Karmea Focus of the Month
We’ve all been there. First thing in the morning staying snug under the cosy bed covers, or getting home from work and making the fatal mistake of sitting on the sofa for 5 minutes. Your motivation to get out and complete your training wanes, and the excuses start to creep in.
Well, you are not alone. Even seasoned athletes sometimes find they have to dig deep to their training done. The intention and outcome for keeping ourselves fit, strong, and healthy, has to outweigh the desire to sit the session out. For some it’s dreams of a personal best or podium, for others it’s knowing we gave it everything, looking back with no regrets, and leaving no ‘what if’s?’
When you next find yourself lacking enthusiasm for your planned exercise session, examine the driver for this lull. Is it mental or physical?
If it’s physical exhaustion then you need to look at why. Have you eaten and hydrated enough during the last 24hours to sustain your energy output? Are you carrying a niggling injury or nagging snivels? Are you potentially over training, and not finding the balance between activity and inactivity? Keep in mind that strength gains happen when the body repairs and rebuilds…. would you be better to sit this one out?
Remember, pain in your body, aches, illness and exhaustion are the body’s signals that it is unhappy and needs rest. It has no other way of letting you know. These signs should never be ignored. It is better to turn up on the start line of your event slightly under trained, than over trained, exhausted and unable to perform at your best for the event you’ve given the last 3-6months of your life to.
If the reason for the contemplation is mental then you need to ask yourself: is your goal appropriate, and realistic? Do you want it enough? If the answer is yes then GET OFF YOUR ARSE AND GET TRAINING!
Pushing yourself through a session when you really can’t be bothered is crucial to building mental strength. When the chips are down 10km into your half marathon, on day 2 of your 3 day trekking adventure, or on that 10km evil hill climb 90km into your 170km bike event, it’s your mind that will get you through. Your mind will give up before your body does, and once the mental goes the physical will follow. Mental preparation is so important as the same mind which raises those fears of failure, can also be trained to hold the belief that you will succeed. The body really does achieve what the mind believes.
Some tips for finding (and keeping) your motivation are:
1. Make your end goal all about you. To often we get talked into things by friends (usually over a few beers). Friends (and beers!) are indeed a great motivation. But remember, you have to want to do this. You have to push yourself to train for it, you have to do the event, and you have to live with the end result.
2. Create a mental picture. Keep that image of you succeeding in your head. Imagine how amazing it will feel crossing the finish line, standing on top of the mountain, pushing your body to new boundaries, seeing physical changes. You are going to feel accomplished, satisfied, and definitely have earned a beer!
3. Get your friends and family involved. Yep, after point one this might sound like a bit of role reversal. But if know you are meeting people for an early morning run, you are more likely to do it. If your family are supportive in your goal, they will help drag you off the sofa and encourage you to train. Research shows that the support of those in the circle of influence around you can make or break your dream.
4. Get a coach! Sounds like an obvious one coming from us, but having someone watching your every move and getting on your back if you miss sessions is brilliant motivation. Also, having someone plan your training programme and progress you towards your dream means you are less likely to get injured, less likely to overload and more likely to stick to your training and achieve success.
5. Get your routine in order so you don’t hit those slumps and allow the excuses to creep in. Put your clothes out the night before, right by your bed so you can just get up, get dressed, and get out. Change into your sports gear in the office so you are ready to go straight to training when you leave work. Don’t sit down when you get home, get changed ASAP from work mode into sport mode, switch the physical to switch the mental.
6. Make exercise a part of life. Building your training into your daily life means that you actually achieve something when you train. Cycle to the office, run home from work. If you live too far away, then catch a bus to a certain point out from home, get off and run. Cycle one way and bus home. Take the stairs not the lift. Swim in your lunch hour. The options are endless! Leo Babauta writer of Zen Habits puts it beautifully – “exercise should be folded into your life like blueberries into batter”. We love a good food analogy!
7. Channel your inspiration. It could be your faith in God, a heroic story, a motivational quote or a specific person. Something that reminds of why you are doing what you are doing, and gives you the strength to get out there and keep going. Many raise money for a charity as motivation, this is a great way to keep you committed to your training.
8. Make it visible at all times. Keep that dream in view and keep the constant reminder right there everyday. Pop your training plan up on the fridge door, stick photos, quotes, stories where you can see them. Connect with these visual cues as they trigger emotion and drive that expectation to succeed.
9. Finally, remember how crap you felt on Tuesday when you didn’t get up and train?? Remember how you beat yourself up all day and ended up saying you’d never miss a session again? We’ve all done it and we’ve all still missed another session. Remember that crap feeling after skipping the sessions – let down, slobby, regretful. Now, replace those with how great you felt after training, accomplished, satisfied, happy, motivated to do it again.
Above the players entrance to the Wimbledon’s Centre Court are lines from Rudyard Kiplings poem ‘If’. It’s a story about grown up living, of mottos and maxims for life. Many great sporting athletes use it for inspiration and reading it you can see why.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Time for a complete lifestyle revamp? Book now for our next Karmea Life Unlimited 5 week challenge, starting May 25
Need some help keeping motivated for your goal? Talk to us about a custom Karmea coaching programme