Hacks to prevent a training slump
Maintaining your fitness is hard work and requires persistence, dedication, and motivation. Often the desire to get out and exercise comes easily, and endurance sports are popular because they are fun. But fatigue may creep in. The stressors of “real life” may pile on; the weather won’t cooperate, and motivation can wane. This may result in a training slump that can be hard to shake. A few hacks can help you to get back on track.
Have a Plan
Create a training schedule to eliminate the stress of deciding what you’re going to do for a workout each day. A little effort ahead of time can keep you from getting derailed. Treat your work out simply as an item on your checklist to be completed. If you don’t want to create your own training schedule or don’t feel equipped to determine the best workout, there are plenty of easy plan options online. For more more detail or personalization, private endurance coaches can help keep you on track.
Involve other people in your training as it provides external motivation. Train with a buddy; it increases the fun and puts on a little pressure for you to follow through. Group training may be a lot more rewarding as well. Whether you are in a fitness class, attend a regular group run organized by a local club, or aweekly group bike ride, the training hours go by quickly; sometimes you even feel like you didn’t suffer at all. Another way to increase accountability is to enlist the service of an endurance coach who will create a plan and evaluate your performance.
Don’t overthink your training program. Keep your preparation time simple and just get out the door. Everyone has a constant dialogue in their head and it’s easy for that dialogue to turn negative. The key is to tune it out. Zone out with music or recite a mantra. When Nike popularized the phrase “Just Do It,” they keyed in on a valuable motivational tool: less thought, more action.
As training volume increases, so does fatigue. Consistent training stress can also elevate cortisol levels, which can weaken your immune system and make you grumpy. Be sure to incorporate adequate rest into any exercise plan so you can avoid the pitfalls of overtraining. And it’s true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. A little time off can increase your drive to get back to your favorite activity.
Make a Purchase
A little bit of “retail therapy” can also go a long way when it comes to motivation. A new pair of shoes, a jersey, or a pair of shorts can be just the push you need to get out the door. It’s always fun to play with a new toy and it never hurts to feel good about how you look while you’re exercising.
Rediscover Your “Why”
Everyone who exercises was inspired by something, whether it was to lose weight, improve your fitness, or for the adventure. Something motivated you to take the first steps. Spend some time focusing on that inspiration and you may find the fire to exercise is rekindled.