Having trouble getting going with your challenge? Here are a few pointers on the best way to motivate yourself to make a strong start.
Especially if you’re new to running or cycling, this is one of the most common errors the newly initiated make: starting off too fast. If you find your activities too difficult and you are past the point of enjoying them, you’re probably over-doing it and would benefit from dialling it back a bit. Remember, you’re not in competition with anyone at this point—only yourself and your previous effort. If you find running a particular pace too difficult to hold a conversation, slow down, even if it means jogging it. If it’s still too much, try walking 2 minutes and running for 1 minute and then keep alternating that.
Once you find that comfortable pace where you can still enjoy the scenery passing you by, stick with that same pace for a week or two. As your body acclimates to that level of activity, your strength and endurance will be building naturally. Only then should you take it up to the next level and increase your pace.
Just get out
Most athletes agree, the hardest steps in their training are the first steps out the door. Once you’re out in the great outdoors, some magic starts happening that motivates you to keep going. You see other runners or cyclists out. You give them a nod or a smile. You catch a glimpse of the forest floor in bloom and want to see more. In short, things happen when you’re out and active and you’re a part of it. So the secret is just get those first few steps done and the rest is just momentum carrying you forward to the end of your training activity.
Invest in yourself
It sounds superficial, but having a shiny new pair of running shoes or speedy-looking quarter-zip pullover can sometimes motivate you to get moving. If you look in the mirror and see someone who looks like an athlete, you will naturally feel like an athlete. Sometimes this is just the thing you need to get started. And perhaps signing up for a virtual challenge where get a nice blinging medal would give you that added motivation too!
Phone a friend
If you’re the social type, find a running or cycling partner who’s willing to accompany you a couple times a week. This works on several levels. It will keep your mind occupied if you chat during the workout. It will help you manage your pace so you don’t go so fast you run out of breath to talk. If your workout partner is more experienced than you, then you’ll naturally pick up some guidance from them. But the biggest motivator is that you are less likely to back out of a workout if you’ve made a date to meet up and the other person is depending on you.
Track your progress
If you have a fitness app, start using it from the very beginning and record how you’re doing. You’re about to go through some changes, in a very good way. Seeing how what was a very challenging workout become sort of easy in the span of a few weeks is motivating. Don’t be shy about sharing it too. Post your progress on social media and people will naturally want to give you encouragement to stick with it.