Overcoming Demotivation

March 26

Brett Sutton and squad. Triathlon day in Netherlands Feb, 2020. Photo: Wil Weerd


We have written two articles recently to try and help all with ideas on how to physically overcome restrictions placed on us by our respective governments. However, some of our readers have pointed out that in their dismay of having no races, no place to do workouts or to document their training, they feel unmotivated to continue training in a meaningful way.


So I'm asked to pass on some tips to try and help not just how to overcome those physical restrictions, but help with the psychological hurdles they are facing.


I would ask those suffering from demotivation; to self reflect on why you decided to change your lifestyle to incorporate triathlon into it in the first place!


We all tend to get caught up in the rat race. Once we see some small gains, then comes improvement in training, upgrades in equipment, finishing a first race and then improving times within those races. Some then look for bigger, longer races, and a few of us to podiums and then even fewer - the need to qualify to the World Champs or Kona!


All legitimate milestones. My point is most of us, not all, lose sight of why we started to do this sport in the first place. Our goals changed, we got deeper into the competitive culture and before we know it, the switch from using the sport to better our lives turns full circle and the business of the sport starts using us for its profit.


Here at Trisutto I think we will cope better than most as we discourage the attitude of focusing on podiums or that imposter that can engulf us - "winning".


Many an athlete in my squads are sent a copy of Kipling with the verse treat winning and losing as the imposters they both are, very heavily underlined .


You might say 'that doesn't apply to me, I'm too slow to ever podium', but I would say to you that if you're having a problem with motivation, then you also have gotten away from the simple pleasure of seeing how being fitter, healthier version of yourself triathlon has helped you become, that indeed the bug has bitten you and you have lost the perspective that one should always have as your base motivation.


The fact that you ever took the step to improve your lifestyle through triathlon to become a more productive person should be viewed as a success. 


You have given others around you leadership by example few others can! How?


Does your family see you have discipline to train? Do your children see mum or dad go out for exercise? Do your work colleagues see the change in you? Is your community better off with you doing what you do? I would think so. In our rush to improve we sometimes fail to see the impact we have on others.


Sure, you get the occasional ribbing from a jealous person who secretly wishes they had the self discipline, but I dare say they too hold a modicum of hidden respect to you because, as they say in Australia, you are "having a go”. We will all get older and slower one day, does it matter this week, this month or this year that I can't make a race? Or should you stop all the good you're doing because 'I'm too busy focusing on me?'


As Mick Jagger screeches out "you can't always get what you want, but sometime you get what you need”.


We all NEED to adapt to the situation. You want a Sutto tip? Here is one if you are part of the brigade lacking a little motivation at present. It goes like this:


Go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and ask yourself 'do I need to stop showing my family in the worst of times that giving up is the way I roll?' Then when you get the answer give your self a good slap in the face and say grow up, snap out of it. Lead by example not only to yourself but to those close to you.


This might not be how your analyst would approach it but it's the Trisutto way. I'll leave you with a quote from a great writer, Jack London, who has written deeply on the adversity of life.


“The man that does his best is GOOD ENOUGH!”


That's just how I see it. Our best wishes to all in these trying times.


Brett Sutton is the Head Coach of