Monday, February 1, 2016

Tips to Maintain Your Motivation

by Gina Kehr

Those who knew me during my racing career knew I was one of the worst athletes when it came to staying motivated during winter. Every year after competing in Kona I would come back to Cali to our first rain and mornings in the low 40s. The days were short, the weather was cold and my will to work out was dried up. My coach would comment that I took my “break” way too far.

That break worked nicely while I was in my late 20s and early 30s; it seemed it did not take long to get back my game when I would start my “training” again. But I noticed a big difference as I approached my mid 30s -- 37 to be exact. I remember that year and age because it seemed it took an additional four weeks to get where I had been when I would resume training. It was at that time I had to figure out a way to stay motivated during the winter months before “serious training” started again.

Here is what I learned:

  • Get an exercise buddy. To get myself to swim workouts, I would recruit someone to tell me they would meet me there in the morning. I hate letting people down so it worked out well. Even if they blew me off, I was still there!

  • Find something new. Bringing in something new to your regime keeps things fresh and in today’s fitness world, training is all about that. How many cross ft gyms are there now? Kickboxing, anyone? How about TRX? Circuits? I can go on and on. Get yourself to a cardio circuit type class to help with strength and conditioning.

  • Make a competition with someone Amazing how getting a couple of buddies to go along with you on a 30-day challenge of some sort can get you 30 days of training. Bike, run, swim -- whatever you want. Bet a dinner on it, bet money -- do whatever it will take to make you want to win.

  • Lower your expectations It is good to go out the door for a 20-minute something. It is worth putting on those bike or run shorts. Set an early, close objective as a turnaround point. More likely than not, you’ll end up doing the longer workout.

  • Walk the dog more and play with the kids more. Does the dog need walking? Maybe take the kids to the track so they can ride their bikes around and you can run. Find ways to incorporate the other aspects of your life into your fitness.

My way to deal with motivation is to do things I wouldn’t normally do during the height of race season. Getting started is always the hardest. Once you are going then you can let your mind and body give you what it needs. If you relax and roll with it you will be fine and before you know it your mind will have had its necessary rest and you will be ready to focus once again.

Gina Kehr was a professional athlete for 15 years, competing in events ranging from Olympic Trials to Ironman World Championships, where she achieved five Top 10 finishes in her career. She coaches athletes of all levels and all distances. Her experience comes from her journey as a novice age group triathlete who quickly worked her way to becoming an established professional triathlete. Gina also works with the Stanford Tri team, is a coach with Stanford Masters and leads a squad of short and long course athletes. You can read more about Gina at
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