Welcome to ‘repair, rejuvenation and renovation’ season otherwise incorrectly referred to as the off-season. It is absolutely not the “off” season. It is “the” season to lay the foundation for 2015 – to heal any injuries, to revive your spirit and to strengthen your weak links. Motivation is challenging with the lack of daylight, the cold and the very distant race schedule. Here are some tips to spark up your preparation for summer 2015:
Establish a short-term early season goal. Your goal may be IRONMAN Muskoka in August but aim for a winter goal such as a March ½ marathon or an April IRONMAN 70.3 or a destination race. Since these are not likely to be “A” races, set a mini goal for each of them such as boosting your run speed, honing your mental or nutritional game, perfecting your pacing etc.
Write your goals on a card and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Stare your goals in the face each morning. When you read, “I want to run faster in March”, you will be excited to lace up your shoes.
Visualize the benefit of completing the activity. It is easy to say, “it is too cold to run” and then roll over and sleep. What you are really saying is “I am going to stay in bed because I want to be slow at the March ½ marathon”. Instead, focus on the benefit of executing each workout – “I will get fitter, faster, be energized for the day and be so proud of myself when this session is done.” Picture yourself doing the training and see the associated benefits. Then, contrast that with the picture of skipping of the workout and the associated regret.
Schedule your workouts for the morning before work. The only thing competing for your time in the morning is sleep but if you postpone workouts to the evening, now training has to compete with dinner, playtime, socials, rest, television and general relaxation. Wake up, train, feel accomplished and on task for the rest of the day.
Plan a winter training camp, weekend clinic or training seminar. Think of this as a physical and mental retreat where you will learn new skills, get fit and re-charge your battery in pursuit of your sport. Every profession has team building weekends or motivational meetings. Triathlon needs a “spa day” as well where you can grow as an athlete in mind, body and spirit.
Keep a training log and include your daily emotions as well as workout data. At the end of the week, write down what you did well and what you can improve on for next week. Be honest. When you overcome a hurdle in your preparation, you will be empowered. This is your short story of your journey to your goal. Make it a piece of art. Be creative.
Establish a theme for each month of the winter. This mantra should motivate you and should be personal. For example, since December is likely to be busy, social and sporadic, your January theme might be “Routine”. Then each morning, repeat “Routine” to yourself. Write it on your bathroom mirror and on every page of your journal and that will be your mental cue to get the workout done.
Surround yourself with like-minded people at least once per week. Share these tips with someone else and then check up each other to see how you are doing. Compare training journals. Show each other your goal cards. Discuss your themes. When you share motivation, you will be motivated.
There is no question that the winter can play havoc on your triathlon training. But a positive, on task and goal-driven mind, is stronger than any winter storm. Your attitude is trainable and controllable. If you can overcome the usual training winter lulls, then imagine how indestructible you will be when you hit a curveball in the middle of your goal race. Attitude is more important than fact. The fact is that winter is tough on our triathlon inspirations. Let your attitude rise up and make you a champion of winter and then a champion on race day.