With the arrival of a second lockdown, races once again being cancelled, and any idea of when this may all end being unknown, it can be difficult to feel hungry and determined every day. Whilst no one is immune to feeling a lack of motivation, there are a few tips and tricks I employ to try and keep my motivation high when times are testing.
One of the most important things I find is to remind myself why I do it. I train like I do because I love to run and it makes me happy. When I feel my motivation to get out the door dwindle, I remind myself of this, because, inevitably, every time I get out the door and run, I feel 100 times better than I did before. Even if the session or run doesn’t go quite to plan, I still feel better for doing it then I would sat at home (which I would not enjoy and would never do instead of training!). I always remind myself that I am doing this because I love it, no one is forcing me to. As soon as I recognise that training is completely my own decision, my motivation rises as I know this is what I choose to do.
Now there are few short term goals to aim for, as races are absent, my motivation now comes from focusing on my long-term goals. Just because those immediate races are gone, doesn’t mean the purpose of training has disappeared. If anything, I feel more motivated than usual at times, because I realise I am working towards aims I have in the next 2-10 years, so it doesn’t matter if the odd session doesn’t quite go to plan! The hard work doesn’t stop week on week, but we are able to get a long period of consistent training in that we might not otherwise have had the chance to do.
As an organised individual with a love for plans and schedules, the inability to plan ahead due to coronavirus is a shock to the system. Therefore, whilst I can’t make long term plans, I can structure and plan each day, and training is something that plays well to this. Whilst some aspects of daily life may have been thrown off course, I try to structure each day and plan what I want to achieve. This allows me to feel as though I am achieving something each day. For example, having a structured training plan to follow and focus on means when I get to the end of each session or day, I feel I have accomplished something and moved forward, as I have been able to tick off that day’s training. Some people love randomness (I’m not one of those), but I feel, having a structure to each day (you can obviously allow for natural variation) means I don’t feel overwhelmed by the lack of control or progress of life at the moment.
If you are someone who likes to feel as though you are achieving something and moving forward, it can help to set little goals. This allows you to track your progress and feel as though you are still moving in the right direction, not simply reaching a stalemate. Whether they be small personal goals, or training specific goals, they can help reduce the overwhelming nature of this second lockdown and big period of training.
Another thing that can help, is to make yourself answerable. This can be done by letting someone else know what you are doing. If you have a coach, this is already sorted, but if you don’t, tell someone else what you are doing training wise. This will ensure that you do do it. If you have told them what you are planning on doing in advance, you want to be able to tell them you have done it, not say you decided to stay at home instead.
Whilst I find it helpful to find ways to keep my motivation high, it is also ok to accept that motivation won’t be super high all the time. This is only natural. Training, and life, has ups and downs, and how we feel mentally goes up and down as well. I am learning to accept this, because it can’t all be great all the time. Sometimes accepting that you don’t quite feel 100% is better than beating yourself up because of it. I am a naturally motivated person, but on those days when I don’t feel quite as headstrong, I acknowledge it, work as hard as I can, but try not to dwell on it too much.
Whilst some days it may be hard, always try to look for the positives, because there are some out there, no matter how hard it may seem to find them.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!