Maintaining Motivation During Intense Training: 7 Helpful Tips

Maintaining Motivation During Intense Training: 7 Helpful Tips

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Why You May Need a Sport Psychologist
Photo credit to Chicago Tribune

Maintaining motivation during intense training can be challenging. The more we push our bodies the harder it is to keep our minds focused. One obvious attention grabber is the pain. Another is fatigue. These factors, along with boredom sometimes, can make it difficult to stay motivated and continue with the training. It is vital that your mind remains strong enough to make you push through difficult training. Try using these 7 different strategies.

Seven Tips on How to Stay Motivated During Training

1.      Establish Clear Goals

If you are pushing through an intense workout you probably already have a clear goal in mind. Whether you are planning on competing or trying to build your physical endurance and strength it is very important to know your goal and use the goal to help you persist. Process goals can be very helpful. These types of goals involve having a focus on a technique you want to improve, such as arm motion or push off motions. Outcome goals are more of a focus on time or where you finish. Both goals help feed the other. Use both mental images and physical techniques to help you also. For example, a triathlete might mentally break down a ride into segments of small goals and while also giving focus to a technical aspect for each segment.

2.      Get Competitive

Getting competitive can mean you vs you or you vs a teammate or friend. Good intended rivalry can keep you on top of your game so get competitive and push yourself to give 100 percent every time. This might sound strange but choosing someone next to you or in front of you in a competition or at a gym (without the person knowing) can fuel your drive and keep you motivated to persist.

3.      Get a Trainer or a Coach

coaching-photoWe all have times when we skip a workout or just do it and get it done without much intensity.  Other times, we just cut our training short because we might be in a rush to get home. We have all done this at least once. It is normal and it can be difficult to keep up with a busy schedule and an intense training plan at the same time. If you want that extra push, you can get a personal trainer to help keep you on track. Trainers, coaches, teachers, experts, whatever you want to call them, are professionals who can help you with maintaining motivation during training and figuring out the ideal exercises for your needs. So hiring a professional trainer will ensure that you make the most of each workout. This person holds you accountable which can really help with motivation.

4.      Play Upbeat Music

Listening to music while training is a great way to distract yourself from the effort and pain you feel when pushing your physical limits. Listening to music is recommended when you are putting in training time as compared to working on technical aspects of your training. It can be helpful to keep your playlist upbeat and motivating, choose songs with lyrics that encourage you to push on and melodies that are empowering and relatively fast-paced. This will keep your energy and your spirits up throughout the workout. It can also be helpful to change your playlist regularly. Think of the music as a tool to prevent you from getting in a rut.

5.      Change It Up

Our bodies can become accustomed to a routine and sometimes this results in less effort being put in. Maintaining motivation during intense training can be easier if you are mentally invested in your workout. For example, you might try new exercises, keep your training sessions diverse, and cross train if possible. These changes can also help with focus and new or different training routines or exercises typically require we give a little more focus to the task at hand.

6.      Find Inspiration

picture of runnerFinding things that inspire you to push forward is a key factor in maintaining motivation in sport. It can very helpful to find motivation and inspiration from a movie about athletes pushing their own endurance limits (Rocky and Unbroken) or an inspirational book about striving for success (Rhonda Rousey My Fight/your Fight and the Blind Side) or even a personal family or friend situation. Many people dedicate a hard workout or kilometer to someone as a means to help keep themselves going. Reaching out to other athletes in your community and discussing your struggles, challenges, and goals with them can also be a great way to get inspired to work even harder.

7.      Reward yourself for your efforts

Constantly pushing your limits is fine but you should take time to reward yourself after a good competition or training session. THIS IS BIG! Taking a moment to enjoy and acknowledge meeting a difficult goal or getting through a tough workout is one of the biggest tools you can add to help with motivation. I see too many athletes that reach their marks and simply move the bar higher. This tells your brain–not good enough. There is some research showing this detracts from motivation after some time and ultimately takes the fun out of the sport. The quote below says it all.

“All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

Do something that helps you relax and makes you happy after exercising and training hard. Giving yourself something to look forward to at the end of a training session or competition can be very helpful. You are more likely to push through the pain and demands if you have something to enjoy at the finish.  Some examples, if you need them, can be a message, meeting friends for food or drink, or even a new piece of equipment you have been wanting. Remember, do something to acknowledge finishing something hard rather than just set a new goal and raise the bar. This is key.


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