I have heard the same thing so many times in the years that I have been a coach. An athlete finishes their A-Race, takes a bit of a recovery break, and then eventually emails me saying “Now that my race is over, I can’t seem to get motivated to workout anymore!” – or – “I seem to have lost the motivation to exercise, now that the race season is over.”
Then, after they flounder around for a while, unsuccessfully trying to get magically motivated, they sign up for another race with the sole purpose of rekindling their motivation to exercise. And sure, that works… but I think they are missing the point.
I am going to say it: Motivation is overrated and overvalued. For my money, motivation can suck it.
Races are fun and I love helping someone achieve their race goals – but races aren’t the reason you are getting to the gym, track, pool, or trail on a consistent basis. Having a plan is!
Races aren’t the reason you are getting to the gym, track, pool, or trail
on a consistent basis. Having a plan is!
You see, when you have a race on the calendar, you usually also have a training plan for that race. That training plan involves a concrete workout for most days of the week. This forces you to make room in your schedule to get said workout done. And that right there is the magic. At that point, motivation can go hang – because you have a plan!
The workouts are on your schedule and therefore you get them done. And you know what, you can do this even when you don’t have a race to train for! WHAT?!?!? I know right?
So, I am not saying that you need to stop racing (if you enjoy it) but you do need to give credit where credit is due. The plan is the real hero here, not the race, not some magical motivation imp sprinkling “you love to exercise” dust on you as you sleep, not even your goal of achieving and new personal best finishing time.
It’s not the race – it’s the plan.