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Motivation is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s right there, bouncing up and down like an excited puppy with a ball to chase. These sessions are great. We look forward to them, we enjoy them, and we feel that wonderful afterglow post-session. That warm satisfaction seeping through the body. It makes us feel alive – that’s what we do it for.

Sometimes though, our motivation just goes AWOL. That chimp breaks out of its cage and runs riot in our heads: “I don’t want to do that session, couldn’t think of anything worse, why am I doing this anyway, pointless training, hate it, can’t even hit the numbers, why am I so crap.” I know when this happens because I feel so flat. Disinterested, disengaged, and feeling very distant from the triathlon love.

Sure it happens. No-one is motivated 100% of the time, that’s not sustainable. It’s hard when it happens though. It’s even harder when life takes hold and I’m crushingly busy with work, feeling like triathlon is something I have to “fit in”.

As an ‘extreme personality’ type, this is what generally happens to me:

  • “I’m on a training camp and flipping loving every minute of training, recovering like a pro and living the triathlon dream. Work is such an inconvenience, it just gets in the way of training.”
  • “I’m working so hard running my business and I’m so motivated to succeed, I’m all fired up by it and absolutely loving the mental stimulus. Triathlon is such an inconvenience, it just gets in the way of work.”

See my predicament?

I’m sure most age groupers are familiar with this sentiment. It’s a tough act to juggle. But we get through it.

I went on a training camp in early February to Tri Sports Lanzarote. Cue number 1 sentiment. Came home from the training camp, work got busy, and cue number 2. Why can’t I just sit somewhere in the middle for god’s sake!?

Thing is, it’s all about balance. The problem with us triathletes is that “balance” isn’t really in our vocabulary. Unless we are talking about left/right pedal power output, it just isn’t on our agenda. Otherwise we wouldn’t be the type of people who would try and become shit-hot at three different sports and put them all together. That’s just crazy.

There’s also the “when it’s going well I love it but when it’s going badly I hate it” sentiment. As type-A goal-driven over-achiever types, we only want to know when we’re absolutely nailing it. When we’re not, it makes us feel crap, question why we’re doing it, and feel like it’s all a bit pointless.

Or maybe this is all just me.

Anyway, I’ve now just finished training camp number two of the year and I’m firmly in the number 1 sentiment. But most probably, when I go back to work next week, juggling client meetings, conference calls and a tirade of emails, I’ll be back in sentiment number 2 before you can even say “Training Peaks”.

That’s the beast that comes with this sport. It’s pretty all-consuming at times. But when you manage to get a bit of perspective on it, do what you can without sacrificing other stuff or to the detriment of other aspects of your life, that’s when you’re really winning. Results are just results but health and happiness is what counts at the end of the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lacking drive. I want to go as far as I possibly can in the sport, with as close to a professional approach to triathlon as possible without losing perspective. But I also want to run a successful business, which will set me up for life.

If I can do both, then in my eyes I’ve already won.