First of all, everyone at some time or other will struggle with feeling motivated, so don’t think it’s just you.
Over the many years of training I have noticed that the following factors have helped to keep me motivated:
- Getting enough sleep is the most important one for me – I need at least seven and a half hours of good sleep a night. Also, I have noticed that when I am tired I begin to eat rubbish.
- Adequate recovering from my training session – By this I mean having a recovery drink immediately after a session and a nutritious meal afterwards. Also, ensuring I have the correct balance of training session set out for the week. For example, if I am doing a tough threshold turbo/watt bike with a brick run on a Tuesday I would be looking for either a full day off or a low impact swim session on the Wednesday.
- I avoid too many hours and days of tough training sessions. I need to have at least one full day of doing nothing which allows my body and mind to recover.
- If I have to Increase my mileage in my running/cycling I will do it slowly – I work on an increase of between 10 and 12% a week with consolidating every third week for two/three weeks.
- I keep to a balance of 75/80% zone 1/2 training and 20/25% zone 4/5. The trouble I used to have with this balance is that I didn’t do the easy sessions easy enough and I didn’t to the tough ones hard enough.
- I take a complete break from triathlon at the end of September and at Christmas – Near the end of September I like to take a couple of weeks chilling out doing other things such as walking, sightseeing, meeting up with friends etc and between Christmas and New Year I like to focus on chilling out with family and friends.
- If I am unfortunate to have an injury I look at the positive and focus on what I can do. For example, I have a glutes injury at the moment which is preventing me from running. So, I am focusing on more swimming, cycling and strength and conditioning until I am fully recovered.
- I have learnt to allow myself to fully recover when I am sick. I have come to believe over the years that when I have a bad cold, virus or infection my body needs me to rest, so that the cells can regroup. I always imagine that my cells are doing their version of an Ironman event to get me back to full health.
- Listening to my body is key – If I feel too tired I will take time out rather than end up doing dead miles. However, it’s only with experience that I can tell the difference between being too tired and just not feeling like doing a session. I am always amazed at how often I have a great training session after not being too keen on doing it.
- I don’t make up or feel guilty if I miss a training session in the week. I keep to the plan, as it’s the overall consistency that counts.
- Having FUN with like minded friends and not taking myself too seriously help motivate me big time. This is where joining a club can make a difference, especially as the nights draw in and the weather gets colder and wetter.
I hope my experience of keeping myself motivated helps you.