The event shirts sit folded and abandoned in the drawer, the leggings fit a little tighter and the expensive socks once reserved strictly for training have forgone their special place and have now found their way into the everyday sock drawer. The usual time allotted for outdoor activities have been reallocated to binge watching Netflix series and eating all but one Tim Tam out of a fresh packet.
It happens to all of us at one time or another and most likely a lot more than that. A sport that once consumed your thoughts and conversations, one that you would plan your weekend around and retire early to bed for, has become something of a distant memory.
The painful thing is that want is still there. The hunger, the yearn and craving but sadly not the enthusiasm, passion, excitement or drive. It’s not a great place to be but the great news is, help is at hand. Below is a list we’ve compiled that will certainly be able to pull back athletes from the very darkest pits of unmotivated despair. Full of real-life stories, tips, techniques and hints from real life survivors of No-motivation-itis.
This is a tricky one. It may seem obvious to some but if you’ve ever followed an ambitious training plan the chances are you’ve overtrained. It’s not uncommon to finally tick a major goal off the bucket list only to feel exhausted and flat afterwards. The training routes that once offered great joy may now seem monotonous and chore-like.
The answer here is balance. Make sure that your training plan offers variety in activities including cross training, strength training and rest days. Oh god rest days. DO NOT EVER SKIMP ON REST DAYS.
A good training plan will include different types of activities. By way of an example, a running plan may include intervals, hills, sand, tempo, long running, progressive, Fartlek and recovery on top of your base running.
Prepare your workout and allocate time
It’s too easy to decide to head out early the next morning when you’re experiencing a burst of ambition over a few glasses of wine only to repeatedly hit the snooze button the next morning until concluding that today isn’t the day.
Instead try making a solid plan the day before. That isn’t to say that you have to be stiff about it, you can still include a healthy dose of spontaneity with the route, pace and duration.
‘Being spontaneous in my running routes is a big one for me. Sometimes I do like the familiar but when I’m just not feeling it, I totally mix up my route and end up having so much fun. I’ve found some of my favourite routes that way.’ - Danie Mack.
The important things to plan would include the time you want to get up, taking into consideration adequate time for sleep, the clothes you wish to wear, any nutrition you want to take along, music, equipment and an idea of what you want to achieve. Lay everything out the night before so you’re all ready the hit the ground running when the alarm rings.
There is probably no better way to get your unmotivated butt out of the house and into training shoes than to have one or more exercise buddies to keep you accountable. The very fact that you have people relying on you to turn up at a particular time is almost always enough to resist that snooze button.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of having a workout buddy you will know the benefits of being able to share your time and you would know just how much faster that time goes by, simply disappearing as the kilometres or minutes tick over.
‘While I love to run solo on the pavement, I also love to run with buddies out on the trails, getting out and enjoying nature together, catching up with mindless chat and someone to keep you going when you usually would stop and walk, if you are trying to get over that mental hurdle. Also, it’s a great idea for safety, someone to be there if you get hurt and for when you get that sense of stranger danger.’ - Kim Russell.
It’s handy to have a group of people if possible and we suggest joining an exercise group. There are so many benefits and having a larger group of people will almost certainly mean that there are people of varying levels. You may wish to workout with more experienced/advanced people to push you along, beginners/less advanced people if you want to ease off a little or people at a similar level so you can put on the cruise control and enjoy some social interaction.
Plan a Post-exercise coffee and catch up
Remember that day you had? You know, the really great one where you got out everything worked out really well and you and your exercise buddies went to that awesome little café where the coffee was so good?
Well, why not do that again? Try focusing less on the activity and more on the social side of the after-event. Now, I’m not saying don’t put any effort into the activity, that is still important. I’m just saying that if it helps get you out the door, plan on doing a shorter activity and hit the café feeling really good and, well, alive.
Then you can make it a thing. A weekly or fortnightly thing and invite more and more people. You’ll be surprised how many people are looking for something like this. Then start to expand the distance or duration when you’re confident to do so. You know what? You’ll probably begin to really look forward to it.
‘For me having a space in my everyday diary keeps me accountable for exercise and I find it’s just pure motivation for me. So, having it written down I can see what exercise I have done over the week or what I can improve on the following week.’- Kayla Toms.
A diary is a really good idea with many benefits. It becomes a story book of your past activities and serves as a reminder of how far you’ve come. It helps to plan future activities and nobody enjoys looking at blank and missed days.
The diary can be as simple as a notepad, a yearly diary or even a folder. It can pretty basic or you might like to add photos, diagrams, workouts you love, scrapbook it, anything that you like. It’s yours so have some fun with it.
In part one we've shared five really great tips and hints on how to find that missing motivation. In most people, it’s already in there, bubbling away just under the surface. The tricky part is trying to get into that routine and mindset that you had before.
Often what we do is hard. It can be really difficult and the body and the mind remembers that, but at the same time it can be really fun, really good for you both physically and mentally and above all, it can give you the most rewarding feelings by having accomplished something you set out to achieve.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it so that others may benefit from it. Feel free to like it and add your comments, opinions and own personal experiences. You never know what little piece of advice will be the tipping point for someone struggling with No-motivation-itis.
Stay tuned for further instalments of Lacking motivation?? You need to read this.