Losing motivation to keep training? It’s very common with busy middle age athletes. I’ve worked with a number of clients over the years and developed some proven “tricks” to stay motivated to continue your training despite poor weather, being busy or when you miss a few workouts. With a little preparation and solid planning, there’s no reason why you can’t stay motivated all the way through race day.
1. Start with the big picture.
What is it you’re trying to accomplish or what is your why? You need to write this down, because the clearer the vision, the more likely you are to keep going, even when times get tough. Start by asking yourself what it is you’re trying to achieve. Are you simply trying to finish a particular race, like a 1/2 or full marathon? Maybe you have a goal time (PR) in mind. Another “why” for many athletes is that they are trying to raise money for charity they may be representing on race day.
The visualization of accomplishing this goal is essential. Picture yourself standing at the starting line on race day. You’re fit, confident and ready to get to the starting line. Now picture yourself finishing the race. We tend to perform in the way we expect to. So if we expect to fail, we do. By seeing success, you’re more likely to attain success.
2. Re-confirm your “why,” take time to ensure it’s truly YOUR goal.
This may seem like a waste of time, but I can assure you that your success depends on you “owning” your goal. I like to ask prospective clients about their “WHY.” Inside my athlete profile/questionnaire which is used to develop personalized training plans, I want to understand what’s behind an athlete’s why. If the word “should” comes up, chances are the person may have set a goal because they feel like it’s something they’re supposed to do, and not something they want to do. In my experience, more often than not, people are less likely to stay motivated when they’re on the path of “should.”
3. Break down your training into weekly buckets (or microcycles) instead of looking at the entire 12 – 16 week plan.
In other words, follow a training plan. Once you have a goal and and a “why,” it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed about how you’re going to accomplish that goal. Consider hiring a qualified coach to write you a custom plan that will help you meet your goal while fitting your athletic abilities and specific situation. Don’t use a generic plan off the internet. In coach speak, we refer to an entire plan as a macrocycle, which depending on the length of the plan, is comprised of 3-4 mesocycles, which are each made up of 3-4 microcycles (think weekly or even 4-5 days of workouts). By breaking it up into smaller pieces, you regain the feeling that you’re doing something possible.
4. If you’re overwhelmed or feel like you’re not following your plan, talk to your coach or a running partner with whom you have been training.
It might be that you don’t feel prepared to run your race because you’ve been injured or missed some key workouts. It may be necessary to slightly adjust your goal. Figure out what you need to do next and then go about making sure you do your best to move forward. You might have to pick up where you left off on the training plan or you may have to back track a week or two and redo some workouts. The important thing is to get some momentum by simply doing some kind of workout followed the next day by another workout.
5. Always remember your “Why.”
Post your why on an index card or post it, where you can see it daily. Just this little reminder can provide you with the fresh motivation to keep going.
Pro tip: Celebrate the small successes (such as completing a long run or challenging interval workout). This will help keep you motivated to continue your journey.
Motivation is something many lose during training. However, I found that you can regain it or keep your levels high with a little planning and with the help of others (this last one is huge). By keeping on track with your goals, I’m confident you will find you will maintain your motivation and continue training.
If you need help or just have a simple question, please reach out to me through the contact link at the top of blog.