Loads of people ask me how I stay motivated to train, especially through winter and I suppose the quickest answer to that is ‘I don’t’. Weirdly I started this year less motivated than previously, which is strange because I lost so much of last year due to injuries. I’ve not quite put my finger on why that is but I’ve had to have words with myself several times and we are only in February!
Essentially there are 2 main sources of motivation. Intrinsic (this comes from within – driven by the desire to succeed, be the best that you can be) and there’s extrinsic motivation (driven by external factors such as prizes, status, praise) I suppose we are all a mixture of both but think about what’s most important to you and ensure that the training you do meets these needs and you are much more likely to stay motivated.
In case you were wondering, I’m more motivated by intrinsic factors which is probably one of the reasons I do a lot of training on my own and might be why I’ve not taken to Zwift yet.
For me there are 3 key things that keep me on track
1. The end goal – what am I training for? There must be a purpose because otherwise why on earth would I set a 5.30am alarm call. Why on earth would I drag myself out of the door in Baltic conditions before a full-on day at work? I’ve always been honest about the fact that I don’t enjoy a lot of the training I cram into my busy weeks, but I love the feeling of ticking off sessions that take me closer to my goals. Adam Jarps, Junior Champion of Champions CTT 2018, who rides for Team Bottrill Vanguard told me he has his national champs jersey on the wall in his training room to remind him of what hard work and dedication results in.
Top-tip: make sure you know what you are aiming for. Have short, medium and longer-term goals. Make sure these are specific, so you can visualise reaching them. Break them down into smaller milestones so you can measure your progress towards them. I’ve changed my laptop password to my season goal so every time I log in (which must be at least 10 times a day) I’m reminded of what I’m working towards.
2. Having Accountability – I have a coach so I’m accountable for every session. If I don’t do one I have to explain why. There’s a sense of letting myself and Dan down if I skip one. Of course, there will be genuine reasons like injury, illness or work/family commitments but it stops me from skipping a session ‘just because’ I’m a bit tired or can’t be bothered.
Top tip: if you don’t have a coach how about training with a friend or joining a club? Chances are you’ll push each other on and won’t want to let each other down. Write down a realistic plan for the week and put it on the fridge or in your phone as a reminder and tick off as you go.
3. What if… Not something I’d really thought about until the challenges of last season, but it has really helped me get through some of the tough winter days when I really didn’t feel like training. I remind myself of how it felt when I couldn’t train. I tell myself how lucky I am to be able to do this and how good I’ll feel afterwards and sometimes, just sometimes I reward myself with a spot of retail therapy
Top tip: if you really aren’t feeling like doing a session how about giving it a go for 20mins. If after 20mins you still feel awful, then at least you have tried. 95% of the time the endorphins will kick in and you’ll be absolutely fine. Remind yourself of how you will feel if you don’t tick off that session. If this keeps happening, then are you trying to fit in too much? Aim to be hitting at least 80% of the sessions you have planned.
Above and beyond all of this you are much more likely to stick at something if you enjoy it and can see progress so find what works for you. This might be training alone or with friends, using something like Zwift, joining a club, or getting a coach.
Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your successes however small. If you look back 6 months I’m sure there have been many!
I hope this has given you an insight in to how I stay motivated and maybe given you a few things to think about too.
Happy Training 🙂