Motivation, Such an Aggravation

I recently participated in a #fitblog chat (check it out! They can be fun) where a question was asked: what is your daily inspiration?

I found answering it a little tough, as I had been recently in a downward spiral with motivation constantly decreasing.  This summer I had resolved to stick to Sprint triathlons; shorter distances would mean less time away from family, enabling me to help with house and home more.  Ideally, what I would be missing in terms of uninterrupted training time I’d be able to make up with more frequent yet shorter sessions.  Well, for a multitude of reasons, that didn’t happen.  What can I say? Real life (family, social, medical commitments) can get in the way; and they should since they really are more important.

So I’m feeling down about myself as I’m not getting in the training times I should, but I’m not completely out of the running.  Conventional wisdom about ways to stay motivated include:

  1. Train in groups/with buddies.  I rarely do this, as I find I need flexibility to be able to train and other people means scheduling appointments (and keeping them!).  When I train by myself, getting a 15-20 minute late start, but would you want to be kept waiting?
  2. Take inspiration from elites/pros/experts.  I follow a ton of triathletes on Twitter, which ought to be a way for me to feel part of a community, but all it did was make me feel inferior.  This person’s already done Umpteen kilometers today, and I’m not even out of pajamas.  Ho-hum.
The problem was that I was focused on performance based goals (achieving a time that was competitive with prior race performances) and the kind of training I “should” be doing: more frequent, more structured.  When that wasn’t happening, I began to worry, and get down on myself.  Fortunately, I have an angel who reminded me that I do this stuff for fun – and that is so important.  Here are my “new” motivation tips:
  1. Have fun.  Whatever you’re doing, make sure it’s fun for you.  This is your free time, you’re not going to spend it on self-torture.
  2. Anything is better than nothing.  Maybe a 7k tempo run is what would be prescribed for this juncture in time – but you can’t.  Not enough time, not enough energy, whatever… but 3k pushing the jogging stroller is still going to put strength in those legs that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

So that’s it: unless you’re overtraining (no danger of that here!), exercise makes you an alchemist: you are turning time into strength.

P.S. If you figure out how to turn fat into time, please contact me… we’re going to be rich!

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