Overcoming Lack of Motivation

Perhaps it's age, perhaps it's a high training volume of early morning swims, cycling and running every day, perhaps it's pushing a low carb diet to the limit, perhaps I'm not using the same inhaler as Chris Froome but there have been a number of sessions in the last week or so that I have self served a large slice of CBA.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of time has been spent working on the new career and once you get into a flow of work you really enjoy doing, it's difficult having been a teacher where you don't stop working until early hours of the morning, to draw a line and stop for today. However, the CBA approach is not about training itself but about completing a planned session. 

Here are a few strategies that have been really useful and worth sharing.


First and foremost, swimming has to become a habit and a case of; Alarm clock says 6am, that means swim time. This is not an add on to the end of training but must be at a set time to work. If you dont have a swim session or swim squad to go to, a regular habit is needed.

As far as the session goes, rather than change it because you feel a bit tired or had a bit too much to drink the night before, the process is; Get to the pool, put kit on, warm up then decide if you do the session or not. So far, 100% compliance. Deciding on the way or when still in bed, then the battle is lost.


Biggest excuse is the weather. Ok, well it isn't for some but a great trick is to dress for the start of the ride and start in the worst weather, then it only gets better. 

Second trick is always to ride out into a headwind, then you get the tailwind home, or even just man up and get the headwind home.

Next try multiple laps of a shorter course, if you must bail out, then you never have far to go. 

There is always the turbo, rollers, wattbike, gymbike, interactive trainer or rowing machine as an alternative but apart from weather, the biggest barrier is again, feeling too tired.

You should know when you are at risk of overtraining and that pushing another training session too hard can make you ill, what I'm talking about here is just being a bit tired from a previous session and the quality of the session you are about to do it likely to be off.

Replace the sessions as follows:

Hill Reps with big gear climbs
Intervals with high cadence intervals
Time trial efforts with negative split laps

Sometimes though, you just feel a lot better after a long warm up.


This is the one I have struggled with. This is not a case of not wanting to run, but more a case of running with fatigue not from running.

When you run 100 miles a week, you run twice a day, long runs, commutes and run with others. However, you only ever have run tiredness and adjust the pace accordingly. After swimming, cycling and weights, you have different sort of fatigue and although you feel willing, the pace is just uncomfortable. Its not even like running straight off the bike where legs loosen up after a while but just feels very different transitioning back to triathlon training after a few years of just running.

That said, it now means that the run distance just has to be a bit longer as it takes about 5k to get the running legs. The session is now; 5k run, stop and stretch, then do the session. It starts to feel normal again.

Ramping up a training load is not straightforward though. It needs to be built up gradually and although I could go out and ride 100 miles a day, 40-50 is enough for now, 100 miles of running is down to 50-60 and the odd parkrun has to take a hit. A few things that seem to be helping though:

Higher protein diet, including more nuts, eggs and milk
Using natural juices as energy drink; beetroot, watermelon and other melon types
Copious amounts of water, seem to be drinking around 4 litres a day at the moment
Supplements- Extreme Endurance is working well, vitamin C and iron
Good quality sleep- most important of all. I have a few habits that help sleep such as what to eat before sleeping, reading, leaving the electronics out of sight and total blackout curtains.