You've set your goals for the year. You've talked to your coach and put together a plan. You even got pumped at the thought of how much progress you could make before your next big race. Some of you even took some time off to refresh. But now you are either tired of training indoors staring at a wall, or you are just loathing the thought of indoor training all together!
There's no magic formula to enjoy indoor training. However, to reach your goals it just has to get done. So how do you "get it done"? How do you stay motivated and on track to reach those goals?
First, be realistic with your goals. If your shooting to PR a spring or early summer 1/2 marathon or 1/2 Ironman realize that some of your long days are going to have to be indoors. Mentally prepare yourself for that. Know that pushing yourself through it now pays dividends later.
Second, if you are able train first thing in the morning. Sometimes, forcing yourself to get up and get it done in the morning helps avoid the extra stress of getting it done after a long day at work when your already mentally and physically fatigued from the day.
Third, make a space for yourself. Clean up a spot and set up a TV or some speakers for music. Make sure you have enough ventilation and air flow to keep you cool. If you're staring at a concrete wall or in a dark boring garage things may get tough. Making your training environment a place you enjoy looking at will help mentally.
Fouthly, mix up and break up your workouts. It's ok to do long intervals like 2x20's and even 3x30's, but when you do these switch something up every once in a while. For example, in a 3x30 workout try doing 5 minutes in aero and 1 minute on the hoods, or stand up for 30 seconds every 5 minutes. Sometimes doing something different like that breaks up the time and makes the total time seem to go by faster.
Lastly, try to find some classes or friends to train with. I'm teaching spin classes right now for outdoor cyclist. A lot of people enjoy the social aspect of our sport. Feeding on that mentally makes it more enjoyable. People find getting to gym to workout easier when they look forward to talking with friends, and sometimes even feeding off some friendly competition.
What we do isn't always easy. Setting big goals and talking about it sounds easy, but putting in the work is hard. Get up, get dressed, get to the gym and get it done. A little persistence and pain now will equal big gains later. Keep that in perspective the next time you have those tough mental challenges of indoor training.
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