Maintaining motivation in a training program can be a challenge no matter your experience level. There will be days when you just don’t feel motivated to train and periods where it’s tempting to slack off.
Here are seven secrets to get motivated to work out.
- Be accountable. It’s easy to blow off a workout when nobody is expecting you to show. It’s a lot tougher to do so when you have a workout partner or training group expecting you. Join a workout group or start your own to help you stay accountable.
- Downsize your workout. We know what it’s like to face an ambitious workout on a day when the drive and energy level isn’t there. Rather than punt it completely, try downgrading your workout to something shorter or less strenuous. Once you’ve started, you might find the energy level kicking in and be able to tackle your original workout, but if not, you can still feel as if you accomplished something by doing a lighter workout.
- Plan ahead. It’s easy to rationalize missing a workout because you forgot your clothes or don’t have time to rush home to get workout gear. Stay motivated and on course by laying clothes out the night before and keeping extra gear in your car or under your desk.
- Attach a deadline. Training for a specific race or competition brings about a sense of urgency, keeping you motivated and less likely to skip a workout. Once you’ve signed up, let everyone know. This keeps you motivated since you’ve publicly pledged to do it. And if you signed up for an event well in advance, you’ve also made a financial commitment, no small consideration given the ever-escalating costs of running, triathlon, and other events.
- Mix it up. One of the biggest trends in participatory sports is the popularity of obstacle mud runs. Races such as the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash draw thousands of people to participate in races that include a dozen obstacles spread out over a 3- to 12-mile course. Athletes do not know what’s coming next. The last thing you want to do is make your training routine and these races will keep your body challenged and your mind engaged. No matter what your current training program is, be sure to vary it to constantly stimulate your body.
- Track your progress. The growth of children is more evident to a relative who sees them only a few times a year than it is to a parent. By the same token, it’s easy to overlook incremental progress. That’s one of many reasons it’s important to track your progress over weeks, months—even years. Like investing, seeing that progress helps keep you motivated and on track.
- Find your rhythm. Maybe you’re not lacking motivation, just timing. Some people will never be “morning people”, while others know that if they don’t do their workout in the morning, it will never happen. Some people can’t imagine training after a long day at work while others need that time to de-stress before heading home. Once you discover when you’re most motivated to train, that’s going to knock down another barrier for you and help you stay motivated.