Weeks to the Tremblant Ironman: 18 (O.M.G.)
Swim: 1h00 (The couch won on Wed night…STILL need to get back to my 2x swims per week.)
Run: 1h30 (Knee started acting up so my long run was cut short.)
Although there are still 18 weeks to go before I line up at the swim start in Tremblant, it somehow is all starting to feel very real. And very, well, close. The sun is out. The buds are starting to show, and I don’t feel close to ready to take on the big challenge of an Ironman. Yet.
The little bit of fear is finally getting to me, and making me realize that I really do need to work harder at being consistent and not missing workouts. This week my couch got me and I missed my swim workout. (Ok, so technically I made the decision not to go, but the guilt has been eating away at me. My coach even said he’d come take away my couch if I don’t go to my next swim workout – he knows what I value!)
I’m not sure if I’m tired (evening weekday motivation is usually quite low) or if I’m in a bit of a motivation slump. Maybe I’m just needing to take a few days to refresh my mindset. Happens to all of us. Once we have set a goal, how do we stay motivated? How do we remind ourselves that the goal is worth the sacrifice, and the work?
Here are a few ways that I have tried in the last couple of days to get my mind back on track:
- Visualize success: Define what success first feels like for you. Where are you? Who are you with? What will it feel like to have attained your goal? Speak in the present tense when visualizing the culmination of your goal. For example: On August 20th I will cross (run or walk across) the finish line of the Tremblant Ironman, and have a huge (tired) smile on my face.
- Channel your role model: I look up to many professional triathletes, from Mirinda ‘Rinny’ Carfrae to Chrissie Wellington.
They work immensely hard to achieve their goals. Would they skip a workout? Would they miss their morning alarm? Probably not. Rinny’s thoughts on training? “I stick to a plan and get the work done,” she says. “Unless I’m coming down with a cold or [something]… then I’ll make adjustments, but for the most part I’m very strict with my training plan.” New word for the next 18 weeks: S-T-R-I-C-T. Why? #becauseironman
3. Fake it until you become it. This goes back to consistency. If I’m consistent I’ll get stronger, and faster. If I’m consistent I’ll be that much more confident to tackle the distances on Ironman day. Many of us deal with self-doubt in our professional and personal lives. We wonder whether we are good enough, smart enough, or imposters. Women especially have been more prone to developing the ‘imposter syndrome’. Will people take us seriously? Will they believe that we are capable of offering x product or service, etc? If you’re not convinced yourself, then take it one day at a time. Repeat the actions and the behaviours over and over again, and slowly your mind will shift from doubt to belief. Everyone must start somewhere. Begin with what you have, and where you are. Take that first step. My motto? One day and one workout at a time.
3b. Remind yourself that you are capable. If the motivation slump is due to doubt, think back to other goals that you have accomplished. Sometimes reminding the mind that you were able to set out goals, and put a plan in place to succeed, and do the work required to get there, can kick-start your motivation. For me it might be thinking back to how I wanted to become a doctor, and I graduated from medical school, or how I wanted to complete a marathon, and I crossed that finish line in NYC with a huge smile on my face. For you it might be running your first 5km, or completing that big project at work. It might be setting a plan in motion to budget for and organize a long vacation, or write your Master thesis. Whatever you have accomplished in the past was, at least in part, due to your perseverance and hard work. Relive those memories, pat yourself on the back, and use that positive energy to propel you forwards as you attain new goals.
4. Cue the motivation music. When all else fails, trick the brain by listening to motivational music. There’s a reason why motivational speakers blast energetic music before they come on stage, there’s a reason why athletes have their favorite pre-race songs cued up on their phone, there’s a reason why you too should have a list of fave songs. Music appeals to our primal emotions. It stirs up a reaction that can shift our mindset. Try it. Some of my current go-to motivational tunes?
- The song I had on repeat when I ran my first marathon (ie. a song that means something to you): ex. Human, by the Killers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIZdjT1472Y
- Powerful female pop songs: ex. Stronger, by Kelly Clarkson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=47&v=Xn676-fLq7I
- A good positive beat: ex. Work this Body, by Walk the Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzkCk6-d8Oc
- Gritty classic Eminem: ex. Lose Yourself, by Eminem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yhyp-_hX2s
- Workout specific lyrics: ex. Pumpin’ blood, by NoNoNo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j4I0PqNzKE
- ‘Be in the moment’ music: ex. The Nights, by Avicii: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtF6Jej8yb4
With a refresh of my music playlist and a refresh of my motivation mindset, I will tackle the next week with a bit more oomph!
How do you stay motivated in long training cycles? Do you have any go-to strategies that consistently work for you? Let me know.
Next up? A blog on food and meal planning, following up on my popular #ProjectRaceWeight post.
Animas Canada has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. I am also fortunate enough to have been chosen to be a Diabetes Sports Project Champion. Learn more about their great work here. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own.