Motivation is like a roller coaster.

It peaks and troughs throughout the day, the week and your entire season.

When we talk about ‘motivation’, it’s easy to be ambiguous with what it means. I’m talking about having the motivation to ‘get it done’. To do the training you’ve set yourself. To do what you said you were going to do.

Motivation is absent when there’s:

  1. No big over-arching goal driving you
  2. No immediate goal
  3. Nothing new about what you’re doing
  4. No one to share it with

Let me explain….

1. What’s Your Big Goal?

To begin any journey, you need a destination. There’s no point jumping in the car and hoping you arrive somewhere you like. Let’s say my big dream this year was to visit the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ve now got my destination and I’m ready to drive the 847km from Melbourne to Sydney.

How it relates to swimming: Pick something 6-12 months out and make that your target. You can go longer term but it’s easy to lose focus if it’s too far away. If you have a goal to make the Olympic team in 4 years time, you still need to set goals 6-12 months out from today.

2. What are you looking forward to in the near future?

I could drive to Sydney without stopping on the way. The problem is I’d get bored and easily distracted. Rather than being excited about my destination, I’m going to be thinking about how much hate sitting the car. By adding some small events into my plans I soon become much more excited about the trip. Planned coffee stops, a big chicken parma for lunch along the way…now I’m looking forward to it.

How it relates to swimming: Selecting a handful races to target in the lead up to your ‘big goal’ will keep you focused along the way. Racing is also a great way to track your progress.

3. Introduce Something Different

If I listen to the exact same Spotify playlist as I did last time I took the journey, there’s good chance I’ll tune out and get annoyed at the songs. But if I have something new – an interesting podcast, a funny radio host or a new album to listen to, it’s much easier to pass the time.

How it relates to swimming: If you’re doing the same workouts, have no focus with improving your technique, doing the same gym program as last year you’ll get over it…quickly. Find a new type of training structure, have a coach analyse your stroke and give you specific areas to improve, try a new strength program. Whatever it is – you need to be excited about doing it. Swimming is a game. Make it fun.

4. Is It Still A Road Trip If It’s Only You?

Road trips are much better with someone by your side. It’s a long journey on your own.

How it relates to swimming: Training on your own gets lonely. Find someone training for the same or a similar event and work together. Set yourselves challenging sets that get progressively harder each week. Race one another in training. The pain is much less when it’s shared with others.

What to do next

Being unmotivated happens to everyone. It might be at the start of a season or halfway through it. Just know that it’s all part of the process. It’s normal. Do a quick scan of the four steps mentioned above and get started today. Drag your butt to the pool and dive in. The rest will take care of itself.

One of the best ways to get re-energised and re-inspired about your swimming is training camps and swimming trips. We recently held a Hell Week camp in Phuket, Thailand at the amazing Thanyapura training facility. Talk about getting fit in a week!

thanyapura camp

We also have two swim trips in Australia next year down the Great Ocean Road and Sydney’s Northern beaches. We have some exciting news coming about two international swim trips in 2015. Subscribe to the email newsletter below for updates.

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Brenton and Mitch were great to work with at the clinic, Good to get video analysis to work on straight away, practice some new drills and go home knowing what you need to work on.

Alex McFadyen