It’s the winter. It’s cold and it’s dark.  It gets dark earlier and if you’re anything like me, you feel tired earlier as a result. All of your races are months away and seem so far off in the horizon that you can barely see them.

It is during this time that you can sometimes feel like you are digging deep, very deep, for motivation to keep moving. Suddenly thoughts of losing all that conditioning it took you months and months to build will go poof and be gone.

Let’s face it; training for a triathlon indoors, or any sport that primarily takes place outdoors, is less than ideal. This is true when nothing else is an option, such as when it’s -26 degrees outside, but with the wind it feels -40. The pool, the trainer, the treadmill… They can all make you feel as if you are a hamster on a never ending hamster wheel.  Putting in long hours on a static bike that doesn’t budge or in a body of water with walls and other barriers day in and out for months is very hard, but it thickens your backbone and that makes your work stick.  Being outside and moving freely about the world in any way you feel is after all a part of the reason why we do this, but it is during this time that you start to lose sight of why you do this in the first place.

I’ve been through this many, many times. In fact, I’d say I fall victim to this every year, just like many others. Listed below are some of the things I try to keep in mind when there are 10+ inches of snow and ice on the ground and I have no other feasible option but housing up in my “pain cave” on my treadmill or Computrainer:

  • Indoor training can feel mind numbing, but the sport of triathlon is primarily about mental toughness and this is where you can build that base.
  • Many people believe it’s the bike or run that wins the race, but I am convinced that solid off-season training is what actually wins the race
  • Winter is one single month. Spring, summer and fall are much more than that!
  • All of this will pay off. Every boring minute on the treadmill, on the computrainer and in the pool will make me better and wronger every season.
  • I remember how I feel when I stand on a podium and all the mind numbing miles memories slip away.

More: To train or not train when you are sick? That is the question!

What do you tell yourself to get through those lonely, dark days in the basement?

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