Tuesday, October 21, 2008

True Motivation

When it comes down to it.....what is your motivation to train/ and race? I've been thinking about that a lot lately. This time of year in the triathlon world is always a time to re-assess, set new goals; and as we start to enter the days of darkness and freezing cold there must be something that motivates you to get off the couch bundle up and get out the door to train. This time of year does require special motivation when most of the world starts the steady stream of holiday fun beginning with Halloween all the way until New Years. Several of my athletes lose motivation just by not having a schedule......which is fine and I force that on them this time of year. I look at my 5 yr old. He needs no motivation to play any sport, go to his gym class or sports class....it is just purely fun for him. Is it always pure fun to get up early, train in the cold? Be honest. Not always, so there is some motivation that gets us to do these things that the"normal" people would never do.

Motivation can be from all kinds of sources. Is it a quote? a song on your I-pod? chocolate cake? Here are just a few more:

Reward: Simply put, Pavlov's dog. Motivated by food, treats or some type of junk food as a reward for the training. I've heard lots of friends talk about getting new swim suits to help get their butt in the pool (I have been guilty of this for years. I've admitted to have a thing with swim suits and its good I don't live near Keifer Swim store anymore)

Pure Competition: Motivated purely by the desire to beat so and so. Or for others purely by the desire to....just WIN.

Fear: motivated simply out of fear. Fear of getting fat, fear of getting old, fear of being a no one with out triathlon

Signing up for a race: sometimes I have found people are motivated simply by signing up for a race. Usually this is an Ironman. Knowing you have an Ironman on your schedule may tend to motivate you.

The Goal: motivated simply by having a goal and doing everything you can to try to achieve that goal whether it is getting faster, losing weight, or finishing a race.

To Prove something: motivated to prove to someone you can do it when they don't think you can

The picture above is of me in Queenstown NZ at 2003 Worlds. It was probably my best race ever. I finished 11th in my age group and was the first American in my age group and even won Inside Triathlon All-American for my age group that year. I did this 6 months after having Jack. So, in early June 2003 I had enormous motivation because in 6 months I was heading to the World Championships. So I set out running chubby and with big bouncy boobs that jiggled and a jiggly tummy, can we say ick (sorry to the guys). I think motivation here fell into several of the categories above! I think for me I am typically motivated by the goals I set and to just get faster. I really enjoy the process of setting a goal and then doing all the things necessary to achieve that goal. There are traces of some of the other types of motivations here and there depending on the race time of year etc, like I do like to sign up for 1/2 marathons in the winter to keep the winter training a little more motivating. Racing in a cool place will motivate me, but food and fear won't really do the trick.

Leave a comment on what motivates you. It would be fun to see what motivates others, even if its as simple as your favorite killer workout song. You can be anonymous if you're too shy to re-veal yourself!!!

Stay motivated!


Jenny Garrison said...

Just found your blog! LOVE it. Personal satisfaction and fulfillment motivates me to keep establishing new goals. If I didn't do tris I think I would need to be doing something. And just feeling fit! But I do think it comes and goes over the years. I can't do it every year and get the same feeling. I think it is healthy to take time to find other things that accomplish the same feeling of motivation. Sorry, long answer:)

Jennifer Harrison said...

Hey Linds....great question and the answer is REALLY what motivates me...not what I think motivates me. For me, quite frankly, it is the excellence and the challenge. It is the drive to win - or achieve whatever my goals are. I too, like Jenny, like to be fit and strong and feel healthy, but I could run and do random things to accomplish that...for me...it is to feel like I am making progress each season, despite getting older and fulfilling my goals - whether that is a certain race goal or achievement! :) Jen H.

meg martin said...

Hmmmmm . . . I love that quiet power I feel when I am really fit. When I am truly training well and hitting all my marks—I just smile to myself while doing random things—knowing that I do things most people wouldn’t dream of doing. It is also powerful for me to know that I can race hard and have that extra something to call on when racing gets tough. Hope that makes sense!?! Great post Lindsay!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsey! I also just found your blog and was intrigued by the motivation post. I used to be highly motivated by setting new PRs and proving to myself I could stick to a disciplined plan. This was a lot more fun (and easier) in my 20s and 30s when I was continually improving. Now that I'm (ahem) older and things come a lot harder, I really struggle with motivation. It's more of trying NOT to become the average sedentary person and trying to find new challenges rather than dwell on past accomplishments and be mad that I can't do that anymore. Competition used to motivate me, but now that hardly matters. I'm morphing into a kinder, gentler ex-athlete!! :)