With the lighter evenings on the way, we’ve asked each of our brand ambassadors where they get their motivation from. If you’ve struggled to get outside over winter, or even if you haven’t, we hope your motivation fire is fuelled with this mini-series blog. Today, we’re looking to our ambassador, Tom Hill, for some practical tips.
Motivation. It’s a tricky one. I do the things I do because I love doing them. I love the way they make me feel. I love the places that they transport me. I love the act of doing – turning pedals, running trails, whatever. Why is it so hard to get my backside out of the door and actually do that then? Why does my mind play games with me, trying to talk me out of spending an hour doing exactly what I know will be best for it?
I don’t have the answer for that, and know that a lot of sports psychologists have spent a great deal longer pondering the whys and wherefores of motivation than I have. What I do know is that I’ve developed my own little toolkit for the days where it all feels like a bit much to set foot outside the door and the sofa calls, or an extra hour in bed is a more inviting prospect than dark and wet roads in the middle of winter.
- Accept that motivation ebbs and flows. There’s no point beating yourself up about it. There are times that I feel focussed, keen and need no encouragement to get out – and I make hay while the sun shines. When I don’t, I’ll first ask myself “why”? Am I overtired and actually in need of a rest, or is this more a matter of my brain playing tricks? Either way, is it actually a good day for a rest?
- Change is good. My exercise patterns rarely look the same from week to week. I’ll road ride, mountain bike and trail run in a typical week. I’ll sometimes leave a bike untouched for a fortnight though, enjoying the simplicity of running – only to return to riding with a renewed enthusiasm. During the winter I’ll often head to the climbing wall. It’s the perfect alternative when the weather is so grim I just can’t face going out in it.
- Commuting is the perfect training time. I’m fortunate to live around 5km from my workplace. It’s easy for me to run or ride there and back, and extend my route as I want to. It’s time that I’d normally just be sitting on the bus and I love the feeling of arriving in the office knowing I’ve already got my run out of the way for the day – in fact, I’m way more likely to want to run home again as the high stays with me for the rest of the day.
- Be prepared. I’ll always try and pack my bag the night before, and have my kit ready. It removes the mental effort of “urgh, where’s my pump” when I should already be out of the door.
- Good kit helps. Especially in winter. A decent waterproof jacket and cosy warm merino makes the prospect of spending a few hours in brutal weather that much more appealing. And a bit of me gets a kick from “doing battle” with the elements.
- Goals motivate me; whether it be a race, or simply a challenging trip that I can focus on. Knowing I’ve got something hard later in the year scares me into training on the days I might otherwise have taken the easy option.
- I hate letting down friends. I’m way more likely to get out for a run or a ride if I’m meeting up with someone. When the weather’s bad or you are tired, there’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to make sure you still turn up.
If all else fails, I always try and remember two things: that I hardly ever come back from time outside thinking it wasn’t worth it; and I’ve never ever had a good adventure on the sofa. I can close my eyes now, and visualise how good leaping from rock to rock on a ridgeline feels. I want to experience that feeling of the very edge of my tyre knobbles biting into the earth as soon as possible. I yearn for the perfect tap-tap-tap of my feet on the pavement as I push for a quick time on my commute. As the sun is setting over the woods behind my house, I want to be sitting on a hill somewhere watching the same spectacle, feeling the wind in my hair and knowing that a pint awaits once I’ve navigated my way down.
Time for me to head outside and have some fun.