Motivation is the foundation all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless. To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals.
But when the weather is poor, sunlight is at a minimum, and riding conditions are less than ideal, what do you do? Add to the fact that the holidays are now over with not much to look forward to between now and Spring and race season, many find the added holiday weight gain and winter conditions to be a downer on motivation. How do you stay motivated to ride?
The reason motivation is so important is that it is the only contributor to sports performance over which you have control. Much like training your physical body for the challenges of cycling, motivation is built too – it is not stumbled upon. Following are 5 ways to build your motivation muscle:
Have a goal. As you are considering your new goals for 2014, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with an objective, yet critical eye. Too loft of a goal may be intimidating and back fire on you. The post, Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your 2014 Cycling Season offers 10 key questions for evaluation and proper goal setting for your 2014 season. Make intermediate and long term goals to keep you inspired to do your daily workouts.
Fine tune your fitness – use a heart rate monitor or power meter. Sure, heart rate monitors and power meters have been around for a while now, but how effectively are you using them? Learning what what you need to know about the nuances, ranges, and data interpretation can make a difference in just getting a workout in versus targeting a specific workout in which you hit numbers and are motivated to get after it again the next day.
Make friends with the trainer. Nobody likes riding the trainer much less riding it for consecutive days in a row, but there are ways to overcome trainer woes to eliminate boredom and support your training. Read the post here for ideas on the best equipment to use and tips for trainer workouts. Try different approaches, times of day, and lengths of workouts to keep your trainer workouts fresh.
Dial it in! Your body and your bike – that is! Have you gained weight during the holiday season? Check out Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains – for easy ways to drop the pounds. And, consider getting a bike fit. Yes, a bike fit. We’ve heard about them, talked about them, but somehow, most of us don’t get one. And why not? They say the quickest way to get faster on the bike is with a bike fit. Sure, fit impacts comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how you ride. Meaning it directly affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. Dialing in your body and your bike parts will keep you motivated as you discover how the new changes positively affect your time on the bike.
Train your brain. How are you training your brain? We think of discipline as a form of training or exercising the brain but use the power of visualization to motivate yourself and accomplish you 2014 season goals. The post, The Power of Mental Suffering offers key insights as to how thought creates a powerful reality.
Ultimately, motivation is not something that can be given to you. Rather, motivation must ultimately come from within. Just like the passion you have for cycling. Dig deep, find what inspires you, connect with that and pedal your way to a successful 2014 cycling season. Happy New Year friends!