The last few weeks a couple of people asked me how I stay motivated during winter. Winter here on the Arctic Circle is not like winter in Central Europe. e.g The pase 7 days the temperature didn-t go above -20C and there is about 2h of light. But we never see the sun during this period ( Finnish call this= Kaamos).
How I deal with the light:
I like to think that people in London during this time go to work in the dark and get back from work in the dark. Here we can still enjoy the light reflexion of the snow in London you can’t ( well actually I saw on the news they actually can for a few days at least)
The cold you get used to ( physically but also mentally)and you just have to find the proper clothing-receipe. I will write about that in a later blog.
The hardest thing is always biking, running or X-country skiing alone in these difficult cirumstances. Many hours a week, week after week. The cycling season in Finland start in April in the south of Finland. That’s quite late but at that time it’s perfectly possible that I haven’t been riding any road sessions up here in Rovaniemi with my roadbike.
During the summer I never take my mp3 player on any of my trainings. Why? Well, music is a great motivator for me but when I use it all the time it doesn’t work any more. During the summer I prefer to keep it for my pre-race preperation, meditation or visualization. Whatever you want to call it. I just listen to a few songs over and over again and it just get’s me so pumped up and ready.
During the winter I use this music to drag me through this long training session. I visualize landscapes, competitors, race situations, results, fitness, my new bike or my job, my next deal, my new office …it’s just a kind of trance,day dream. The funny thing is …this really works. Not only for me but for millions of other athletes… managers, husbands,wifes etc.
I discoverd this at a very young age when I was training or preparing for a competition but I also learned that visualizing can also help you achieve a lot on a professional and personal level. I speak 5 languages ( some quite difficult) quite fluently and I was never an ace at school. I just determined for myself I would be speaking those languages by a certain time in the future. I was seeing myself speaking those languages and eventually I did. I just convinced myself that I could. That’s the power of intention!
A lot of people can’t understand this because they never switch off or never take a step back. They are just too busy. They never totally mentally relax. Visualizing doesn’t work in front of television!
I usually visualize in bed just before I fall asleep the other option for me is endurance sports.
Running is ideal for visualizing. You just set your rythm and you don’t need to worry so much about falling or traffic. Cycling is fare less ideal but I still manage, especially with the music on.
My conclusion: Endurance training is much more than physical excercise. This is the time I open my brain and allow myself to determine what I will achieve next!