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.


  1. Kevin

    Many thanks again Ray for the pearls of wisdom and great advice. Heres to a winter of solid base training

  2. Pete Hill

    Listening to your body, especially as you get older is very sensible, but I agree with and would highlight your comment ” I am always amazed at how often I have a great training session after not being too keen on doing it.” get too the session, if it then feels all wrong – fair enough pack it in, but always worth turning up. The other biggie if injured – , don’t dwell on what you cannot, concentrate on What you can and do it.


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