All athletes—novices and pros—struggle with motivation. Even when it’s your job (perhaps especially when it’s your job) it can be difficult to find the will to suit up and ride. But not every lapse in morale needs to slow you down. I’ve often used these tricks to boost my motivation when it starts to run dry. Maybe they’ll work for you, too.
Hide Your Cycling Computer
The worst rides are the ones when I stare at my power meter, fret that the numbers on the screen are too small, and squirm as the minutes and seconds slowly tick by. No matter how you gauge your workouts—heart rate, power, average speed, time—diverting your attention away from the handlebars and toward on the experience itself will help the miles fly by.
Spruce Up Your Bike
I love how a replacement chain feels so smooth that even my legs seem to get a boost. Along with a couple of brand-new chains, I keep rolls of handlebar tape, tires, and cables and housing on hand to freshen up my “office” whenever it starts to feel drab.
Aim for a Rewarding Destination
Cycling has a capacity foradventure that not many other forms of exercise offer. In the last month, my favorite ride destinations have included a far-off Amish Bakery in North Carolina, the Coors factory outside Denver, and a famous taco stand in Tucson.
Appeal to your type A side by adding a stop or two to take care of errands. A light shoe bag doubles as a great backpack that can fit into a jersey pocket if you want to carry something for only part of the time.
Make Firm Plans with Riding Partners
Don’t be ambivalent. If you tell your cycling buddies that you’ll definitely show up, it will be harder to back out.
Prep Your Equipment the Night Before
Mom was on to something when she packed your lunch and laid out your clothes the night before each school day. Likewise, all the work that goes into prepping for a ride can be a greater obstacle than the workout itself.