Has your motivation dipped the past year? The 2020/2021 season has been a rollercoaster for all of us. Being an athlete the past year has meant something different than it has before. It has tried our spirits and pushed us to a make-or-break point. However, there is a saving grace, and for many of us, that is the community we surround ourselves in.
We've talked to Elissa Legault, one of Näak’s Professional Road Runners, about what it has taken to stay motivated during uncertain times. Find out how she keeps progressing at a consistent rate during an inconsistent time. We hope by sharing part of her story, it will inspire our community to keep pushing, making 2021 their best year no matter what.
"2020 has been a year of uncertainty and disappointment in terms of the many races that have been cancelled."
"For my part, in April 2020, I had to take a leave from the prestigious Boston Marathon. With a few weeks' notice, I had to deal with my disappointment and focus on the months ahead."
For Elissa, like many of us, this disappointment wasn't going to hold her down. When one door closes, another opens, and 2020 still meant a few accomplishments were in store for this determined athlete.
"It was not until October of the same year that I had the chance to test my form on my favourite distance, which is the marathon. I crossed the finish line with a "PB" and a 9th position in the race table of the best times among Quebec ladies."
It's important for you, as an athlete, to build this resilience towards anything that stands in your path. When the future is questionable, sometimes the only constant you can rely on is your training.
"The best way to predict the future is to create it!"
For Elissa, The key to success with training, competing and living through uncertain times comes from 3 things: motivation, easy/fun workouts, and planning in-house tests/race simulations.
Keep Your Motivation High
"First of all, motivation is unique to each person. I believe that the competitions are an excellent source of motivation. Still, Ms. Covid will have forced us to dig deeper. For my part, I am a perfectionist, and I like to surpass myself."
"I decided to take advantage of this long absence from an official race to build a good base in terms of volume and speed. I gradually increased my miles from week to week, and, for me, that's what motivated me to put on my shoes every day."
Challenge yourself to find creative goals to achieve with your training. When we have disappointments in life, we also have opportunities to create new plans and re-evaluate our objectives.
Trying a new sport, looking for new training partners, and making small achievements that you can accomplish faster are great ways to keep your motivation high.
Keep Your Workouts Fun
"Another aspect that I find important in keeping motivation high is sticking to easy workouts. Give your all when the time is right, but also to know how to enjoy a good jog for the vast majority of the week."
"By respecting this, the body recovers, and it allows the head to rest. A rested athlete is a happy athlete. By wanting to jog a little too fast, I consider that it requires constant mental strength, and it becomes very tiring in the long run.
To keep you going through turbulent times, having fun with everything you're doing is an essential aspect of training that should not be overlooked.
When a big race is not specific for your future, having fun will keep spirits high, ensuring you stay on track with any training you've set out to accomplish.
Track Your Progress With In-House Tests/Race Simulations
"In the end, I think many of you have done it, but planning in-house tests and race simulations allows you to have short-term goals. It also gives you an idea of your current physical condition. You only need to gather a few people and even some non-running friends who are playing spectators!"
The last piece of advice Elissa has for you is working with in-house tests and race simulations for endurance sports.
This enables you to stay grounded in a training mindset when the racing future looks irregular.
When developing your own race simulations, it's critical to focus on your pacing, building up aerobic endurance over time as if you are training for an actual marathon.
Make sure to take the extra time this season to dial in your nutrition so that you can come back stronger than before.
Need some tips? We've got you covered in a fantastic article centred around creating your diet for Ultras. Read about it here, and have fun!