Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jedi Mind Tricks


by Ben Greenfield on January 12, 2010 in Triathlon Training

Are you ready to learn ways to instantly motivate yourself when you're feeling too tired to workout, unsure about whether to sign-up for an event, or tempted to give up during a race? Consider these Top 5 Jedi Mind Tricks from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at http://www.rockstartriathlete.com to be your ultimate secret weapon for motivation. Are you ready?

1) 2 Minute Rule. Don't get scared by the seven-syllable word in this tip...but physiologically, several changes take place in your body during the first 120 seconds of exercise. Namely, at about that 2 minute mark, your cells begin to more easily utilize oxygen as a fuel, muscle temperature begins to rise, and exercise suddenly becomes easier. So what is the take-away trick for using the 2 Minute Rule in triathlon motivation? If you just got home from work and you're "too tired" to train, or you're trying to tear yourself out of bed at 5am, just tell yourself: get through the first 2 minutes. You'll be consistently pleased with what happens after that point!

2) Use Irrational Psychology. This is a powerful trick for triathlon motivation, and involves affecting the appeal of one workout choice by comparing it to other choices. Here are some examples. Say it's time for a 90 minute hard cycling session, and you just don't have the triathlon motivation to get on your bike and head out. So give yourself three choices, and make two of those choices more unpleasant: Choice #1 - go on a 5 hour easy bike ride; Choice #2 - Do a 90 minute interval run on a treadmill instead; Choice #3 - do your 90 minute bike ride. The 90 minute bike ride suddenly seems relatively not all that bad. Or imagine the pool is "too cold" to go for a swim. So go in the locker room and take a cold shower. Suddenly the pool becomes relatively appealing. Or imagine you're running up a hill and you have an overwhelming urge to walk. Start sprinting on the hill much faster than you are running. Stop 5 seconds. Start running again at your normal pace. The hill running will instantly feel easier (yes, the brain is a strange thing).

3) Use Very Small Goals. In the middle of a race and feel like giving up? This trick works very well. Tell yourself that you're going to take just 200 more steps, or 100 more pedal strokes, or get to one more buoy. Promise yourself that at that point you can either A) stop or B) keep going. By giving your brain the reward of having completed a small, intermediate goal, there is a slight infusion of dopamine that occurs which drives you to keep going when you get to that point. Again, it is a strange phenomenon, but works very well for triathlon motivation, especially in a race.

4) Use Extrinsic Motivation. Humans have an innate desire to be accepted, and an innate detest for being rejected. We internally fear being judged by our failures, and crave to be accepted for delivering on our promises. Here's how to use this principle for triathlon motivation: the next time you're waffling on a workout, go to Facebook, go to Twitter, go to your blog, or call your best friend or spouse and tell them, "I'm just about to go to workout ______ (you fill in the blanks) Should be fun!". This tiny social expression will instantly give you a powerful urge to deliver on your promises. It also works well if you're on the fence about signing up for a race for which you're unsure you will have fitness. Tell the world you're going to sign-up, and the extrinsic motivation of not wanting to let the world down will make you far more likely to do it.

5) Re-Train Your Brain. There is a big difference between wanting something and being prepared to receive it. In other words, it's not enough to have triathlon motivation goals and want to achieve them. Instead, you must actually train your subconscious to realistically see yourself achieving your goals. Want to know exactly how to re-train your brain? Do 2 things: 1) Read Ben Greenfield's comprehensive article in the February 2010 issue of Triathlete magazine; 2) Visit the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at http://www.rockstartriathlete.com, where you will find an online triathlon school that features weekly handpicked articles on triathlon motivation and lifestyle.

Memorize these mind tricks and add them to your triathlon motivation arsenal, and you'll be the person everyone is talking about when they say, "They're like the Energizer bunny! They keep going, and going, and going...".

1 comment:

Sparklinglady said...

i use that 2 minute trick pretty much every time i go swimming. it seems to work pretty well.