Throughout my years as an athlete or in profession as a firefighter, a lot of events has required an enormous mental strength and a good pile of motivation to overcome different situations; Partly the preparation of earning the skills needed to be able to handle those events but mainly to prepared for the unpredictable situations that we may face in training, at work and in our everyday battles.
Motivation and the effect of it on everything we do is just one of the biggest and most fascinating topics to dive into and to know more about. There is so much to learn on this matter to make us grow and improve our lifestyle as a person or as an athlete.
But before we gett into this, I just want to clarify that we are all different individuals with different prerequisites.
There is no carved in stone recipe to use and its more like how much we are willing of taking a risk to pursuing a goal with passion, and by understanding how we are motivated now, can actually help us to find the energy required when our motivation levels are low. We need to find our own ways of reading the " why things are going great now, why things were working out well before" to use them later if things are not going too well.
So lets me share with you few things I experienced with that might comes in handy to train your motivation.
Goal Setting and commitment making
Goal setting is the first major tool I use to improve in my motivation game. Athletes don’t just practice their craft mindlessly, they practice with a specific goal in mind that they want to work toward and achieve.
Setting up a goal and making a commitment can help oss when the excitement diminishes after a while when we start something new.
Self-talk is another important tool in sports psychology. How we choose to talk to ourselves on and off the field, in training or in racing can have a dramatic effect on our performance and attitude.
Here are two way of self talk:
- Instructional self-talk – Instructional self-talk can be effective when working on fine skills or improved technique. For example, out running we remind ourselves about the right technique (strides, foot placement, posture, HR, etc...)
- Motivational self-talk – Motivational self-talk is more effective during tasks pre hard sessions or tuff challenges or boosting confidence and psyching-up pre competitions. ” Remind yourselves of the purposes why you are doing this, and who will be the first to notice it an how it will affect them"
Recent studies in neuroscience have shown that when we imagine ourselves doing a particular habit it activates many of the same regions in our brain as when we are physically doing that same habit.
In this way, visualizing in our mind’s eye can be an effective way to prepare ourselves for a situation before it plays out in the real world. When athletes imagine themselves performing a certain way, they are mentally preparing themselves to act that same way once they step onto the field.
For an example, on days when I feel really unmotivated to get outside the door, I imagine and visualize myself running and I try and relive the feeling of post run just to get me moving. I always find myself much better already efter couple of kilometers.
Focus on process, not just results – Try to imagine the whole process from beginning to end. Preparing yourself to act the right way and make the right decisions is key.
Evoke multiple senses – Try to imagine the experience from multiple senses. What you would see, hear, feel, taste, smell, etc.? The more senses you can evoke, the more clearer the experience will be in your mind, and the more of an imprint it will make on your brain.
In injury, mental imagery is very effective. When we aren’t capable of physical practice but we still want to keep our instincts sharp its a great tool to have. We can also prepare ourselves by looking at old pictures and videos and try to capture or relive a certain feeling to boost our motivation.
Do something you enjoy
Let training be a part of who we are. When we have found ourselves somewhat less motivated to follow a specific training plan, it is time to find the things we enjoy with training. For example if you like to go on longer endurance bike rides, or go for a long run in the woods without any pressure to hold a certain pace or intensity then do that. Run for time instead of distance. Go for a hike, a swim or any other alternative training that you could manage without the pressure.
At this moment I am enjoying high volym and easy intensity approach to training, which I didn't quite consider in the past.
Making the training a part of our daily movement without feeling the pressure of sticking to a certain goal is a very liberating way of a training approach.
Train for a challenge that you're looking forward to beat
Many times when my motivation levels are low, it is because I often find myself without something challenging me forward. I usually look fo races or diverse challenges that makes me excited to commit to a training block again but at the same time I need to commit to something that gives me a good porpuse to strive for and try to accomplish.
My nearest challenge that I look forward to next week is the ASICS WORLD EKIDEN Virtual relay marathon race.
For me its is a special challenge, because for once its not about the performance or braking new PBs or racing for placements, but this time it's all about doing something together with others that gives me a greater joy.
ASICS World Ekiden is a socially-distant, yet phenomenal way to bring together a community of runners who are not only committed to their physical health, but also their mental and emotional well-being. Not to mention, there’s nothing like some lighthearted sport during a moment where things appear so uncertain. To find out more details and register for World Ekiden 2020, visit ASICS World Ekiden website.
Brandman från Sölvesborg
Åldersgrupp: AG 30-35
Klubb: Ryssbergets IK, Karlshamns triathlon klubb
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