Sport and exercise psychologist Jill Owen shares tools to keep you hitting the road when the desire drops
Recognise The Cause
One of the most important things is to identify what is leading to your decreased motivation. By identifying the motivational issues involved it’s possible to work on reducing the negative effects and build more positive strategies.
Role Of The Goals
When a specific goal has been a driving force in motivation, it’s understandable to feel derailed if it’s no longer possible. Aim to create other goals, such as improving fitness in a structured, measurable fashion or by exploring new routes or different types of terrain. Whatever the new goal, cycling with others and making targets or finding new ways of enjoying riding together can increase the social aspect and your commitment.
Addressing The Pitfalls
After a crash fear can be a genuine issue and a graded return to cycling can help, for example first just sitting on the bike, then short rides increasing in intensity and length. Often after a fall we automatically visualise it happening again, which constitutes mentally practising falling, and increases the feeling of likelihood it will happen again. It’s important to actively and regularly visualise your riding going well in an enjoyable and positive manner so that the mental practise is more positive.
Riding Through Rehab
Returning from injury can be a frustrating time. Even for amateur cyclists, a structured rehabilitation regime with many small targets is important, ideally including support from others to avoid the feeling of isolation that can occur during injury. This needs to be focused but flexible according to progress so disappointment if the plan changes doesn’t derail the regime.
Whatever The Weather
Getting out in bad weather can be difficult for many reasons and back-up plans need to be considered in advance of the rain arriving. Plan shorter but enjoyable or goal-compatible routes that are possible under the circumstances.
Identify what is leading to your decreased motivation