Motivation to Train

So the date on the calendar is telling us it’s the beginning of Spring, yet the weather still seems to be saying something quite different. And let’s face it, riding outside in the rain, snow and ice is not only cold and miserable – it is actually quite dangerous at times. So we’ve done what all good triathletes do; dusted off our turbo trainers and made the most of our Zwift subscriptions. Since then it’s been turbo after turbo, which lost its novelty back in December, and you are feeling slightly concerned that your fitness isn’t quite where it should be this close to race season. Finding the reason and your motivation to train is the key.

Don’t Despair!:
It’s okay – a positive being that you are definitely not over trained! You may think you’re behind but you can still pull it back. Perhaps you haven’t logged the same hours as you may have done by riding outside, however you will have achieved some good quality sessions. Turbo trainer sessions do not necessarily need as much time as riding out side as there is no coasting down hills, no traffic lights and no opportunities to stop for coffee & cake. They are a continuous session of effort at varying levels of intensity and thus you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Time for Consistency:
Panicking now and jumping into a massive block of training while still trying to balance work, rest and play is not going to be the answer. Psychologically and physiologically you are setting yourself hard to reach targets which more often than not, you will not meet. Added to that you are at risk of over training, injury, fatigue and disappointment. In order to claw back any deficit, the main thing you need to focus in on is consistency. Yes it’s such cliché when it comes to training – but it’s true. Gaining fitness, skill and strength relies on having a solid level of consistency. Missing too many sessions will start hindering progress. Remember consistency also factors in rest and recovery as your body only makes the fitness adaptations in the rest periods: you stress the body during exercise then allow it to rebuild and recover so that next time your body is better equipped for the stresses of training. It sounds simplistic however it’s amazing how many people just do not allow enough time for the recovery/compensation phase, instead they keep digging a hole with more and more training and no recovery.

Is It Time to Make Some Sacrifices?:
Only you will be able to answer this one. Are there some social engagements that are going to interrupt your training and the consistency? If you are feeling a little behind at this point, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your diary. Maybe a little pruning could be done? Cut down on the socalising/drinking/late nights and free up some more time for training and recovery. This is an immensely personal decision and only you can decide what is a good balance and what you are prepared to miss out on in order to feel race ready. I encountered this very situation after breaking my collar bone in mid-March a few years back. With this enforced lay-off I made the conscious decision to prioritise my training and recovery for the next couple of months in order to regain some of the lost ground. What are YOU prepared to sacrifice? Most importantly: DO NOT just try to crowbar in extra sessions and skip the recovery as these will catch up on you fast!

A Training Holiday/Camp:
If you do want to make some big gains in a short space of time then you need to allow yourselves even more recovery time. The classic example is going somewhere warm on a training camp. Here you leave behind the stresses and strains of life and essentially become a professional athlete for a week. You may scoff at this concept, however just take professional athletes as case and point. The only reason they can cope with their training load is because they split their time between training and recovering. A day on a training camp involves: wake, fuel, train, fuel, rest/recover/nap, then later in the day train, fuel and sleep. There are only two things to focus on… training and recovery.
As a result, people are constantly amazed at the volume they can accomplish in one week when they allow their bodies proper recovery by removing all of life’s extra stresses. If you have the time, money and inclination then there is no better way to boost your training than heading off to a warm and sunny climate to train for a week with other like-minded folk. Everyone works together making gains in fitness, skill and knowledge while be inspired by those around them. All the while mentally switching off for the week, allowing someone else to make all the hard decisions (the coaches). Post camp you can go back to work feeling motivated, fitter, mentally rested and better prepared for the season.

Making Yourself Accountable:
Some people need a coach, some a training partner, whilst others need to hold themselves accountable to friends and family by stating their goals. If you feel behind on your training then a coach will certainly help you get back on course. If that’s not an option than making yourself accountable to a training partner or your friends and family will give you that extra motivation moving forward. State your goals to those around you so when you feel like missing a session you will know that others will be watching your progress come race day!!

Take Away Points:
– Consistency is key, set yourself realistic targets and hit them week in week out.
– Look at your diary and asses your goals and priorities for the season.
– Never ever sacrifice recovery In order to squeeze in extra sessions.
– Make a new realistic/achievable plan with the time you have remaining.
– Book a training holiday: Catch up on your training while resting your mind…. And get a tan!
– Get a coach if you can or make yourself publicly accountable, state your goals!

Written By Alan Scott.
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