Although there is no need to be hard-core with your training right now, it is extremely important that you do the work when it needs to get done because in a few months, you can't go back in time.
You don't want to look back, wishing that you would have built a better base/foundation, wishing you got yourself stronger so you could adapt better to more intense training or wishing you would have taken the time to focus on weaknesses like skills, form, diet and/or sleep/stress management so you could stay as balanced as possible with training.
BUT, as an athlete, only once per season do you have the unique opportunity to actually create a solid foundation and to get your body into exceptional health.
If a workout doesn’t go as planned or doesn’t get accomplished, ask yourself if this was because of something within your control (diet, hydration, lifestyle habit) or a very good reason (ex. exhausting day at work, pool closed, traffic, family obligations, etc.).
There's no need to be hard on yourself when you miss a workout (it happens to us all!) but it is a responsibility to your body to put in the work to train AND to develop/maintain great lifestyle habits that will make it easier for your body to stay motivated to train.
Here are a few of my tips to help you find motivation to build your foundation:
- Don’t aim for perfect as you may set yourself up for failure. Focus on giving your best effort for the best possible outcome, every day and be sure to be practical with your available time and use it wisely for training. Always manage your time wisely.
- You don't have to be an athlete to be "healthy" but you can actually damage your health by not training properly for an upcoming event. Give yourself the time you need to get in a quality workout, including a proper warm-up, pre-set, main set and short cool down (this is also your "ME" time, which every person needs). Also, be patient with your fitness. It takes a long time to get the body into "race" day shape as there are many necessary physiological adaptions that need to take place to ensure that you can peak appropriately for race day. This advice is especially true if you are injured. Do you find yourself constantly jumping from race day race, feeling like you are spending more time in rehab than training? Sometimes the best strategy is to pass on your next race when you are recovering from an injury so you can properly rehab yourself to 100% great health so you can then train properly for your next upcoming event.
- Remember when you sleep and eat well, your body trains better. Review your week of training before it starts so that you can make the necessary investments with your lifestyle habits to set yourself up for great workouts.
Always plan your meals and snacks in advice. You'll find healthy eating much easier this way.
- Change-up your training environment or simplify your training environment when you feel stale or need a mood booster. Training should be fun (even when you are suffering through a workout) and many times, we just need a new scenery or training partner to give us a different perspective. When you find yourself seeing your working out time as a hassle, something needs to change.
- Use social media and your friends/family for accountability. Tell others what workout you will do tomorrow so they can hold you to it. Of course, if something serious comes up, you must make the smart call to pass on a workout so that health is not compromised.
- Stay processed driven, not outcome focused. This is the time in your season at you should stay more focused on the process than on the end goal. You shouldn't be working out just to burn fat, get leaner/reach race weight or to be fast right now. Be patient with your fitness as you build your foundation. Appreciate the journey and train with a beginner's mind.
- Remind yourself why you wanted to register and train for your event. Never lose sight of the hard work that you were once willing to put forth to prepare your body and mind for your upcoming event. Yes, training is not always easy or exciting but in order to see what you are truly capable of achieving with your body, you can't skip steps, rush the process or follow another athlete's training plan.
Don't overlook your progress because you are constantly comparing your journey to another athlete's journey or successes.