Age group athletes listen up!
Many of us around the world are finding it hard to stay motivated, and this is even common for athletes during normal circumstances. Especially towards the end of the season. I have been asked by three different cross-sections of athletes struggling with motivation.
What are these three cross-sections of athletes?
2/ Age group athletes who have, or are trying to qualify for Kona.
3/ Age group athletes who have taken on triathlon as their sport to help with improving their lifestyle.
With each group having a totally different solution I will address each section in separate blogs.
We will start by giving the most important group the first response, age group athletes. Triathlon for the newbie can be very exciting, empowering, frightening and frustrating in equal measures. When I'm asked to address diminishing motivation after an exuberant start; or the age group athlete who has been doing the sport for a few seasons and although super competitive their late start curtails podium finishes in their age group; I always point them in one direction.
Back to the future!
When you first started what were your thoughts? Why did you get into triathlon? What were your initial goals?
I advise not to brush off the very best thing you can do, which is to break down the problem to the basic truth. You are overlooking all the benefits triathlon has provided, have started to think too far forward, and maybe also too competitively.
The sport begins very encouragingly, but has a propensity to take over from the reality of why we should be doing it! We start out looking to build a healthier lifestyle, to improve our physical condition, to help build improvement in oneself. At Trisutto whether you are a champion, a pro or an elite age group athlete, you are not hounded about winning. Try to let the sport help you grow as an individual - your only competitor is yourself.
Winning does not mean success. We place so much emphasis on individually being a success, however in a world that is built on more is better, faster is optimum, we tend to lose sight of what success is. To me, the lack of motivation mostly comes from the results one looks at, rather than the most important part, which is the journey. This is the element where success is built, and self-satisfaction can be found for all levels.
I point out on a weekly basis to some athletes who are not happy, that they are failing, and can't see it. They dispute this very quickly, saying they are now 30 minutes faster, have gone from 30th in their age group to 10th but still want that podium. It's driving them nuts. For me, I ask really? Who for? What for? Why for?
They look at me rather strange. Are you unhappy, never satisfied, having personal family problems because of an insistence on more training time, and find work now a hindrance to your new obsession? Personally, does Brett Sutton find this success?
No. This loss of perspective is what is hurting our motivation.
The ability to use triathlon to enhance our lifestyle should not be measured in numbers. Instead how our new hobby enhances not just our fitness but our lot in life. So when you guys get a little stressed about a missed work out, or the need to have an easy day, look back to your original reasons for starting the sport.
Are you enhancing your lifestyle or hindering it?
It takes courage to back off and say this is not about the next competition but is a plan for the rest of my life. It can't be defined by such short term thinking. I advise taking a good look in the mirror. Then give yourself a good slap and say wake up! Go back to your original thoughts of what you first wanted out of the sport, and I'm sure your motivation for the future will be secured.