; the kids get sick, or the toilet clogged and just like that, they are down to maybe one or two workouts per week.
The individual often thinks, if only I didn’t have that obstacle I’d be in top shape. If only that emergency didn’t arise. I’d be an Olympian. The fact is that things will ALWAYS come up. Your training plan should not be so difficult to manage that you cannot ever allow any other parts of your life to interfere. Keep your expectations reasonable for your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if your buddy trains 20 hours a week. Maybe you can only realistically train 6 hours per week. Stick to your own goals. These should be clearly defined at the onset of the season with reality playing a starring role. Make sure you budget your time adequately, so you do not easily get discouraged when the inevitable life situation arises.
Here are a few more tips;
Establish routines. Remember, if you only train when you feel like it you most likely will not be very fit. Establishing a habit is hard but that helps tremendously. Just as you wouldn’t consider leaving the house without brushing your teeth (I hope) for many of us having I am swimming so it must be Wednesday is the best way to go. You just go because that is what you do that day. Fine tuning this plan takes time and understandably has to vary based on your own schedule.
Use consistency goals. Give yourself an inexpensive non-food reward for making all of your key workouts for the week. I like to give myself a star on my workout log. Childish perhaps but it motivates me to try to get it. Give yourself an acknowledgement for the work completed instead of obsessing over what was not completed.
Weekly goals as opposed to daily goals work for many of my athletes who work strange hours. Here in Las Vegas, that is a large percentage. If you fall into that category, you may do better with the focus on getting in key workouts plus perhaps 2 swims and 2 runs or whatever makes sense for your particular goals.
A good training log motivates most people. The athletes I coach online hate to see a red box on their plans. This signifies a missed workout. I can’t tell you how many people have found a way to make it happen just so they would not have their weekly calendar marred with the unsightly red box. You can use pencil and paper, on – line tools or your uploads from your training devices. Personally, I like to write, so I enjoy indicating what the weather was like, how the workout went and if I was feeling any nagging pains or had any breakthroughs. As a coach, these seemingly unimportant remarks often give me clues for injuries, overtraining, or boredom. You can do the same thing with your own data.
That being said,
Dust yourself off. If you fall off the wagon, get up. Perfection is overrated. If you get off track, don’t waste any time. Get back on. Start moving, do something and you will feel much better. As a personal trainer as well as a triathlon coach, I can tell you that the exercise is the point. Everything counts. If you can’t do 5 miles and can only do 2, do it. Avoid the all or nothing syndrome. You are one workout away from a good mood.
Get support. Make sure your family is on board especially on long course endeavors before you sign up. State your goals publicly and ask for help when you need it. However, avoid sharing your goals with naysayers unless this motivates you. Not everyone gets it, so it is very important to find other like-minded friends through local training groups, tri clubs or even online resources.
Training partners work. You may not want to run at 5 am for yourself, but you are not going to have your buddy waiting on an empty street corner waiting for you. A good training partner is worth their weight in gold. You do not necessarily have to have someone the same pace or training for the same event. You will need to find someone who is reliable and you need to agree on when or if it is acceptable to go ahead or stay behind.
Discomfort is inevitable. Of course it is too hot, too cold, too early or too late to train. Of course, it would be easier to go home than to go to the pool. However, short term easy does not equal long term results. You need to get uncomfortable if you want to reach new places. Get out of your comfort zone, lace up your shoes and get out the door. Miracles happen out there, not lying on the couch.
Most of all,
Enjoy the journey! You get to do this.
Owner and Chief Motivator at XCELL PG
A caring coaching company