Setting a micro goal can boost motivation and provide a focus for the period ahead. During the off-season it is helpful to set micro goals to stay on track with training. An example: RED Challenge run every day for a month to boost motivation and enthusiasm. By the end of the micro goal you will have re-enforced your drivers of motivation as well as learnt a few things along the way.
In the spirit of being a coach and an athlete I set myself and co-opted my brother in Australia the RED Challenge in November 2023. We learnt a lot during the month and some key takeaway points that you as a coach or athlete can use for setting your own micro-challenge for the months ahead when motivation has dipped. Some tips on setting a micro challenge:
Setting a micro challenge that is time bound (e.g. a 2 weeks or 1 month) means that after a few days you become more interested as your become more invested over the block. After 10 days your incentive to complete increases as you are now 10 days invested. By the end of the time period the motivation to complete the challenge is easier as you are already fully invested in the challenge.
Keep it simple; remove constraints like pace, speed, power, heart rate, distance. The challenge is the completion for the whole duration not the matching of a metric in one single session.
Share the challenge with family and friends, get others involved. Knowing there are family and friends sharing the journey makes it far more fun. Being accountable to another person adds motivation for some. Waking up each morning to see my brother in Perth Australia had completed his daily run gave me that motivation to continue to get mine done that day. Thanks Alex.
I crafted a RED run every day November training plan in TrainingPeaks with descriptions for each day and whilst they may not have lined up on that specific date, they helped give each run a personality and a persona. For example; simply focussing on smiling during a run can change the experience of the session.
One of the hardest parts of a month long challenge are not the cumulative physical fatigue but the scheduling of the activity during a busy day. Including night runs and super short runs can help to stay on track.
Surprise your future self
Interestingly, for every athlete who has done a similar micro-challenge they have reported back that they surprised themselves by not choosing the easy option every day. Why choose to run a hilly 10km on tired legs when you could run a flat 5km? My interpretation is we like the challenge and often actively choose the hard option.
Completing the challenge has re-awakened my love for the simplicity of running, even in the cold and wet of November and will kick start my December training with a focus on the next micro goal.
Set yourself a micro challenge some ideas to help:
- Yoga Every Day for 28 days
- Activity every day for a month
- Ride (indoor/outdoor) every day
- 10mins of meditation every day
- Train with a new person each week
- Ride an MTB on your Zwift races
Best of luck and if you would like any help setting your own micro goal then please do not hesitate to get in contact. I am now off for my last run whilst it has started snowing 30th November 2023!