Fall can be a tricky time of year. While some athletes have a renewed sense of training purpose as they plan their upcoming race season, others seem to fall into a rut where they lack motivation to plan ahead and the desire to train or even the desire to exercise at all. As a coach and as an athlete I have experience with both scenarios. If you are busy planning your races for 2020 and figuring out your training schedule then congratulations to you – this is a fun and exciting time! If this is not you, read on. I decided to write this post to share some things I do to regain my mojo.
Lost your training mojo?
Are you finding it hard to get motivated to lace up your runners, hit the pool, or go for a ride? If so, trust me, you are not alone. Even if you just came off a super race season and achieved many of your goals, it’s not uncommon to find yourself lacking motivation.
This can be because you worked really hard for a long time. Staying focused and training hard for months on end is hard both physically and mentally and quite frankly, exhausting! You might be facing post-race blues where you lose the desire to train once you achieve a big goal. Sometimes the larger the finish line high, the farther you fall once you no longer have that target race on the horizon. Or, maybe the change in seasons is messing with your mojo as fewer hours of sunlight and cooler air make it easier to sleep in, stay on the couch or just slow down. Regardless of the reason, you can turn things around!
Tips for change!
Take a break. Give yourself permission to not “have to do” anything with respect to fitness. This change in mindset can be incredibly invigorating! You might find that after even just a few days or a week you start to crave activity again. But do not fear if it takes a bit longer. Regardless of how long it takes, once you feel that little spark, act on it!
Keep fitness fun. When you are ready to get moving again, pick an activity you love to do. It might be going for a hike in the mountains or fishing or golfing. When we are in the midst of a heavy training schedule, life (i.e. work / school / family responsibilities) can make it hard to disconnect for more than an hour at a time. All the activities above take more than an hour which is why they can be so rewarding. Off season is a great time to fit in more time consuming fitness activities like these. Take the time to plan them – look forward to them – and enjoy them.
Make it social. Phone a friend or join a group and train with others. This works on a few different levels. Making plans with another person or joining a group adds a layer of accountability. When you don’t feel like doing something but you know others are counting on you, you are more likely to show up. And, it’s fun to train with others! When I am low on motivation I always connect with friends for fitness and ensure there is a social aspect included afterwards. Biking and wings are a winning combination in my book!
Try something new. Trying something new, and a little bit scary to get the blood pumping, can really kickstart your mojo! This year I took some boxing classes in the dead of winter and recently I gave mountain biking a try. A couple words of caution – do your homework first so you don’t get injured! Before I went careening down the hills in Nose Hill Park I got used to riding my son’s mountain bike in the neighbourhood. I made sure it fit me properly and I knew how to shift, brake, adjust the dropper seatpost etc.
Then, I enlisted the help of a fellow coach and friend, Sherri, to literally teach me how to ride properly. Again, I wanted to have a good experience and I didn’t want to hurt myself. After 30 minutes of her riding by my side providing tips, I gained confidence. It’s amazing how different mountain and road biking are. Despite one crash where I got back on my bike and rode it downhill with the handlebars flipped 180 degrees (inadvertent trick riding!), I was wanting more. Mission accomplished.
Remember that it’s normal to not always feel excited about training. Hopefully if you’re feeling low, some or all of the things that work for me might work for you. If you are looking for company to train with, you can learn about LYNX group training sessions on our classes page.