Keeping motivated (and disciplined)

I’ve looked through the archives and here, can’t find any threads specifically on motivation.

I want to know what people do to keep their motivation strong during times when training is more difficult. Stressful events in personal life
During an injury
After a bad performance/ training session(s)

And committing to the training program
Sticking to suitable volumes/intensities- Stopping after designated volumes if you are hitting
Keeping tempo speed at 65% even if some other guys are speeding past you at 11mps
Sticking to a decent diet.

What did Ben do for motivation, I think he watched a lot of video tapes to figure out where he was going wrong and where carl was better than him(in the early years). What else?

Things I can think of that might help

What are the best techniques for motivating in each situation?

A very wide, but interesting Topic …

[Here are just few thoughts thrown out …]

There are many things you can do to maintain motivation.
I find Stories and anecdotes as being very powerful.

Music can be generally used in two ways:

  1. A trigger to help enter or re-enter a mind-state of training.
  2. Motivational while training.

(A Smell trigger - if a suitable one can be found - is much more powerful)

Anecdotes can be inspiring.

Slaying the Dragon - Michael Johnson
It’s not about the bike.- Lance
Winning Every Day - Lou Holtz
When Pride Still Mattered - Davis Maraniss
Why We Win - Billy Packer

see : []

Basically you are trying to trick your mind and state of mind.

Different Approaches are such as:
‘Everyone is against us’ attitude - see Alex Ferguson or John McEnroe - can be a very powerful motivator and is very widely used.
Fear of failure -
The Challenge - MJ
Hate, -

Quotes - Movie Quotes - Speeches - ‘Inches’ - Al Pacino ‘Any Given Sunday’

Movie Clips - e.g. If Scotish - try ‘Braveheart’ etc.

However - None of these are any use unless you can positively answer the question “Do I really, REALLY want to do this?”

I think the biggest thing I have learned with respect to motivation is not how to get more motivated, but the need to hold myself back from doing too much.

Interestingly, I find that this then helps my motivation. For example, if I do too much, then I get overtained and tired - that saps motivation. Or worse I get injured which is even worse. On the other hand, if I do a little bit less, then I’m always wanting more and I look forward to every training session. And if I’m not overtrained, then I am more likely to make improvements which are themselves motivating. It is a great positive feedback cycle.

You may find this quite basic but this is what I tell myself with each situation. It then becomes a habit and each situation gets a little easier with experience. And as No23 says, triggers to enter a particular mind set are also very valuable.

With stress from personal life: unless I blank out the stress and commit there is no point being there (before a run, squats etc) and I will not improve. It can be difficult though - focus :o

Injuries: injuries happen and matters will only be made worse if exercise of the injured area is forced early, and other areas of the body are neglected.

Bad performances: they happen and you just have to ignore them; a decent performance can’t be too far away, especially if you are following your proven training protocol.

Not overdoing a particular session e.g. holding back in tempo, stopping after a PR, is easy. You just have to tell yourself that if you don’t stop or slow down you may spoil what you have just accomplished. Experience also shows this works.

I agree with music, stories and quotes also.

Agree with xrl8. Maybe instead we should address the question of how to maintain discipline.

I agree with X too, I find overtraining is probably my biggest mistake and this usually happens when I don’t trust my plan and train thru recovery periods.

And on Richards point - we are creatures of habit - so maximise that.

The main key to a positive outlook is success in achieving training objectives on a regular and predictable basis. This requires successful planning by the coach to ensure that the objectives set forth in training ARE achievable.
With the sprint intensities set out in my training, the only requirement for meets is to go out and REPEAT PRACTICE- exactly what you’ve already done hundreds of times before. NOTHING ELSE and NOTHING SPECIAL! Any attempt at change during competition will have a negative impact. The increase in performance seen in the meets is the result of the peaking process, not the execution process.

Well for me i have been goign through a very bad time on track in training and off track.


I just think to myself its all life! ups and downs. I never get to low on a low and to high on a high.

When i am very destressed i listen to MY music.

I just listen to it and relax! also i think to myself (you only live once so live for the moment! like the other week i was very destress because of my back injury stopping me from training a bit, so i went out on the town and got Drunk Smashed!

I JUST let the stress fly away and watched them float away into the sky. When i am drunk i usaully come up with ideas what i am going to do with my life.

At the moment people as i speak to you i am listening to TUPAC (ALL BOUT U).

I will be taining tonight!

But in training if somebody says something bad towards me, it just makes me wanna try harder.

I find training alone can become a burden - in the same way that training with a group can sometimes affect my focus -
So now I’m trying to get the balance between the two - check in for advice and a relaxed social session with some chat between reps but still keep my solo sessions where I can totally lose myself and focus with no interruptions .
As for rare relaxation - I grab that with both hands whenever I get the chance .
Fave movies at the mo’ being Big Wednesday and Endless summer 1 & 2 - I can’t get there 4 a while but at least I can dream

Most success gurus will tell you to associate with the type of people you want to be like. You can´t do that alone. Often one good athlete in a group, or one who is making good gains will infect the others with his/her success and the whole group moves forward.

I worked with a skier who had no training partners to challenge him and then one summer his ski coach hooked him up with some of the best skiers in his event. He saw in a training situation that he could ski with them, and then got some great competition results in that season.

But each athlete has to find the best mix for them personally.