Its about 2 months to Tri Time! The past several months of building a base are done and now its head down and go time. This, however, is when I find myself having a hard time staying motivated. I'm to the point where I feel like I should be DOING a triathlon, not just continually training for it. (Although I'd definitely have to crawl through the run if I had to do it now!) The early mornings are getting tougher, its harder to stay awake during the evening hours, and its been interesting juggling a full-time job and long workouts at the same time. And I'm not even training for a long distance triathlon! I don't know how people have a full-time job and train for an IronMan. So, how am I staying motivated to keep putting one arm in front of the other, one pedal after another, and foot after foot?
Loving The Journey
There's no way I'd be able to train this much if I didn't love it. Well, I lie - I love swimming, I really like biking, I'm still not so sure about the running, but if I keep telling myself I love the run I eventually will. Sometimes its hard when I'm not in the moment to remember how much I love the moment - I just try to remind myself that I do love this and that simple reminder can help motivate me to keep going.
Food is the ultimate motivator! I think about food a lot while I work out - I can't help it! I think about that warm bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, honey, and bananas, or that massive salad I'm going to have at lunch, or the ridiculous burrito bowl I'm going to inhale at dinner. I think about avocados splashed with lime juice, black beans tossed with rice and tomatoes, pasta covered in pesto sauce, chickpeas swimming in curry, and tortillas tightly hugging a mix of greens, carrots, onions, and hummus. Thinking about the good food I'm going to eat to replenish my body helps me keep going. I also think about how hard I'm working and eating a burger and french fries after would negate all of the hard work I put in. As good as it sounds, I remind myself that good food in makes a good workout later, and the cycle continues.
Yep, its true, I think about Marci a lot during workouts! It helps to have a training partner to keep you going. Its been hard since I moved away and we can't physically train together, but we always catch up during the day about our workouts and how they felt and what we're going to do next. We motivate each other to keep going when we've had a bad day and congratulate each other when we've reached a new goal or a new fast time. And we're constantly yelling at each other to stretch and foam roll. She holds me accountable for my training and that's a huge motivator.
Let's be honest here, I'm only sticking to my training because I signed up for a race and the days are counting down. I didn't fully prepare for my second half marathon and there's no faking your way through something like that. Having a race deadline is a huge motivation to get out of bed in the morning and complete the yardage scheduled for the day.
That Sense Of Accomplishment
Even when I don't want to run that 5, 6, or 7 miles, I try to remember how I feel when I've finished. When I don't want to get up early and jump into a cold pool for a 2000 yard swim I think about how amazing I feel when I pull myself out. When I think about driving to work instead of biking I remember how great I feel when I get to work and have had an hour of fresh air in my face. I'm always happier when I've toughed it out and accomplished something than taken it easy and regretted it later.
I've moved on from beating myself up when I have a bad workout to thinking positively when it gets hard. I try and think of a few key phrases to repeat in my head over and over again with each stroke. I tend to fall back on the Sanskirt mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum. I'll give you more info about this mantra in a later post at length, but this mantra is a Compassion Buddha mantra where each syllable corresponds to one of the six realms of existence. Om purifies bliss and pride, Ma purifies jealousy and the need for entertainment, Ni purifies passion and desire, Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice, Me purifies poverty and possessiveness, and Hum purifies agression and hatred. This mantra always calms me down, clears my head, and puts me at peace. Below is a great YouTube link of audio for this chant. Listen to it for a few minutes and I guarantee you'll feel more calm and at peace.
I need these reminders sometimes when it gets a little hard or when I want to give up. In the end I'm always glad that I got up, I'm always glad that I toughed it out, and I'm always glad that I finished what I started and that can be the biggest motivator of them all.