Three Simple Ways to Find Motivation to Train with No Events

Finding It Tough to Get Out the Door? 

Most of us need ways to find motivation to keep pushing ourselves in training.

I’ve heard from so many clients at the gym that they lost motivation back in April, and can’t stomach the idea of starting over again.

So they do little but take the dog for a walk and maybe some stretching.

I get it.

Motivation to do the hard intervals is seriously lacking in my life.

While I know it improves my overall fitness and strength, intervals are not any fun.

Enter Strava Fat Bike Racing!

I’ve only done a couple of fat bike races.

Three ways to find motivation to train: measure progress, create goal events, and/or do virtual events with Strava or other tool.
Photo by Paul Esch-Laurent on Unsplash

But when the local Wheel and Sprocket bike shop sent out information on their Hugh Jass Fat Bike Race Series, I knew what I’d be doing this fall and winter.

I now have “target events!”

The series is eight races throughout southern Wisconsin and one race in Illinois. Each venue will have Strava segments.

When I put “target events” in quotes, I’m not training to be successful in the races.

Having a target event just gives me a reason to get out and ride and get in the weekly interval sessions.

I went out to Blackhawk near Madison last Sunday to get in some riding. 

I was curious why the trails, with new snow, were not marked with any Hugh Jass signs. 

I realized later that Hugh Jass doesn’t start at Blackhawk until February…

Oops. 

At least now I did a pre-ride!

Three Ways to Find Motivation During the Pandemic

1. Monitor Your Training

One way to find motivation is to monitor your training and watch your progress.

If you are running, keep track of your miles and times. Do periodical timed segments and compare times.

If you are cycling, time yourself going up a local hill, or find a Strava segment to tackle.

Keep a training plan schedule and stick to it.

2. Do Virtual Events

A second way is to do some virtual events, like Hugh Jass. There are a lot of running, cycling, and other endurance sport events that utilize segments, timing, or measurement on smart devices.

Three ways to find motivation to train: measure progress, create goal events, and/or do virtual events with Strava or other tool.
Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash

3. Create Your Own Adventure

A third way to find motivation is create some adventures or events to make sure you’re keeping up with the training.

Neal Rogers, an editor at CyclingTips, told me earlier in the pandemic he had considered “Everesting,” or riding 29,000 vertical feet in one session on the same climb, just to give him some motivation.

“But that might be easier said than done, as it’s going to be hard to find time to prepare for that with our three-year-old daughter at home,” he said. “Other than that, it’s really just about exploring new roads on my gravel bike.”

Three ways to find motivation to train: measure progress, create goal events, and/or do virtual events with Strava or other tool.

Nickel Suggests Picking Your Own Adventure Goal

Lori Nickel, sports reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, took a more planned way to find motivation during the pandemic.

Nickel typically planned out a year of races and adventures on a white board, so she decided to create her own adventures to build some motivation in her life.

She’s done some socially-distanced events, but they are a far cry from the adventures, races, and gatherings Nickel typically gets to in a year.

Here’s her advice for creating some self-motivation:

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be an IRONMAN race or a triathlon or a century ride. It doesn’t have to be a six month training program.

It just has to be one thing that you want to do. Pick a goal. Make it realistic. Pick a date on the calendar. Write it down. Pull in friends or family to join you. Or make it your own. And go for it.

Don’t let this crummy pandemic rob you of a sense of accomplishment and achievement that you deserve to feel. We have lost jobs, income, opportunities, freedoms. I pray none of you have lost loved ones to the virus.

But we don’t have to lose our pursuit of health and fitness, and the sense of accomplishment when we reach one goal.

Lori Nickel

Ways to Find Motivation are Internal or External – or Both

Normally, I’d be racing cyclocross all fall and early winter.

Cyclocross nationals was supposed to be held in Chicago this year, and that provided some serious incentive to train.

Having some extra time with no races on the schedule meant that I could go on long rides, spend more time in the gym or doing at-home strength training, and/or doing more yoga.

I’m keeping track of my progress in the gym (Operation Build-a-Butt is in full swing).

My cycling schedule is fairly consistent: one four to five hour ride, one two to three hour ride, and one interval session a week. More is bonus.

I’m in the gym between clients two or three times a week, then yoga two or three times a week.

Right now, I don’t know anything about the segments for Hugh Jass. 

Actually, I don’t really care. As soon as I go fast on any kind of mountain bike, my speed and strength get trumped by my lack of balance and I fall over. 

I’ll continue the training I’m doing, focusing on getting stronger with weight training.

Do You Need a Training Plan or Strength Program?

Sometimes it’s a challenge to know what to do. 

Let’s talk! We can meet for a Zoom coffee (a Zoofee?) and discuss your goals and challenges. 

Maybe you need yoga, maybe some strength training, maybe an endurance training program that focuses on a specific target in 2021. 

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