Keeping your eyes on the prize

Guide to obstacle racing part 3

Dips in motivation during a programme are natural, and with the lightening pace of living it is very easy to get distracted from your training in favour of other external pressures; work, family, sporting events.  At the beginning of your training plan these were all less likely to distract you because you were fresher and made time for your sessions – but now you are several weeks in, the sessions might feel a bit old and more of a chore than an opportunity. Here are three ways to boost your motivation levels back to where they were at the outset:

Motivation booster 1 - Check your vitals

Your homework from the last blog post was to do some fitness tests – It’s now time to re-test.
Use exactly the same tests under the same conditions, record your results and compare them to your last results. Improved? Thought so. Keep up your training and you will see further improvements.

Motivation booster 2 - Shake it up

Boredom breeds de-motivation, so change your sessions up and keep your body and mind guessing. 

  • Start to include some hard speed work or sprint sessions into your plan. These will be hard going but the sense of achievement afterwards gives you a real lift.  An example of this would be: find a short steep hill, run up it at a fast pace, walk or jog down and repeat this 4-8 times.  Or run hard for 40 seconds, slow to a comfortable, recovery pace, for 20 seconds – repeat this 4-8 times.
  • Run somewhere new. The same old loop will get tiresome no matter how scenic it is. Take a drive or bike ride to somewhere new and run. Enjoy the different air, different terrain and embrace the new challenge.
  • Go on an adventure. Forget reps, sets, average speed per mile. Go out to a forest, woodland or even a park and go for it. Embrace you inner child and use the environment to play – run as fast as you want, jump over rocks, crawl under trees, perform high knee drills through puddles, do push ups on stairs. Sessions like this will allow you to be excited by being outdoors again.

Motivation booster 3 – The bigger picture

Find images which will keep you focused on your goal and stick them somewhere you’ll see them regularly, so you never forget what you’re training for:

  • Keep an image of the race logo on your fridge door
  • Write your goal finishing time on a sticky note and stick to your computer
  • Turn your laptop or desktop background into a montage of obstacles you will conquer during the race.

Feeling excited, feeling revved up, feeling ready to go and take on those sessions? Good, now go get them! 


You might also be interested in the other blog posts in the obstacle racing series: Don't be stuck in the mudStep up to get results and Race day.

About the author
Jacob Salt-Berrymen is a philosophy graduate, personal trainer, regular triathlete and enthusiastic obstacle racer. As a Fitness Tutor for YMCAfit - the UK's leading activity for health charity - Jacob specialises in outdoor fitness, suspension training, and anatomy and physiology. You can read more from Jacob in his Central YMCA Guide Run, Jump, Climb and Crawl.

ymca | 16 July 2014