Diane and Kory During a Triathlon with text "Leading for the Long Run"

Motivation: Where does it come from?

Posted on September 4, 2018
Return to Blog

Training for any distance of triathlon takes dedication, commitment—and most of all—motivation. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not roll out of bed in the morning, leap to my feet and run downstairs to the treadmill with a smile on my face yelling, “Woot, woot!”

In reality, it’s more like dragging myself out of bed and trying to figure out if I want to expend the energy to pry my eyes open (I mean, it isn’t like I’m using them).

Sighted people can find motivation in finding new and interesting places to train. They go on running trails with beautiful trees and flowers; they cycle around lakes and observe the birds and other wild life. Those of us who are not retinally dependant run on the same treadmill and train on the same spin bike day in and day out. We have to find other ways to motivate ourselves.

Feel the groove

Find something to listen to or watch while you train that makes you feel energized. I love to dance, so music gives me energy. I figure I could dance for 42km a lot easier than running for 42 km! Other people listen to podcasts, or audio books. Of course, the best is to be running outside, and if you are blind, running outside with your guide as they describe the environment to you and both of you enjoying the company of a friend.

Selecting the right time of day

I have tried training at different times of the day. What I have found out about myself is I can come up with a number of reasons why I can’t train after work. I have evening commitments, the family needs dinner made, I had a hard-stressful day at the office and I’m too tired, or everyone needs my attention for something.

The best time for me to train is first thing in the morning. I usually get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and have a reviving cup of coffee while I get into my running gear. About 6:00 a.m. I get on the treadmill or exercise bike and follow my training plan that usually lasts about an hour. I find that if I do my training early, and check it off my “to do” list, I have accomplished something before most people are even out of bed. I’ve also discovered nobody seems to want to spend time with me or demand my attention at 6:00 a.m.!

Setting goals

Keeping up with my training schedule is easier if I have goals to work towards. I like to train for races that challenge me to the point where I really have no idea if the race is even possible to complete. So, I sign up for something like an Ironman and use other races along the way as training goals to reach my ultimate goal. When I am training I imagine myself crossing the finish line of the race I am training for. Remembering the feeling of crossing that line at previous races and knowing this one is going to be special – with music playing, the announcement, “Diane Bergeron you are an Ironman,” and my family and friends waiting for me as I cross that finish line.


I seem to have a strong need to be accountable for my decisions. Once I have set my ultimate goal, I tell people what I am going to do. Once I make it public, I feel the need to do what I say I’m going to do. As well, once I have paid for the race, my Scottish roots won’t let me waste the money and not complete the race.

Just about everything we do in life requires motivation, not only triathlon events; furthering your education, getting that big promotion at work, or developing your leadership skills. All of these take work and a commitment to dedicate your efforts to reach the end goal. Everyone has motivators. It is a matter of deciding what yours are and putting them into action. It might be listening to an inspiring podcast, reading motivational books, or remembering that feeling of crossing the finish line. The key is finding what motivates you, and putting it to work in your favour.