Our MX Endurance member Jaime Pineda asked: Sometimes without a particular reason it's hard to stay motivated, and some other times when going through some hard times it's even harder to stay motivated. What's your advice for overcoming this and not setting back your training progress?
Often there is this perception that pros wake up every single morning motivated. But I don't think there was ever a morning I woke up jumping out of bed going, “This is the greatest thing!” Training was always a choice I made.
I always say “motivation” is a word we use as an excuse. We attach this word to the choice of not getting up because you say, “I just don’t have any motivation.” But if we always went by how we felt instead of doing things even when we don’t feel like it, we’d never progress. We see this every January when people set their New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more; then February hits and that gym membership once again goes unused.
If I were left to my own devices and made my decisions on training purely on how motivated I felt, I would never have gotten out the door. We’re human and we’re sometimes going to feel super motivated because things are going well, but there will be periods when we're unmotivated. It’s those times when it’s difficult to get out of bed that will shape you.
So shift your thinking to this: “I don’t want to train this morning, but you know what, I’m going to anyway.” The positivity, the feeling of winning you gain from that is tenfold than from those mornings when you’re motivated to train.
Here’s one trick I use to keep the consistency in training up: Never make a decision to miss training when you're lying in bed without your gear on.
If the alarm goes off for an early-morning swim session and you don’t feel like it, don’t make the decision there. Get out of bed, put your gear on, get to the pool – and if you don’t want to do the session, then go home. But I’ll bet you when you get there you’ll swim. Don’t make the decision you don’t want to run until you’re out the door running. If you don’t want to run when you’re running, then go home.
And that’s how I held myself accountable to my goals, because even when I had a goal like “I want to win the World Championships in Kona”, I wasn’t waking up every morning for 12 weeks excited and motivated. Most of the time, I was absolutely tired. You have to keep things very close to yourself, staying in the moment, and going day by day.
I used to set appointments with my training partners that I would be at a certain place at a certain time. “OK, mate, I’ll meet you at seven o’clock.” So when the alarm went off every morning, even though I wasn’t overly excited about the session ahead of me, most of the time I would say, “I gotta meet Ambrose” or Crowie or somebody, and I had to get up, put my stuff on, and go.
This is one of the reasons I built the MX Endurance community: to use a group of people to keep you accountable and create habits around sport and being active. Whether it’s doing their first triathlon, going up in distance, or even going after the big whale of Kona qualification, all of the people in MX Endurance have the same mindset: to make better choices for themselves and see those choices build toward achieving a goal.
Sign up to MX Endurance now and use code MX2FREE to get your first two months free.
Chris "Macca" McCormack is a four-time triathlon world champion with the biggest winning percentage in the history of the sport. He is a co-founder and partner in Super League Triathlon, CEO of the Bahrain Endurance 13 team, founder and executive director of MX Endurance, and CEO of MANA Sports & Entertainment Group.