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Coach Steve Wehlow provides his top tips for getting yourself out of bed and on to the training track.
“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.”
T. Alan Armstrong
We all have our reasons for getting into this amazing sport. Whether it was initially to improve health, to inspire family, to challenge yourself, tick off a bucket list item or simply a result of losing a drunken bet in a local bar. As we spend more time in the sport, these original motivations are often accompanied by new ones such as PBs, challenging for the longer distances and podium places. It is always important to reflect on your journey and revisit your motivations throughout the season to ensure you are keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind, especially when inspiration seems to dwindle and you find yourself in a rut.
Like everyone, there are times when my motivation will lapse and the thought of trading in a morning sleep-in (in a comfortable, warm cozy bed) for the cold, dark winter chill seems impossible. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve to assist.
Some of them you may have tried before. Some might earn the wrath of your partner. But one, or a combination of the below tried-and-tested measures by yours truly will be sure to get you moving when you think you can’t.
Seems an oxymoron but set your morning routine by getting up at roughly the same time every morning. You’re only making it harder on yourself by switching from a 7am wake up one morning to a 4am wake up the next. This not only throws out your morning routine but may also come back to haunt you at night when trying to sleep, thus creating a vicious cycle. So determine your wake up time - and stick to it!
Alarm (oldie but a goodie)
Put your alarm on the other side of the room and have a backup alarm on three minutes later. We all know the hardest part of getting out of bed is that first 10 seconds when the alarm rings and it’s all too easy to hit that snooze button. If it’s on the other side of the room you have no option but to get up, and once you’re up….well you might as well just keep on going out that door. If you ned to take it one step further, make the alarm a song with a loud sudden jolt (think Avicii, Metallica) or something utterly annoying (Crazy Frog, anyone?) - you WILL get up to turn it off.
As soon as the alarm goes off, turn on the light. This will make it harder to roll over and go back to sleep. Another tip is to keep the curtains open at night to let in that morning light. Definitely a winner in summer but also very useful during the colder months.
Hold yourself accountable
Make a written statement the night before that you WILL get up for training - write this down on a piece of paper and put it next to you before you go to sleep. The next day either write how amazing you felt when you got up and how beautiful the sunrise was (for example), OR explain to yourself WHY you didn’t get up. The excuse will seem a lot sillier at that time and may also identify any issues you can resolve. This can help you get into gear for the next day.
Get a training buddy
Hold someone else accountable and be accountable to them. One of the best tips I can give to break the lazy cycle and squeeze more enjoyment out of the day is to get a training buddy. Not only does it make the session more enjoyable but there is nothing worse than hearing how your buddy still managed to get up and train while you slept (of course this also means they’re now one session up on you!).
Organise your equipment, clothing and bags the night before. That way, the only thing you need to do is get dressed in the morning and head out the door. This not only removes another potential excuse but you can use the time saved to get an extra 15-30 minutes sleep. Of course you can always take it one step further by sleeping in your training gear - but I won’t be held responsible for any relationship strains that may result!
Create a Pep Talk / Mantra
The first 10 seconds after that alarm goes off will set the tone for the day. Rather than giving in to excuses or laziness, come up with a mantra or give yourself a pep talk to energise your mind and body and get the thoughts and the day moving in a positive direction i.e. BOOM it’s GO TIME!!
….and if all that fails just get your partner to whack you across the head with the pillow which, believe me, is really really annoying!
So, what are you waiting for? Let me leave this little gem of a motivational video for you to usher in a new training week. May we all strive to wake up, jump out of bed and welcome the grind, because let’s be honest, Training Peaks looks so good in green! #liveyourpotential
And if ever in doubt, watch this clip...