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? Keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on. Following are 5 different strategies to help you stay motivated to ride.
Set your goals. This seems obvious but ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish in 2018? And when? How do you know you’ve reached your goals? Making SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goals not only boosts your chances of attaining your goals, but you also become a better cyclist in the process. The trick is to really dial those goals in. As in, a goal to consistently hitting heart rate zones or power zones for specific workout. Use cycling accessories that are available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors to provide objective feedback. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. You may also want to check out our post, Heart Rate Training – What You Need to Know for our staff picks at Peak Cycles Bike Shop. Based on your goals, you can then get an action plan together by defining your training objectives.
Make the most of your time. It all begins with time management. Scheduling your workouts in your calendar; shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening; and optimizing your lunch hour as ride time, are three areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours. Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it. If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up. So, if you do, then night riding or riding on the trainer becomes your options. Be prepared in advance with a light system to ride at night and a trainer setup that works for you. If you are prepared, you are more likely to get your workout in rather than pass on it.
Dial in your bike. 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. We think of discipline as a form of training or exercising the brain but why not use the power of visualization to motivate yourself and accomplish you 2018 season goals? The post, The Power of Mental Suffering, offers key insights as to how thought creates a powerful reality.
Commit to consistently cross training. Trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength. The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with lower and upper body, while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists to get you started and also – to keep you motivated through the winter months.
If after reading these suggestions you still find yourself unmotivated to ride during the Winter months, then consider doing a cycling year end review. How you reflect upon the past year has some bearing as to how you plan for the coming year. A cycling year end review offers insights to truly optimize your training and racing regimen. Some of those insights might spark a new level of motivation with you. Here’s to a rewarding cycling year in 2018!