I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us have experienced the struggle for motivation to varying degrees at some point in our triathlon careers. The more I speak with my friends, training buddies and fellow triathletes, the more prevalent I realise this issue is. And it’s not surprising really, when you consider the commitment it takes to not only train for 3 sports, but achieve a certain level of competency in each to be able to string them all together and actually compete in a race! Yep, it’s a demanding sport alright, no matter what level you’re competing at.
For most, this challenge is one of the most appealing factors at the beginning. The thought of mastering such a tough beast is an irresistible challenge, the dream of one day conquering it fueling your enthusiasm. And – truth – it makes you feel a little bit special when people look at you with such adoring admiration when they find out you’re a triathlete! Wow. This alone makes the effort worthwhile, right?
So you’re going gang-busters with training, turning up at every squad session with bells on, giving it your all every day. And life is awesome! You’re fitter than you’ve ever been in your life! You’ve grown muscles you didn’t know you had! You’ve got a sweet tan! And your coffee addiction is finally justified! (As are those blocks of chocolate – dark, of course).
You compete in your first couple of races, riding the high with giddy excitement at competing in this new, addictive sport with your new squad besties, and your shiny new bike and pretty running shoes with matching kit. You’re fit, feeling great, and totally committed to your new lifestyle. You’re living and breathing triathlon.
Months (and perhaps years) pass, the training routine continues…until one day it feels like you’re a slave to the early morning starts and late night training, the morning alarm feels like it’s getting earlier and earlier, and slowly, slowly, the shine starts to wear off this new toy. You’re just going through the motions now, training because you feel you have to and it’s all you know; this has become your lifestyle and it just feels plain LAZY if you’re not out there every day. Right?! The snooze button gets a workout, training sessions are skipped (because you just can’t be bothered), and the internal dialogue of justifications and schedule rearranging to do the session at lunch time becomes the norm. The internal struggle is the new way of life.
Suddenly, this isn’t so fun anymore. What happened to the glory days where you were so enthusiastic and passionate about this sport? When you jumped out of bed and raced off eagerly to training? When the feeling of being so fit and healthy was something you took for granted, and enjoyed? When you ate up 20km runs for breakfast – before breakfast? Gone, like a distant memory. It almost feels like a different person, right?
Some would say you’ve lost your Why, your reason for doing what you’re doing. I would suggest that you’ve lost connection with your goals and what it is you want to achieve in this sport. You’ve forgotten what it is you love about triathlon, that made you start in the first place. Which I guess is essentially the same thing.
So, what can you do about it?!
Great news – it’s fixable, and you can do it yourself. If you’ve lost your inspiration for your beloved sport, and you’ve found yourself in the land of apathy, struggling to train and avoiding races like the plague, then read on. I’ll talk you through a simple process that will help you reconnect with yourself, your sport, and your goals.
- Think about your current situation. How would you rate the enjoyment and satisfaction you get from triathlon, out of 10? (0 = this sucks, 10 = this is awesome!). How do you feel about your answer? Write this down.
- Close your eyes, and envision your dream situation. What would it look like? What would your experience be in training and racing? How would you be feeling as an athlete? As a person? See it, feel it, in colourful real life. Write it down.
- Now go back to when you first started triathlon. What attracted to you to the sport? What did you love about it? How did it make you feel? What did you get out of racing? Write it down.
- Take a moment to review your answers to questions 1-3.
- Now think about the goals you have in the future (if you don’t have a goal, think about a dream race you want to accomplish). How do you want to feel training for that race? What experience do you want to have on that journey? How do you want to feel standing on that finish line?! Write it down.
- Now we’re going to make a Why (or goal) statement out of your answers to questions 2, 3 & 5, that will keep you connected to your goal/s and help you start enjoying this sport again!
- What words, thoughts and feelings do you connect with the most?
- Why are you doing this sport – what does it bring you in your life?
- What will keep you inspired and get you up out of bed in the morning?
Write a statement of about 5-7 words (keep it brief and punchy) that sums up these thoughts and feelings.
- Read your statement a couple of times – how does it make you feel? Tweak it until it hits the right note and fills you with purpose, drive and excitement!
- Bonus tip – get creative to make this stick! Try attaching a song to this, a vision in your mind, or a picture that represents your new goal statement.
I hope this process has helped you reconnect with your love of triathlon. I would love to hear about your experience, so please comment below and tell me what you found!
To find out more about the personalized performance support coaching offered through DrKellieRose Performance Science, check out the programs for athletes here.
To speak with me directly and find out which program is best suited for you, book a free 20 min consultation.