There are lots of reasons why we lose momentum. Sometimes it’s an injury, changes to routine, you’re not seeing enough progress, you’re seeing progress and think you can afford to take some (lots?) of time off, burn out, distractions, etc. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to get back in the saddle and keep on going.
For myself, being in recovery mode can get me lazy since I’m not specifically training for anything, but I need to keep up be strong to hit the ground running when I’m able to. For others (wink and wave! hehe), you have to jump on the training-for-a-race train and hang on. Whatever your situation, I thought I would share what Ipersonally do to help motivate myself through a race training cycle (complete with loads of inspirational quotes from Pinterest, but of course).
Get pumped. Watch the promotional video for the race. These videos are designed to get you pumped for the race, so it will be a good starting point for the items below. Also watching videos of people you admire doing great things will get you stoked to do the same.
Also read this article by The Oatmeal. It’s hilarious, realistic and strangely motivating.
Set goals. Write the reasons why you are running the particular race. It could be a time, a new distance, fun with friends, etc. But write down the feelings you expect to experience.
Visualize. Remember the feelings you wrote down, close your eyes and imagine running, crossing the finish line, etc. Do this again while running. During hard workouts, like tempo or long runs, imagine you are in a tough part of the race, then imagine the finish line and how you will feel crossing it. Relating the two will help you when you are in that pain zone, as your mind will go to the reasons you listed.
Triggers. Come up with some key phrases that kick your butt into gear and repeat them to yourself when you find you’re having trouble getting out the door or struggling during a run. Some of my personal favorites (don’t laugh) are:
– Dig deep
– Break on through to the other side
– Want the results? Do the work
– You better work, bitch
– Relax. Inhale. Exhale.
– It’s not supposed to be easy
– Don’t give up
– You got this
Think about past experiences that make you feel accomplished or happy. It doesn’t even have to be running related, any positive thought will help.
Rewards. Another tip to trick yourself into staying consistent is to think about what you like to buy or do and use them as motivators. This takes some willpower and focus, but so does anything worthwhile in life.
For example, there was a time where I wanted to buy all the new clothes and risked going overboard with the spending, so I told myself that I would buy one clothing item a week if and only if I met all my workouts. If clothes ain’t yo thang, but maybe going out for dinner/drinks is, and let that be a reward. The only catch is that you and ONLY YOU are responsible for ensuring you don’t get your reward without completing your goals. It’s a practice in willpower but that’s not a bad thing! Practice makes perfect and it will get easier.
Celebrate.Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Bad days come from any number of factors, but your best days are indicative of your abilities, you cannot fake those. This is why I advocate keeping a training log. Looking back to previous weeks/months/years you will see a gradual improvement, and if you keep on keepin-on then think of where you can go!
Adapting. If you find that your certain motivational triggers are becoming ineffective and stale, take a step back (not longer than a few days to a week) and repeat the above steps again. Don’t be afraid to try different angles as your brain will try to trick you into becoming lazy and complacent. It will get easier, however, to push through these tough times and re-motivate yourself.
7. Keep your eyes on the prize. Giving up or putting in minimal effort is easy, but warrants few rewards. Make the most of your training and see what you can do when you dedicate yourself to something, chances are you will surprise yourself. Sure, it’s going to be hard, but as I said earlier, it’s not supposed to be easy. It’s when we challenge ourselves we grow stronger, build confidence, and refine us to become the best we can be.
Be determined to find a way.