By Team ICG® Master Trainer Jim Karanas
As you may know from reading these posts, I”™ve written about motivation in several of them. I”™m often asked to speak to groups about motivation, or write about it in newsletters that go out to athletes. It typically happens in January, because the expectation is that everyone has de-tuned over the holiday season and let their fitness and discipline slide. Since I don”™t look at motivation or athletic training in that way, there doesn”™t seem to be any reason not to write about it in July.
True, motivation probably is a good topic for the first newsletter of a new year, but I still consider it somewhat ludicrous. I”™ve read too many articles about “getting started again” or “staying motivated”. In my mind, training never stops. You can be in an ICU after having open-heart surgery to repair a malfunctioning mitral valve with a congenital defect, and still train. You may not be logging miles, but you can train.
Physical training seems to me to be a natural process that incorporates conscious development and the integration of mind, body and emotions. It”™s a form of human development that produces greater insight. If you approach your training in this way, it can and will enhance virtually every endeavor you undertake. You may even improve your performance as an athlete. At the very least, you”™ll get more and take more (i.e., use more) from the experience.
When you understand this, training becomes an experience that engages you throughout your life regardless of circumstance. If for some reason you can”™t train your body, you can still train your mind. If for some reason you can”™t focus your mind, you can practice firing your emotions, or stimulating your will, or reducing your anger, or accepting what you are and are capable of doing.
Once you head down that path, there is no more stopping and starting. You may take a physical break, but, if you lose touch with what your training means to you, you”™re simply exercising. Not that there”™s anything wrong with that. It just has the capacity to be so much more. (See The Tao of Training, Part 1 and Part 2.)
If you tend to take a physical break during the holidays — and that could even include the long Independence Day weekend some may recently have taken -- hopefully you feel rejuvenated when you return, rather than “out of it”. If you”™re beginning a training cycle, you need to plan your competition phase: which races you will enter and your specific goals for each race. Decide which races are the most demanding and/or the ones in which you wish to perform best.
If you find metrics motivating, it could be worthwhile to find out where to obtain a fitness assessment that you know how to interpret, or that a coach can interpret for you. If not, begin with your base. Keep your training relaxed and comfortable and enjoy this phase.
Re-establish your drive by committing time and energy to understanding the motivation behind your training. If your motivation has not evolved, and you find yourself training for the same reasons you did last year, say hello to a plateau.
Maybe instead of turning your attention to getting back in shape, your first priority should be to determine the reasons you will log more miles -- or train with greater commitment -- this year.
Then do it because you know exactly why you want to.
Originally posted 2013-07-21 08:19:37.