I am often asked how to stay motivated during the triathlon off-season. It can be really easy just to sit on the couch and scroll through all of the pictures of your past tri-accomplishments – right? So – really – how do we get out of bed or off the couch to maintain a training schedule when there are no races coming up?
Well, there’s one frustrating sentence you’ll hear over and over again – It depends. It can sound like a cop-out – but it really does depend. It depends mostly on your personality.
And lucky for us – Gretchen Rubin has done the research that provides all of us some strategies so we can maintain our tri fitness (or finally clean the garage, learn how to play the guitar or anything else that requires a bit of motivation!).
She calls it the Four Tendencies framework. Rubin says pretty much everyone falls into one of four categories. There’s a quiz on Rubin’s website that can help you figure out which one applies to you, but Rubin says most people can tell which type they are just by hearing the brief descriptions of each one.
The Four Tendencies are based largely on how you respond to outer and inner expectations. Here’s how it works:
Upholders generally meet both inner and outer expectations, meaning they don’t let others or themselves down.
Upholders usually have an easier time forming habits than other people do, but they can still struggle. If you are an Upholder you may want to set up a training schedule that includes both solo workouts and ones where you are meeting a friend or a group.
Questioners meet only inner expectations. They push back against and question all expectations. Above all, they do something only if they think it makes sense — they hate anything arbitrary.
Questioners often remark, “I can keep a resolution if I think it’s important, but I wouldn’t make a New Year’s resolution, because January first is a meaningless date”. If you are a Questioner you need to figure out what is really important – perhaps what goal you have for next year and understand how the off-season can help you reach that goal. If you think that’s helpful! 😉
Obligers meet outer expectations but not always inner ones. In other words, they usually need some form of external accountability.
Maybe that means signing up for a masters swim class with a friend or hiring a coach to help – even in the off-season. Something or someone to hold you accountable to your goals.
Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations. They value authenticity and self-determination.
If you are a rebel it is easier to embrace the habit of staying fit if you view it as part of your identity. You are a triathlete – so of course you would stay fit during the off-season.
The most important thing is to figure out what works for you – and do the work so you can reap the rewards next season!
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!