Slow start to the training season? Helpful hints to find motivation.

Inevitably your training program must slow down throughout the year. The typical cycle is preseason (currently taking place for most runners, cyclists, triathletes…summer competetive athletes), in- season and off-season. Although for most competitive athletes off-season training is less intense, recovery and maintenance training, it can be tough to get back into the routine of pre season training once early spring rolls around. Getting back into training takes more time than  your somewhat casual off-season training.  Another thing that may also have changed throughout the colder months is nutrition. In order to maintain energy and keep the competitive edge during the warmer months, proper nutrition is an essential component to training. However, it is human nature to crave those calorically dense comfort foods during the winter months (this has actually been proven and documented). When your nutrition is off that can also affect your motivation and energy levels for training. Pre season is the time to dial in on optimal fueling and make it all work for increased energy expenditure and performance.

If the warmer weather is not enough to motivate you to get back out there, consider the following motivational tips to kick your season off on the right foot.

  • Take a moment to research your races for the coming season & make the commitment often it just takes a race date to define the parameters of your training. Find a race that appeals to you and register! Perhaps with a friend for additional motivation and to ensure you have someone to hold you accountable when motivation is waning.
  • Begin keeping a comprehensive training and nutrition journal. This may be just what you need to get you back in training mode. Keeping a journal that includes a detailed description of your training and how you feel while doing so, will give you something to compare on days when you may feel low energy. Knowing what you ate/drank during the day and the previous day will help you pin point what works for your body and produce the best results. You may also want to include sleep patterns to get a sense of how much rest you are getting, as  quality sleep is another essential piece to successful training.
  • If you are planning to compete in a race that you have previously done, take a look at your training and shoot to improve your race time. Seek the advice of a professional if you are looking for a formal training program and are not sure where to begin. Get excited about it!
  • You may also want to consider a first time race if it is for charity. Organizations will often use a race as a fund-raising event. If there is a cause that is close to your heart you may want to consider the race as a means to fund raise and improve your fitness at the same time.
  • And if none of the above appeal to you, perhaps personal fitness and weight loss is your primary goal. Sometimes the winter weight gain can be enough to get you motivated. If that’s the case and you are not sure how to get started begin slow and seek advice from a professional that can provide a safe program design with progression that is appropriate for your fitness level. A personal trainer or coach can hold you accountable and give you measurable goals, so that you can reevaluate your fitness from time to time.

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