I just finished my entire highschool career today. I have been a varsity swimmer for four years, and the swim team captain for my Junior and Senior year of highschool. I joined Cross Country my Junior year, and made varsity Senior year with a 5k PR of 18:53. I also picked up the hobby of cycling, and rode my first 14 mile bike ride last week in 55 minutes. I really want to get into triathlons, and get very fit over the summer before I go to college. My goals are too finish one marathon, a couple sprint triathlons, and a bike race (95 miles). The only problem I have, is motivation. Highschool is over, no summer homework this time, I just got the assistant manager at the movie theater so I will be getting 30 hours a week, and I am going to my favorite college University of Wisconsin-Madison. So I have the mindset of relaxing everyday that I am not working, and enjoy the feeling of graduating highschool and the hard work paying off. Nobody I know cycles, does triathlons, or trains for marathons. So every time I swim laps early in the morning, I am by myself. Everytime I go for a bike ride, I am by myself. And everytime I go for the runs, its just me, myself, and I. So I start to slack on training, and not do anything for 4 or 5 days, then go for a long run, and rest again for 4 or 5 days. My first sprint triathlon is June 12th. I am not worried about finishing, but I bet if I trained 5 times a week, I would be able to get top ten in my age group (19 and under). How do you stay motivated? Tips for someone like me that does not have a training buddy? Training tips for a beginner? Recomendations on training programs? Any help would be appreciated.
Any local bike or running clubs you could join? Some bike shops offer weekend group rides, so check around. Even though you do a Tri on your own, learning to ride in a pack will do wonders, especially if it's a friendly-competitive group that sometimes simulates race conditions with attacks, chases and sprints.
Another suggestion is a gps device of some kind and an app like 'mapmyride.com' so you can compete against yourself. Just don't get into the trap of trying to set a PR every time!
Do you ride just to get out and feel the wind? Forget about training and pace and times. Just have fun! If it's a chore, you need motivation. If you enjoy burning your legs off sprinting up a hill, that's motivation enough.
The problem with riding with a local group, is I don't know their skil level. They meet at a local gym almost everyday according to the bike shop, but what if they ride at 20 mph average or something crazy fast?
then you will ride faster. send them an email and see if they have a ride that suits you. definitely check out the local tri/cycling clubs they are mix of hardcore and funcore athletes.
I say put the money down on the race that can help motivate you when you know it is going to happen
I also like sites like dailymile (and beginnertriathlete., trinewbies.com and even here) where you log youworkouts and there online support
goals for 2011:
break 19minutes for 5k
break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic
break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)
+1 for Daily Mile. Great site if you need a little extra motivation. Also consider posting your workouts on facebook to give yourself extra reasons to push.
So you ride with them as long as you can. And next week you come back and ride a bit further. You will earn a TON of respect for coming back to do it again. Every group I've ever ridden with, it's very rare that a newbie finishes with the group. It's not even just a matter of fitnes, but knowing the ride. If the pack is going fast, and you let a bit of a gap open up, you won't catch back on unless they slow down. So you learn to not let gaps open up. It takes practice. And DO tell them you're new. There will probably be some more experienced people who will keep an eye out for you and give you a hand if you get dropped. Or help you fix a flat. Or give you advice on eating/drinking. I know it can be intimidating to be the loner joining an established group, especially one with a competitive undertone. But trust me, take the plunge, and you'll make some great new friends. Oh, and when you do finish the ride, some of them will more then likely hit the coffee shop afterwards. The post ride coffee chat can be the best part.
I know my advice is cycling specific, but that's my background.
Here's your motivation:
You sound a lot like me when I was in high school. I hadn't gotten into cycling, but I was a swimming focused guy who did occasional cross country runs. I was in ridiculous shape... 6'2", 185... less then 5% body fat. Right at the junior national cut in 5 different swimming events. My 5K run was probably more of a 20-22 minute range.
But I lost motivation once my swimming career was over (I wasn't swimming collegiately). Stopped exercising much except in spurts. Started ENJOYING college life once I got there. Once I graduated from college I worked at a desk and had/have very little daily activity... meanwhile still eating like I did in my high school days when I was exercising like a demon.
End result... before I started working out as a beginning triathelete again at 31 I was a 255 pound ex-swimmer.
Down in the low 230's now and celebrating sub-35 minute 5K's... but you don't HAVE to let it happen. You're still young... you're still at your peak.... DON'T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU.
It's a slow slide from an active life to a non-active one... but after 13 years you can easily end up weighing 70 pounds more without realizing how it happened. And it's not necessary... all you need is to keep doing what you're doing. So when you think about skipping a workout... think about your self with a slightly less flattering hairline and a big honking gut hanging over your belt (or if you're a female perhaps something else equally unflattering)... and get off your behind and onto the bike/into the pool/running up the road.
It's much easier to keep fit when you're already there then to regain fitness when you let yourself go. Don't give it up due to simply not having someone to exercise with. It's so easy to let your motivation fade away... so picture yourself older and fatter and KEEP GOING.
Thanks for the advice everyone. I made an account on dailymile.com, and it looks interesting. Also, I went to the local bike store and got the schedule of when bike groups meet and where. After hearing what everyone has to say, I think I will ride with the medium to fast groups, and just hang on. Thanks!