Day To Day Motivation

Motivation--1.jpgMost of us have goals. I almost said all of us have goals but thought perhaps some people don’t. When it comes to Triathlon goals there’s a lot written about goal setting and how appropriate goals help motivate us. Mine are:

  1. PB at Kona
  2. Better than 3rd in AG at an Ironman
  3. Win my AG at an Ironman
  4. Podium in AG at Kona
  5. Sub 9 hours
  6. Win AG at Kona

So … a mere sub 9 win in AG at Kona would get them all ;o)

How does this translate in to day to day motivation. It’s so easy to say and believe that this next session doesn’t really matter. There’s plenty of time and what difference will missing one session make ? Here are some of the things I use:

1. Autopilot.

Switch off your mind, don’t think about it and just get on and go. This is my regular method for getting up for swimming especially if I know I won’t have had enough sleep. As I go to bed I tell myself I will get up as soon as the alarm goes and get out the door. Invariable this works. Before I’ve had my first thought of the day I’m running to the pool and once running there’s no backing out. I’ve used this the past 5 days whilst I’ve been up at my sisters. I’m on the sofa which means I’m last to bed (post midnight often) and first up (latest being about 6:30am when my nephews decide to jump on me).

Switching off the mind is also useful in races. Sometimes it’s good to be able to go on autopilot – just get on with the planned pace without your mind worrying. It’s like being in the moment. This saves mental energy for later when you’ll need it.

2. Adjust

If things don’t go quite right don’t just write it off – adjust and adapt. Often when a day starts off off plan my first thought is to write off the whole day. Resist that thought and reset the plan. This weekend saw a classic for this. My weekend was planned around collecting my bike on Friday. On the train to the shop I got the call to say it wouldn’t be ready. My initial reaction was my weekend was screwed. I let that thought have it’s time and moved on. It actually provided a opportunity for some nice running in the Surrey Hills. I switched my goals for the week to make it run focussed with less biking. This means I can finish the week on a positive note.

3. Statistics

I’m sure this won’t work for everyone but I track all sorts of statistics. Things like weekly averages, comparisons to previous years, weekly minimums and of course Eddington Numbers. This provides very formal intermediate targets. Something you’re advised to do with goals is have intermediate ones but this rarely translates to day to day goals. For me I use stats – most days there’s something I can do to move myself forward towards a statistical target. An example this year is a Weekly Bike Eddington number target which got me out for light spins on the bike on several occasions post the ETU long course when in the absence of this I would almost certainly not have got out the door.

By way of example the following would increase one of my Eddington Numbers tomorrow:

7 mile swim ! / 100 minute swim / 152 minute run / 107 minute bike / 21km run / 54 min run / 147 min training day

Some clearly easier than others.

4. Meet someone

If I know I’m not feeling motivated, or won’t when I wake up, I make an extra effort to arrange to meet someone. If I’m meeting a group I tend to try and be leading the ride so I have to turn up. Alternatively, arrange to meet a single person so you’d be letting them down by not turning up. This weekend I used this method, arranging to meet one of my athletes on Sunday. It proved highly motivational for both of us as it turned out.

5. Remind yourself the little things matter

It’s the small decisions you make day in day out that add up to great performance. Remind yourself of that when you think that this next session doesn’t matter. If you did an extra 4 lengths at every swim session that can add up to 300m a week, 1.2k a month, an extra 53k per year, 200+k in 4 years. It may not seem like a lot at that one session but if you make that right decision every session then it could be the difference in a few years time. This was a challenge I put to Jo once and I took on myself – when you

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