Mental Mondays (3): Motivation

Week 3 of 50:
Okay, we are doing good here, yea? Last week we did an exercise to find or write down our DIRECTION. This should have pumped you up a little. Do you feel like you have a purpose going into this season? You should. I do! Soon enough we will start to break down that Direction into actual goals, but for now, be happy with knowing where you want to go!

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
– Zig Ziglar

This week we are going to talk about motivation. It’s a little early to discuss this, but there is a reason. This time of year is classic for feeling in a lull. You might feel like you are lacking motivation. I want us to remember that feeling. It’s cold outside and many of us have been putting in lots of time on trainers and treadmills. We have forgotten what it feels like to do a long run in the warm sun. This is the perfect time to talk about Motivation.

Motivation is the inner striving of individuals that effect behavior, the ability to initiate and persist at a task, and to act with purposeful behavior to achieve gratification. Motivation is intrinsic, it comes from within, and it will completely determine the role that triathlon plays in your life. Your motivation will effect every aspect of your performance, and in truth it is the one factor in your sport that you have complete control over.

Take a quick assessment of your motivation level. Why do you compete in your sport? Are your trying to satisfy outer desires or inner desires? Nobody has ever made it to Kona because they wanted a hot body, but every year it gets a lot of people started down that path. What desires deep down in you are you trying to satisfy by competing? Take a snapshot of this, write down some words for yourself to reflect on in the future. You may have a better idea of the answers when you are mid season, but knowing what gets you out the door to train in the winter months is key.

It is inevitable in every athletes season that motivation will wane. This can be a result of over training, monotony in training, injury, illness, or like now-a-days the WEATHER. It can also happen “just because”. Let’s start a list of actions we can do to increase or pull back our motivation. If you are feeling low now, start a list and as your come out of it, note what helped bring you back above the water. What aspects of your life and training get you “all hyped up”, include those so that you can use them at a later date to pull up your motivation level. Also include things like rest, massage, more sleep, etc if those have a positive effect on your motivation. If we are getting close to an important race and we can tell that our motivation is on a downhill slope, I want us to be able to pull out this list and use it when we need it most. I would hate to get to that point without any resources, and thus compromise an important race.

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
– Andrew Carnegie

Lastly, help your friends! Leave a comment on my blog about what gets you all hyped up about your sport. Let’s use this post as something we can look back on. I’ll start!

Mental Mondays (2): Direction


Week 2 of 50
Last week we thought about priorities. We wrote some things down for mid season, including red flags. This exercise really helped me narrow down that when Family/Friends, Sport/Health, Diet, and Finances are going in the right direction, my life is pretty peachy. This helped me to write down a list of questions to ask myself mid-season to reaffirm my priorities, and to keep my actions in check. I hope you joined me and wrote down your own. I think they will really come in handy in the next couple months.

Speed is irrelevant if you’re traveling in the wrong direction
– Gandhi

This week we are going to talk about direction. I had a long talk with my coach recently about opportunities and direction and it made me realize that we need to put some effort towards the idea of direction before we move on. For some people their direction is clear; either they have a strong sense of what they can accomplish, or they have limiters in their lives that dictate their direction (family, occupation, finances). For most of us, we struggle really knowing where we are headed. Sure, we set goals, and we hop from workout to workout, but knowing where you are REALLY, DEEPLY headed can give you strength and a sense of purpose in each of your training sessions.

The truth is opportunities and distractions are going to arise for you, the athlete. If you don’t have a strong sense of where you are headed, why, and what for, then every little opportunity will become a distraction to your purpose. We have to have a way of sorting through all the opportunities that arise, becasuse let’s face it, when you are doing the right things in you life, opportunities come knocking all the time. You have to have a solid idea of what detracts, and what adds to your training.

Defining Direction
So how do we decide on an overarching purpose. We soul search. Here’s an idea, take a blank piece of paper and write on it “My purpose and direction this year in my sport will be”. Now write down WHATEVER jumps into your head. When you start shedding tears you are getting somewhere. Don’t quit early, keep going until you have something that sends a tremmor through your entire being…that’s your direction.

Write down your direction. It can be for the season, for they year, for the next five years. Whatever resonates right now is what you are going to go for until you get it!

Using your direction
Your direction is your litmus test. It is that overarching phrase which you will bump everything up against when you are thinking of deviating from your plan. “Hey Sonja, wanna run 10 miles with me this Sunday”. Humm my schedule says bike, but I love running with so-and-so. BOOM, this is when I will refer to my direction. “ooh, Sonja, you should do such and such triathlon with us”. BOOM refer to my direction. Sometimes it will make perfect sence to take an opportunity that has been presented to you, other times it will not, but if you have a direction then you will continue to stay on your pre-chosen path.

Put your Direction out there
When we define the direction of our lives the universe will start to set up opportunities to help us along. If you know where you are going you will be surprised how many times the path continues to be illuminated before you. Put it out there in the world and it will come flying back to you in record speed. don’t be afraid to define your direction, take the plunge. When we are midseason and we can’t even remember how we ever got ourselves into this, our direction will provide stability.

Obviously we need to define our direction, give it a voice and write it down. But beyond that, let’s make sure we also talk to someone that we trust about our direction. No one can give you answers but find someone who can ask you some questions about your chosen direction so that you become more firm and defined in your chosen path.

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar
– Helen Keller

Mental Mondays (1): 50 Mondays Left


Many triathletes still don’t do any mental training, and among those who do, most do it only in the final hours or days before big races. Mental training needs to happen year-round. – Dave Scott

Week 1 of 50:
There are 50 Mondays left in 2008. Save $20 on each and you’ll have $1000. Lose a pound on each and you’ll have lost 50 pounds. Run 3 miles on each and you’ll have run 150 miles by the end of the year, that’s 5.73 marathons. 50 weeks will form a habit for sure. Endeavor to do something on Mondays this year that will set you up to have success in future years.

Little bits add up. This year, I plan to take Mondays as a day to focus on the mental aspects of my sport. Snowshoeing season is in full bloom and triathlon season will be here before I know it. 50 days of mental sports focus and training…that’s 1.67 months. That’s 50 days to make mental goals, and work to achieve them. If you plan to have sport in your life long term, the fitness will come, but the mental aspect may not. I plan to take time now to make some deposits in the MENTAL bank. Like the wealthy do it, if you make enough deposits in the bank now, you can live off the interest and dividends for years to come.

Some would say that if triathlons aren’t first priority; you can’t be best, but…life is about balance. I wouldn’t do my best if my priorities weren’t straight. – Barb Lindquist

Week One: Over the next week let’s think about our priorities. What is most important to us in this world? What things do we do that require a long-term investment? What are we willing to give up for our sport, and what are we not willing to part with? Use this week to assess what you do daily that doesn’t align with your priorities, let’s phase those things out. Let’s take this week to think about how we can simplify our lives down to doing what is necessary for us to be happy and well balanced. Let’s work on aligning our daily actions with our priorities.

Also, because with all sports we can tend to get a little overboard as the season progresses, lets write a note to our self that we can re-read mid season to remind ourselves what balance is. Include your priorities, and a few red flags. Lets do some work up front so when the busy season comes and our focus is on peak performance, we have some pre built tools to refer back to.

It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau