Last Thursday I had to do a 90 min hills ride after work which I really didn't feel like doing what so ever, especially as I had been up since 5 that morning (for swim squad). The couch and TV was SOOOOO appealing but I got out there and did the session. This prompted me to ask myself what makes me tick, how do I motivate myself when times are tough and why do I keep carrying on with the training when motivation is low.
I have found that I need to go into auto pilot mode when I don't want to train and just get started, often half the battle is just getting the running shoes on, arriving at the swimming pool or getting into my cycling kit. Once that first step is made the rest is easy (generally).
Contrary to what most of you see, there are days where I just do not want to train at all, I have to fight the mental battle to get out there, fortunately for me, these days are not that regular and I know deep down that its those people who get out there and train in the crap weather or when they really can't be bothered that succeed the highest. Plus it helps in races, if you've put in the hard yards, both mentally and physically, in training then it is so much easier to carry on when the going gets tough in races.
Some days I ponder about what it would be like to be normal, but really what is normal? What am I missing out on? For me, normal is training everyday, I have done this pretty much since I was 15...apart from a break during my university years when I ended up drinking lots and getting fat :-) So if I gave up the training it would be like giving up one of the biggest things in my life.
Many people ask what motivates me to keep training... and sometimes its hard to define. I totally love training, I love the planning around it and I just love the feeling that you get when you have done it. Sometimes you finish a session that has gone so well that you have the natural endorphin rush going on that keeps you buzzing for hours, in other sessions you have pushed yourself so far to the boundaries that you are totally physically and mentally spent, I love this feeling too, knowing that you can push yourself this far and then do it all agian the next day.
I also LOVE to race and as a triathlete we are all in the enternal search for the perfect race, and when you have a great race you always hope that that one is not the "race of our lives".
So as I sit here, pretty much spent from doing a long hills and tempo run before work I am pondering on why I do it and it always pretty much comes back to how much I truly do love what I am doing. There are the hard sessions but generally I love swimming, cycling and running, I love racing, I love travelling around and competing in different races, I love the people you meet and the friends you make, I love the discipline and committment that it takes to achieve.... hmmm probably no need to carry on with this theme, I guess that you get the picture.