So, you’ve had a great holiday. Completing a training block during the holidays was your motivation to ensure you didn’t get side-tracked by all the nice things that happen on the holidays. In fact, you had everything going for you to achieve a successful training block but … you’ve guessed it, the holidays happened!
Time, family, social commitments, food, drink – they all conspired and had a negative effect on your training. Sessions missed, cut short – what went wrong?
The motivation ensured failure!
Let’s re-visit the scenario above. “Completing a training block during the holidays was your motivation …” This suggests that the goal was to complete a training block because of the holidays. Motivation has not been applied to the overall goal to improve performance – in fact, it’s been hijacked for a divergent purpose – to survive the holidays!
The nature of motivation
A positive motivation is intrinsically linked with goals. Those goals can be performance or process related. For example, a season or event goal (performance) will be different from a training goal (process) of completing a week’s training. Different goals may require different motivations to ensure success. However, it’s more likely to be more complicated as the goals and motivations mix and merge as the season progresses.
How to use motivation positively
The effective use of motivation depends upon the goal. I will have more than one motivation because as I train there is always more than one goal. For example, my season’s goal will be a particular event or events where I expect to able to produce a peal performance. I will also have training block goals associated with fitness, power, skills, etc. However, these goals are all ‘building blocks’ enabling me to reach peak performance for my season’s goal.
In this example, the motivation for the ‘Season’s Event Goal’ is that it will be a personal best average speed in an event. In order to achieve that goal, four ‘building block’ goals have been identified. If they are achieved, they will provide the basis of a peak performance for the Season’s Event Goal. The motivation to achieve these goals is just that – achieve the those ‘building block’ goals and the Season’s Event Goal will be achieved.
However, I’ve only described a skeleton of motivation upon which we can add other motivations to ensure the success of these ‘building block’ goals.
Building Block Goals And Motivations
Let’s work with an example. The above Building Block Goal of increasing Functional Training Power (FTP) by 6% requires particular training over a course of several weeks. Some of it will be easy, some moderate and some hard but if completed, an increase in FTP is assured.
What motivations can be applied to aid success of this Building Block Goal?
First and foremost is ensuring that the Season’s Event Goal is front and centre. There are lots of strategies you can employ such as writing a note – place it where you can see it during those hard turbo sessions. Whatever you do that Event Goal has to be foremost in your mind.
A secondary motivation might be the determination to overcome a particularly difficult turbo session or sequence of sessions. Knowing that you have completed it successfully can be an enormous motivation for the subsequent sessions.
Additional motivations might come from other resources such as your coach, music, video, books, photographs, Zwift, etc.
Your motivation must be linked to performance or process goals. Surviving the holidays in our example above was neither. The expectation to use the training block as a distraction during the holidays was an ineffective motivation without a link to performance or process goals.
Thank goodness for the New Year!!
Holidays are over and now is the time to focus on goals and positive motivations.
Don’t look back, look forward!
If your training was completed successfully, you will be super-motivated for the next stages of your training.
If you hadn’t been able to complete your training in the way you had hoped, don’t worry – look forward, not backward and get back on track. Your season’s goal is still achievable and in the weeks to come you’ll realise that this was just a blip. However now, you have a clearer understanding of the link between goals and motivations and can develop additional strategies to ensure you keep on-track.
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