In triathlon, there are days of utter exhaustion and utter disappointment. This goes from the pros all the way to the amateur weekend warrior. It is in these times that it is difficult to get up for that next workout or train hard for the next race. You just don't feel like it and you just want to sit on the couch and eat that long-awaited Blue Bell Ice Cream. The thing you look for inspiration. Where is it going to come from and where will it get you. The main thing is to get back on your feet, back to the next workout, and focused on that next race. Inspiration can come from within, from a family member, from a famous story of another triathlete who has overcome incredible odds or maybe just watching a replay of the world championships. Wherever it comes from finding it, harness it, remember it, because you may need it again.
The largest reservoir of inspiration has to come from within. You have to be self-driven and find inspiration in your own self. I find the best way for this to happen is to look back over my goals. These goals were made at a time when I was feeling good and at a time that I was hopeful. Maybe the season hasn't started off the way I wanted it to, or maybe my workouts are struggling right now, or maybe I am flat out tired, but those goals can help to inspire me to keep going. I have to remind myself that if I slack off now then those goals will get further and further from being a reality. They will be a distant memory instead of a future reality. I understand that I have to keep going to ever possibly reach those goals. I also know that one day, I don't want to look back and say "what if I had kept going, could I have achieved my goals?" I want to be able to say I gave it my all.
A Family Member:
My wife and my kids are a huge motivation and inspiration to me. I love that they are proud of my triathlon experience and work. At last year's Beach to Battleship Ironman race, there was no better feeling than to finish with my family right there to greet me at the finish line. One of my inspirations is to not disappoint my family. I know my family will love me whether I win, lose or draw in my triathlon racing, but I love to make them proud. I am inspired by my family. They often will give me words of inspiration and to encourage me whenever I struggle so that is always a blessing.
From a Famous story of another triathlete:
I have been inspired by at least two stories of amazing triathletes. One of them is Scott Rigby. Scott has no legs. I first encountered Scott at an Olympic distance Triathlon in Rome, Georgia in 2012. His transition area was near mine. This guy, with no legs, swam the same distance I did, biked the same distance I did and ran the same distance I did. He was fast and he was smiling the whole way. I, later on, saw Scott featured on the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in their television broadcast. I was like "I raced with that guy!" I remember that I did pass him on the bike and said to him, "you are an inspiration." Every time that I get down about my training or my racing, I think of Scott and it inspires me.
The other inspirational story is the story of Team Hoyt. This father and son team is absolutely amazing. The son has a disability here he can't run or speak. He can communicate through a computer. The son wanted to run in a 5K race to benefit a boy in his school. The dad figured a way to run with the boy's wheelchair. This started an epic adventure of them running marathons and doing triathlons. Team Hoyt finished the world championships in Hawaii. The dad pulled the son in a little inflatable boat the whole way and still had an incredible marathon time! Those guys always inspire me!
There are countless other inspirational stories that I run across that help to inspire me to work harder and race harder and to keep going.
Watching a replay of the World Championships:
Last year when I was dog tired from all the workouts leading into my Ironman distance race at Beach to Battleship, I was a little bummed after a not so good workout week. I wasn't running well, biking well, or swimming well. I was just resigning myself that I was probably not going to do as well as I was hoping to do in the race. Frankly, I wanted to quit if I hadn't already invested the money in the race and hotel. I then sat down and found footage of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii from some previous year. The year didn't really matter at all. I watched the hour-long program and it inspired me with the video montages and the powerful music. I was back at it the next day ready to continue my quest.
You will hit a wall one day! It will be painful and you will want to quit. You will need some inspiration... find it... capture it... and keep on going!