Triathlon training with a turkey leg.
As it gets to the coldest, wettest & darkest months of the year it becomes increasingly difficult to motivate yourself to get out on the bike or up at the crack of dawn so that you’re not losing too much of the gains that you have made in 2015.
With that in mind what can you do to get yourself motivated in the run up to the most fattening time of the year where you’re are never more than 10m from a chocolate treat, with none triathletes constantly asking do you want a biscuit. “No I want to sit here eating my protein recovery shake after smashing it in the gym this morning.
Christmas is the hardest for any triathlete.
Hardest because motivation levels can hit a record low if you are not careful. Triathlon training should be broken down into manageable chunks so that it is easy for you to plan and also to cope physiologically. The best way to keep you going is to have micro goals that lead to bigger goals. To start your training session it might be.
To have a steady warm up
Get up the hill
Enjoy the view
Get to a certain speed on the decent
Recover for a few minutes
Hit the hill again
Enjoy the view again
Cool down well
Stretch off well
So as you can see this could be a 20 minute run broken into 9 stages each lasting a couple of minutes max, which means that you can do anything for 2 minutes! These micro chunks can build up into your longer term goals, these goals are building blocks to your long term goals, for that month for example.
Complete three 5km runs
Get up that hill you hate
Complete a 400m pool swim
Get out on a social ride with a distance of at least 40km
Loose 1kg in weight
Work on core (the part that a great deal of triathletes will neglect)
This gives you a month long plan to work to that will mean that you have some manageable goals that you know you can achieve. When you tick off the last one on the list then give yourself a reward. Be it your favourite coffee or a trip to the bike shop with a £20 note in your hand, like the challenges you need to have micro rewards so that you reward yourself for your hard work. These rewards need to match the goals, doing your first 5km in 40 minutes should not mean that you treat yourself to a new bike. Link the goals to the rewards. For example a recent reward for me was to hit 6 months sales target and that meant that I could buy a new helmet that I had been looking at for some months. My next goal is a mixture of sales and health which motivates me both in body and business – I won’t tell you want that is just yet.
These micro triathlon goals should lead to certain races that you have planned in. The Triathlonbox team will often start to build early in the year with some winter sessions building to an end goal of a certain race. Winter miles = Race day smiles. A great little mantra to think about when you’re struggling with the winter training, the better your winter sessions are the easier and more focused you can be on getting that corner right, or over taking fellow triathletes… Just don’t count out loud as you pass them!
If you are struggling for motivation still then I’m a heavy believer in the use of music to motive, having recently discovered Spotify this free to use shared music playlister is a real motivator. You work from other peoples customised play lists, that can be entitled spin class or hill session. Have a search for the Sky teams play lists there are some real leg burners on there for the bike sessions. Failing that if you’re indoors, on the bike then Sufferfest is an amazing tool that will push you way beyond your current limit. Don’t think you can achieve a session then this mix of music and video will drive you harder than you would normally.
If you’ve read down this far and your still head in hands how do I get out of this hole I’m in then, rest assured that you are not alone. We have all been where you are.
“I feel so low and nothing is helping”
“Right I’ve been out on this run for 5 minutes, I HATE IT”
“Can someone send me directions to the gym please?”
We have all been there and if you have been working hard during the season then maybe it is a time to rest and rethink. The Triathlonbox team tend to have a good few months of “putting everything back together”. This normally involves some family time, lots of stretching, possibly some physio / sports massage and lots of random trips to do different things that you wouldn’t normally do to try to break the cycle of training that has taken hold for the last few months.
A change of scenery can give you a huge boost, as if like me you have done most of the roads near where you live, then throw your bike in the car or start at a friend’s house. Even hand over the planning of your ride over to someone else – it’s amazing what a boost it can be doing a road that you have done 100 times, approaching it from another angle, seeing a different view.
One thing that I tend to do is watch some of the motivational videos that I have in the bank to watch. I love to watch the following movies in the off season to try to realise what it’s all for. Yes man, makes you realise that life is about the opportunities that are around you if you just make time for them. I watch back some of the YouTube clips from races that I have done. Ironman motivation – Ironman Recovery – Crap triathlon transition, all makes me realise what has been achieved. And no other movie in the world makes you want to go to the gym more than watching 300, (I do get a little abuse for owning up to watching this – not great movie but you don’t half feel fat after watching it).
Christmas is the best time for any triathlete.
Why – very simply new triathlon gear as Christmas gifts.
And what other time of the year do you get the chance to get outside during the week to really enjoy the clean crisp cold air pumping through your lungs with a few mates. Over the festive period you have the chance to get out each morning at the break of dawn to enjoy a turkey burning early morning ride or run. So that you can get back in doors in time to refuel on lean turkey meat and maybe (if your weak) have about 2,000 calories of chocolates pretty much guilt free as you have earned them with your early morning ride.
Well do you think the Brownlee brothers don’t have a box of quality street each in the build up to their home town race at Leeds Triathlon in 2016.
Have a great break and look forward to meeting you in the new year.