What I learnt from our Motivate in May Challenge

The month of May this year saw the majority of our team embark on a challenge of their choosing. A chance to set a goal motivating for them. They were then tasked with the challenge to fulfill that, whatever it may be. But the aim was to set the goal, have a reason behind the goal and find the discipline and determination to work towards that goal, even when they may not have been ‘motivated’. You can read more on the challenge and what was involved here.

And the results were amazing and awesome to witness ! We had such a variety of challenges chosen, which just reminded me of the variety of individuals coached within our group. Some of the challenges chosen included:

  • ‘Run every day in May’ – we had a few take on this challenge!
  • Walk every day in May
  • Swim every day in May
  • Eat 2 x pieces of fruit a day
  • Drink 2litres of water a day
  • Activations prior to each training session
  • Complete S&C each day / each week (aiming to solidify this habit!)
  • Daily cold shower / cryotherapy brrrr !
  • Consistency challenge, of training every day
  • And so many more!

There was hundreds of kms and hours (literally!) dedicated in May for this challenge, all aimed at forming a new habit, or breaking an old one.. Sparking personal growth, building mental resilience or simply trying something new. A great challenge to take on alongside their other training when most of these athletes are in their off season or base season.

Some added bonuses that came out of our challenge included:

  • Sense of self satisfaction and achievement
  • Body fat loss. (bonus!)
  • New healthy habits formed
  • One athlete even stated “it did wonders for my body, but more importantly for my mental health“… can’t get much better than that !

As a Coach, this challenge reiterated the importance of community, of belonging, of taking ownership, of pushing oneself…

And as an athlete myself, what did I learn of my challenge? I will always join in challenges with my crew as I feel like it’s important to feel and understand what they are going through, the challenges they may face – the same with training. I complete many of the training sessions I prescribe because then as a Coach and an athlete myself, I know what that session will feel like…

So for me, I took on the challenge of running every day in May, plus adding at least 10min a day as ‘me’ time (something I find hard to do!), as well as daily cryotherapy. Either hot/cold shower or cold plunge every day. Oomph – a hard one in cold weather! But man did I see the benefits! These were not only invigorating, but I felt I slept better when I did this before bed – especially during the luteal phase of my cycle when a females core body temperature increases – try it ladies! Plus not to mention research into the many other benefits.. Read more here.

The run portion of my challenge – although was the most time consuming and physically demanding of my 3 goals, it was actually the easiest in a sense. And I find that many athletes are the same. As we love to train. We love to push our bodies and we love a challenge. But something like taking 10min out of your day to simply sit and be – oh how much harder that can be for many! (more on that…)
Personally I decided to include the run challenge as I’d had a love/hate relationship with running for a few months – probably longer. I just didn’t feel in flow, and just generally felt clunky. Mainly due to my lack of consistency. (so surprise surprise!). So nothing like a run challenge to up the consistency and boy has it made a difference !

The first week I was off to a slow but good start. It wasn’t a chore and I enjoyed having a goal as my motivation. Nice consistent week to begin. Week two felt much of the same, but I could feel it becoming easier, I was getting faster for the same effort. Into week three and I had some on and off days. One day I felt light as a feather, running faster and at ease than I’d felt in some time, then two days later I was day 1 of my cycle and felt heavy and as slow as a slug. A reminder to athletes that not every day you will feel amazing! And female hormone changes throughout the month can play a part in this.. Into the last week and I backed it off a little, I’d been doing 50km weeks along with my other training, with the longest run being an hour-ish. But leading into the last week we had a 24km ‘Pub to Pub’ Run – where a group of local runners would run from one town pub to the next town pub. I knew I hadn’t trained for the distance, but I was banking on the run kms in my legs carrying me through and that they did! I felt awesome the whole run and finished feeling strong, in control and ticking along at a nice pace! So another reminder to athletes that you don’t have to train for a specific distance to be able to do the specific distance well. If you have consistency and that general base fitness, you look after your body and recover well, you will be able to complete a challenge over and above what you have been training for. So don’t ever be too scared to take on a challenge ! But in saying that, my legs pulled up rubbish after this run! I could barely walk! lol So even though I managed the run well, my muscles definitely weren’t ultra conditioned for it, so I hobbled through the last 3 days of the challenge completing run/walk recovery runs. Job done though! ;-p

Onto the 10min of daily ‘me’ time. Call it mindfulness time if you wish. It was time where I could just take 10min to myself – that DIDN’T include using a device! I used a variety of options over the month including reading a book, sitting in the sun eating my lunch, taking a small walk, having a bath, sitting on the river after a run and just listening, feeling and being in the moment. Honestly, I really enjoyed this small amount of time each day of simply just being present. BUT at the same time I really found it a challenge to make it a priority. For someone who is naturally a ‘giver’ I found it tough to take back and give to myself. Note to self, must continue with this and continue to make it a priority!….

Moral of the story – consistency is ALWYAS key. It doesn’t have to be every day. But stay consistent in your approach and it will get easier, you will improve and you will reap the rewards… The whole idea for implementing the Motivate in May Challenge for our crew was to first motivate them into action, but then showing them that it is the discipline and the commitment to the goal that will carry you through to the end.

And I am pleased to say, our whole team did such an amazing job, physically, mentally and emotionally reaping the benefits that will carry them through into the coming season. So we are already one step ahead!

Until our next challenge….. 🙂

Here’s a little snippet of the fun everyone got up to !

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