It’s cold and dark. You’re fatigued. Your knees and feet hurt. There is no race in sight.
I don’t know about you, but I’m digging deep for motivation. The fear of losing what took me a year and a half to build helps a little, but the winter months are a totally different animal.
I’m hanging on by a thread with 3-4 marginal workouts a week, but if I want to make next year count, I’ll need to pick it up soon. Last night was a typical get-home-from-work-after-dark-funk, but I forced myself to dig up the reflective vest and do some work.
Almost everyone agrees that triathlon is won on the run. And after that short, but effective 4 mile run last night, I have convinced myself that off-season training is also won with the run. One simple reason: you can do it outside.
Flowing with nature is why I signed up for this. Six am swims in the lake, hell yes. Endless laps in a pool? Forget it. Four hours on a trainer or Natches Trace? Breathing fresh air in a beautiful and hilly park or jamming a treadmill for an hour?
Last year the indoor stuff came easier because my first Ironman scared the crap out of me. Motivation by fear. But my goals have changed. I want to be faster and there are no shortcuts. Life rewards you for putting in the work.
Next year’s races are won now. The indoor work is monotonous, but triathlon is about building mental toughness.
Putting in long hours on a bike that doesn’t move or in a pool that won’t let you out is very hard, but it’s the primer that makes your work stick. And while that kind of caged workout doesn’t make my mouth water, it’s good to remember I can break up the main course with a sweet desert called “outside running” over the cold months ahead.