Today was going to be an off day for my letter writing.

Just like with training, we need to take a recovery day every now and then to stay fresh. That was looking good until I received a reply to my last post from one of our members, Sophie, which turned out to be arguably a better reply than the actual post I wrote.

Sophie has been training with us since the beginning of the year in preparation for her latest endurance challenge (you can read more about that here) and she was very generous enough to share some personal tips on “motivation” or “determination”:

1. Set Long-term, mid-term and short-term goals.

We need a big goal to set our direction and it might be much higher or beyond our ability, but it does not matter. We then we need a mid-term goal to evaluate if we are working effectively towards the big goal and adjust the method if necessary. The small short-term goal can give us great motivation and make it more practical to improve ourselves little by little.

Break down the big goal and make smaller plan to achieve it.  For example, I wanted to do the UTMB (168km trail race in France) when I started my journey of running in 2013, even though at that time I couldn’t even run for more than 10 mins (I guess I am really ambitious!) In order to qualify for the UTMB race, I needed to complete at least three 100km races. So I set my UTMB goal to 3 years, my long-term goal, and 3x 100km goal to 18 months, my medium-term goal. My short term goal then became to run a marathon in 6 months time.

The result was, I completed three 100km race in 2015 and qualified for the 2016 UTMB (and I got through the lottery process!) Unfortunately, I just got a new job and couldn’t get enough annual leave so I had to refocus. This led me to apply for, and enter the Tour Des Geants in 2017 (and my return attempt in 2019)!

2. Change the way to celebrate.

People say we should celebrate every small achievement we achieve. Yes, we should, but do it a little bit later and in another way. We have made a deadlift PR, shall we buy an ice cream to celebrate? Probably not. Remember you have GOALS. A hot shower and getting to sleep early is a much better way to reward yourself.

3. Get prepared before you start DAY 2 or DAY 3

Is getting up early really hard? Yes for me for a looooong time. Recently I tried some ways to join the morning class or run from 6 am and I made it. If you need to get up to work at 5 am, you are probably not happy about that, but if you need to catch a flight for a holiday at 5 am, that’s a different story. So, the first thing is, you need to “pretend” to like getting up early.

After several times, it will be more real.  Get prepared before pulling yourself from your bed. Eat well and sleep early the night before. Shut down the computer and cell phone, pick up a book to read before closing your eyes. Most important is: pack up all your clothes, shoes, water bottles etc. and put them beside your bed. Pre-prepare your breakfast so that it only takes a few minutes before you can get out of the door and jump into the car for the gym (or a run!).

4. Help yourself help yourself

I would recommend a book called “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”  Cheers Sophie




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