07 June 2009

Losing that motivation to train and how to get it back

Why is it that sometimes we lose any motivation to train or exercise?

I'm sorry if this post is a bit negative but it's just that this is a topic that I can relate to right now and I thought as I'm going through it I may as well blog about it.


Photo from oddstock

For the last two weeks I have been the ultimate coach potato, not having any motivation to get up and exercise. I know I should but I don't. What's keeping me from staying with the programme?

1. I'm disillusioned by not being able to do what I would most like to do - run.

Instead I am faced with alternatives to running like biking and swimming.

Swimming is great cross training for runners and is certainly an excellent fitness builder, but a) I am darn slow at it and b) it ranks as one of the most mind numbing activities I've done. The monotony of swimming in a pool is a major turn off.

Unlike running where in just 30 minutes of running you can get a decent workout, I feel that you need at least twice that on a bike to achieve similar results. In the middle of winter now my bike options are basically reduced to my home Exercycle or a weekend ride on my bike.

2. Fitting it in - finding the time.

With running there is no question, I could always find the time fit it in. When exercise options are limited to those second and third favorites there always seems to be a whole host of reasons why you miss a workout. Too busy at work, its too cold, favorite TV show, spending time with family, catching up on peoples blogs etc etc.

The key to staying motivated I think is to know what your goals are and have a plan to reach those goals. For me at this stage my goal is run again and to reach that goal I need to maintain some fitness and flexibility so that when I do start running I am in the best condition I can reasonably be in so as to minimise risk of further injury.

To overcome point one I need to keep reminding myself of the end goal. No matter what the boredom and monotony of swimming and stationary biking, the cross training will help me later.

Overcoming point two is about planning. A training course I once went on dealt partly with planning and said that the first things you should plan for every day are those things most important to you. Now of course exercise is not the most important thing in my life but it's got to rank up there right? Therefore exercise needs to be somewhere in the daily plan and the other stuff needs to fit around that. For me that means taking my lunch breaks and going to the pool, getting on the Exercycle two nights a week for 60 minutes and getting out on the road at least once each weekend for 1-2 hours, no matter what the weather.

Wish me luck as I try to re focus on the goal and return to some better planning.

4 comments:

Aaron June 8, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

Winter is not the most easiest time to stay motivated.

1. I hear what you are saying about the boredom of swimming. I've been trying to let me mind wander and zone out a bit. Much easier to do when running. The other thing is really focus on form.

2. Finding the time is a challenge. I struggle with a young family. Running for me is normally before the sun comes up or if I'm lucky midday during the week.

I find having a big goal helps motivate - otherwise sometimes its just training for the sake of training.

Good luck though!

Ewen June 8, 2009 at 8:38 PM  

Here's wishing you luck Bruce!

I hear what you say about not being able to do the exercise you want to do. It might be worth giving 'pool running' a go - you can use a special flotation vest and run in the deep end, or in the shallower end without one. There are many routines you can do to break it up - intervals and such. It's an excellent workout, and close to running in muscle group use.

Planning helps too. Make it a habit, like buying the paper every day, or checking your email. When it's something you do without fail, it's easy to get off the couch!

Chad in the AZ Desert June 9, 2009 at 6:38 AM  

There sure are times when it is difficult to stay motivated to do the activity that you love. Trying to stay motivated to do a couple of sports that you don't really like as much is far more difficult. I think you have the right idea to set out the goals and focus on them. Hopefully you can be back to running soon.

scott keeps running June 10, 2009 at 9:43 AM  

Here's to finding your motivation.

A couch potato for two weeks isn't such a big thing, though. I've read some stuff lately about how Kenyan runners are famous for taking a lot of time off from running (completely off) in between seasons. They use it to save their bodies and re-energize. So don't think of it as being a couch potato as much as re-energizing. :)

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