What is motivation? Quite literally, it is the desire to do things. Everyone has motivation but it seems like some days we have more of it than others. Motivation in any form can be a very powerful thing. What motivated you to get out of bed today? What motivated you to choose to eat breakfast at home today rather than stopping at a fast food place? Where do you find your motivation? How do you maintain motivation?
Before we get too deep, let’s keep this simply to what motivates you to keep getting on your bike or exercising as often as you do. Perhaps you are thinking about booking a bike trip for the first time like the Venice to Florence tour, maybe you already signed up for the exciting and challenging Camino de Santiago tour. Great! You have a purpose and a goal for your bike riding. However, as much as we’d like to have inspiring and effortless training rides all the way up to the date of departure … sorry to break it to you, it’s not going to happen. Some days are going to be easier than others to get out the door and into the saddle. If you find yourself struggling one day, try one (or a few) of these tips:
-Just get out the door. As silly as that sounds, sometimes that is the hardest part of a workout. Just tell yourself, get out the door and onto the bike for at least 10 minutes. Usually, if you can get on your bike for at least 10 minutes you will end up doing much more. If you end up only doing half of your intended ride, that’s ok…better than nothing!
-Think positively about your bike ride or workout of the day. Take a minute or two and imagine how you will feel after you complete your ride; accomplished, satisfyingly fatigued, stronger than yesterday, productive, you get the idea. Spend time thinking positively instead of wasting your time thinking about all the reasons you don’t want to do it. Change your mindset. If you have a few extra minutes you may find motivation in reading an article about cycling, listening to your favorite song or watching a video clip of an inspiring ride like this one Lifecycle Video.
- Find a buddy! Sometimes it’s fun to share the fun and sweat of a workout with a friend or a group. You may find motivation in your buddy or that you will inspire your buddy! If you know that your friend will be waiting for you on Saturday morning at 7:00am, the odds that you will stand them up is probably pretty slim. Who wants to upset their friends?! Being held accountable is another powerful motivator. Group rides are great ways to meet new people and challenge yourself at the same time. Try finding a group or club here: USA cycling clubs or Bike Meet Ups. Groups tend to cater towards all skill levels and abilities.
-Establish smart goals. Start small and stay specific in your goals. If you want to increase your biking fitness, commit to riding 2 times per week. Once you accomplish that, increase it to 3 times per week. Decide which days you will be most likely to succeed at getting your rides in and write them in your calendar. Set yourself up for success! If you are already riding consistently, sign yourself up for something. You can find events here: Cycling Events This will give you motivation and intention to your rides. Heck, sometimes the fear of not finishing a race or event I’ve signed up for is all the motivation I need to get out the door.
Bottom Line: Be mindful of what your motivators are, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and use outside sources if you are lacking in motivation. As usual, listen to your body. Sometimes you need a day off to get your motivation back, don’t be afraid to take it!