By Kate Merwitz, Director - Shadow Racing
With racing cancelled and group rides few and far between, some of us have been able to follow our training plans better than ever– revealing an even stronger level of fitness. For others, it’s been hard to find motivation to ride, much less train.
I’ve been taking extra time these days to check in with Shadow, both mentally and physically, to make sure everyone is OK. Doing so has helped us to stay focused on our goals as a team and as individuals, while also giving us the permission to wander.
So without further ado, here are some of my best tips for staying motivated when riding begins to feel like a chore:
1. Ride In The Morning
Planning to wake up early and ride first thing in the morning minimizes the chance of distraction, and allows us to start the day on the right foot. By prepping our gear, kit, and nutrition the night before, we can minimize the effort required so we have an easier start to our ride.
2. Change It Up
When motivation is low, It’s hard to get excited when you’re riding the same route over and over again. Keep the senses entertained by exploring new roads in your city. This feeling of discovery has never let us down.
3. Invite A Friend
On long rides it can sometimes be helpful to get out of our head and chat with a friend. This helps the time pass and also keeps our spirits up, especially when we’re sprinting to the nearest cafe for a coffee break. A friend to push you is always a good thing!
4. Change Your Expectations
When we aren’t feeling up to riding, it might be a good idea to scale back on the distance, ride structure, and also plan more rest days if needed. These days can even be devoted to other types of self care– like yoga, meditation, walking, running, strength training, and even meal planning. (More on meal planning in a future post!)
5. Recognize Progress
Building fitness is like taking baby steps every day, so it’s always helpful to step back and see how far you’ve come. Don’t forget to praise yourself for it!
6. Stay Connected
Maintain contact with your cycling community, near and far, to feel more connected and find support from others. This is a great way to reinforce a positive cycling mindset.
7. Find Your Muse
Sometimes it helps to find that “cycling muse” to stay motivated. Follow your favorite cycling‑related athletes, teams, brands, and bloggers to rekindle that love of cycling.
8. Reward Yourself
We don’t want to promote excess, but sometimes treating yourself to a new kit, sunglasses, component, meal, or other treat helps to make cycling feel a little more pleasurable at times.
9. Short‑Term Goals
Having an attainable goal to look forward to can help you stay on track. Something I did was plan a 150km ride that circled around the entire island of Montreal. It took me a couple months to work up to it, but it felt really good to accomplish this small milestone.
10. Invest In Yourself
If you’ve tried these tips and still feel unmotivated, it might be time to look into coaching or joining a local cycling team/club. In many ways, good coaches and teammates are like bike therapists‑ our support system that helps us to work past struggles and towards goals in manageable ways. Highly recommended!
11. Give Yourself Permission
Staying motivated can be hard and sometimes it takes a little more effort than usual, and you know what? That’s totally OK and normal. We aren’t robots, we are humans– so give yourself permission to be one. Keep your heads up and the rubber side down, and I hope these tips help you fall in love with cycling again.