by Steve Crowder
There are a couple of “Mo’s” when it comes to sports. Specifically I’m referring to Motivation and Momentum, and for me, the two are very much tied together. When my motivation is high, I tend to build momentum, or the other can be true as well, and when I start to build momentum, my motivation increases. Regardless, in order to train and race well, I need both going in the right direction, and if they aren’t, then my performance suffers.
Recently I felt like I had some momentum building with my training, but for various reasons, I lost my motivation. I had a lot going on at work along with the added distraction of the Holiday season, and the next thing I knew I found myself not looking forward to runs and more or less just going through the motions. As a result, that momentum I was building with my training went by the wayside and instead of feeling a little fitter each day I felt like I was losing ground. That snowballed further into me questioning whether or not I still had what it takes to compete at a high level and whether or not I even wanted to, and the more I thought about that, the worse I felt in my daily runs.
I definitely think I had some burnout issues going, some of which were physical, but I think a lot of my problem was as much mental as anything. I lost motivation, which led to a loss of momentum, which led to a further loss of motivation. It’s basically a downward spiral that’s pretty easy to get into, especially for someone who tends to be somewhat pessimistic like myself. Negative thoughts lead to negative self-talk which leads to negative performance.
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I am one to set goals, and one goal I have for myself for this coming year is to be a lot more positive with my thoughts in training and racing. Far too often I tend to think more along the lines of “I really don’t feel good today so this workout probably isn’t going to go well” or “I’m hurting way too much and way too early to be able to hold this pace” and that leads to a negative self-fulfilling prophesy. Too often I think “I’m too old for this” rather than “I’m doing pretty darn good for an ‘old’ man!” As a result, I lose those all-important “Mo’s” and don’t get the best my body has to offer.
So, if you’re like me, and tend to be very positive and encouraging to others but sometimes do the exact opposite with your own self, set a goal to make a change this coming year. Instead of coming up with reasons why you can’t, come up with reasons why you WILL. When negative thoughts crop up, refuse to listen and instead give yourself a pep talk. It might seem silly at first, but I think you’ll find your motivation will increase, and as that motivation increases, so will momentum. The next thing you know, you’ll be on track for a breakthrough season. Here’s to lots of “Mo” in 2014!