Fine Tune Your Motivation

Illustration of a triathlete climbing a hill
February 1, 2023

Will Murray


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When you begin thinking about your upcoming race season, how do you find your motivation? As you get into  your training regimen and do all the thing you will need to do to accomplish and enjoy a terrific race season, consider motivation.

Motivation is key; without it your training won’t get done, your fitness will not be there and your race season will elude your expectations

Here’s how to fine tune your motivation.

How do you know if you are doing a good job with your training and racing?  It could be: “My coach says good job, my training partners call out good job, my social media connections give me kudos.”  

It could also be: “I completed my workouts as prescribed.  I hit my targets on the intervals. I got it done.”

The former hints at a leaning toward an external reference—your evidence and feedback for a job well done comes from other folks—your coach, training partners, others.  

The other style is internally referenced—your evidence comes from your own self and you don’t rely so much on other folks tell you, although you might appreciate it.

Your motivation is tied to the feedback you get on your workouts, and your feedback is tied to how you are referenced—internal or external.

If you lean toward the externally referenced side, then arrange your feedback so that other folks can provide support. Ask your coach, training partners, family members and others to give you kudos.  Set up workout appointments with your training partners.  Go to masters swimming and group runs and rides.  Give folks a chance to know what your training program looks like and how to acknowledge your accomplishments and progress. Strava, Garmin Connect and others also help with badges and shout outs.

Ifyou tend toward the internally referenced side, line up ways to see your data.  Training Peaks records your accomplishments with different colors depending on compliance to your training plan—you do want to record all green on your calendar, do you not?

Using this little tweak customized to just how your feedback style sits will help youfine-tune your motivation to get out and get your workouts done. This leads to more positive feedback, which enhances motivation and increases your ability to succeed at your workouts.  Your race season awaits.

Mental Skills Performance Coach Will Murray often hears triathletes saying that the sport is at least 50% mental and 50% physical, but he has come to notice that athletes spend very little (if any) time doing mental training. Fortunately, it’s easy and fast to train-up your mind to help you achieve your triathlon goals. He’s been lucky enough to bring mental conditioning techniques to first-time athletes and Olympians, kids and seniors, triathletes who want to finish the race, and those who are gunning to win.

Will is a USAT Certified Coach, holds a practitioner’s certificate and more than 100 hours of advanced training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified administrator of the Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories Protocol. Will is co-author, with Craig Howie, of The Four Pillars of Triathlon:  Vital Mental Skills for Endurance Athletes and Uncle: The Definitive Guide for Becoming the World’s Best Aunt or Uncle.

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