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Q&A about motivation and going the extra-mile with MBE and olympic athlete Rebecca Romero - ANSWERS BACK

(15 Posts)
LucilleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 07-Apr-14 13:41:48

Do you find it difficult to motivate yourself to go the extra mile and achieve your goals? Do you find you often start a new project with positive energy and determination but soon find you've lost motivation and moved on to something else?

This week we're running a Q&A with Rebecca Romero MBE and Energizer Brand Ambassador. Rebecca is the first British athlete and second woman in history to win Olympic medals in two different sports at the summer Olympic Games. She's also completed two Ironman challenges. This includes 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile run - phew. Rebecca finished her first full iron man in a time of 11 hours 10 minutes. This qualified Rebecca for the World Championships for her age group in Kona, Hawaii- the most prestigious Ironman event. She's about to embark on a new challenge as she's due to give birth to her first child in April - and is sure her determination will be put to the test once again.

Her multifaceted sporting backgrounds, long lasting energy and achievements make her the ideal candidate to offer advice on maintaining a positive mind set and staying motivated and energized, whether this is in sports, in work or just in your life generally.

Post your questions to Rebecca before Friday 25 April and we'll send over a selection and post up the answers the following week.

This Q&A is sponsored by Energizer Batteries.

EauRouge Wed 09-Apr-14 17:59:02

Hi Rebecca, nice to have you on Mumsnet.

I'm a runner and every so often I have a run that makes me want to chuck my running shoes in the bin when I get home. How do you pick yourself up if you have a training session that you're not happy with? Any tips?

Thanks smile

CMOTDibbler Thu 10-Apr-14 10:26:57

Hi Rebecca, I''m training for my first triathlon, and though the cycle and run elements are fine, I'm really struggling to get the swimming sorted. I just seem to get myself in a bit of a state in the 'pressure' of public swim - though OK in coaching sessions - and then my breathing goes to pot and I get so annoyed at myself. I can very easily do the distance in breaststroke, but want to turn in a respectable for age time grin

Any advice on ways to just keep going when you feel like its all not worth it as it will never get better?

beaufranked Sat 12-Apr-14 07:48:23

How do you get yourself out of a slump? I have cycles of doing well and training lots then illness or time pressures get in the way.

Also I'd love to do a tri trip abroad to motivate my training...any suggestions where's good to go?

Thanks! Going for a swim now...smile

Sleepysaurus Sun 13-Apr-14 22:41:05

Hi,

How have you found the changes to your body during pregnancy? Have you managed to keep the motivation to exercise and not over indulge? I found it difficult and even harder now my baby is 12 weeks old!

Any thoughts on maintaining motivation?

Thanks

bestbefore Thu 17-Apr-14 07:51:42

Rebecca - myself and a friend are definitely going to start running once the kids are back at school: how long do you think it will take till we start actually enjoying it? We're making ourselves now because we just can't run at all but think we should be able to run at least a short distance but I have tried before and finding the motivation to do something which isn't much fun is very hard.

Herecomesthesciencebint Fri 18-Apr-14 07:50:58

Hi Rebecca, found your story hugely inspirational and congrats on the pregnancy. Aside from get as much sleep as possible! What are your goals for the next few years? Will you try and return to high level sport?

pootlebug Tue 29-Apr-14 18:12:07

Dammit I've only just seen this - is it too late to post a question or two?

In a fit of enthusiasm I signed up for 2 Olympic and 2 sprint triathlons this summer. The only triathlons I've ever done before were super-sprint distances, 12 years ago, as I couldn't swim well at all so was limited to anything with 400m swim. I learnt to swim crawl at the end of October and that combined with my smallest child finally just about getting the hang of sleeping meant I felt ready for a fitness challenge!

Cycling is my weakest leg.....what advice would you give to help me strengthen my weedy legs and up the pace?

And what are your top tips for race day in a triathlon?

LucilleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-May-14 10:39:46

We now have the answers back from Rebecca and will be posting them up shortly. Thank you to everyone who took part in the Q&A.

RebeccaRomero Mon 12-May-14 10:51:32

EauRouge

Hi Rebecca, nice to have you on Mumsnet.

I'm a runner and every so often I have a run that makes me want to chuck my running shoes in the bin when I get home. How do you pick yourself up if you have a training session that you're not happy with? Any tips?

Thanks smile

I can completely relate to how you feel! Mostly, it's just about accepting that this kind of training session, every so often, is inevitable and not to allow yourself to get wound up by it. We are not robots, so sometimes it's just simply about doing it, going through the motions and moving on. Athletes tend to have a habit of taking the good days for granted but dwell on the not so good days. I always remind myself how I've learnt so much and done so much along the way. Those are the important bits. Yes your run today may not have been great but you have had plenty of great runs in the past and tomorrow is another day. Of course, it's about aspiring to produce the best performance within us and it's about searching for perfection in order to achieve it. But doing something well, and being able to go that extra mile is sometimes just simply about doing it.

Not just in sport but in everyday life we are writing a new story every time we walk through the door to embrace a new goal, challenge or race. We open ourselves up to a new opportunity to experience and to learn and in return it offers us a unique dose of emotions, scenarios and personal exploration from which we can grow. This is what picks me up in life as well as sport - being able to look deep inside and harness that positive energy.

RebeccaRomero Mon 12-May-14 10:56:07

CMOTDibbler

Hi Rebecca, I''m training for my first triathlon, and though the cycle and run elements are fine, I'm really struggling to get the swimming sorted. I just seem to get myself in a bit of a state in the 'pressure' of public swim - though OK in coaching sessions - and then my breathing goes to pot and I get so annoyed at myself. I can very easily do the distance in breaststroke, but want to turn in a respectable for age time grin

Any advice on ways to just keep going when you feel like its all not worth it as it will never get better?

When I first started I really feared the swim as I had exactly the same experience as you and thought I'd never be able to get through it. But I promise it does get better and it does get easier if you persevere at it. Knowing how important it is for me to get a good start to a race, I try to make sure I am as fully prepared and as full of positive energy for the swim as possible. This comes down not just to the physical swim training but also to the mental preparation and thinking positively.

While some people worry about being in the water for too long before the race actually starts I tend to prefer it and find it helped me settle in. Treading water and having to focus on conserving energy and keeping warm is a good distraction for me. Because I am more concerned about keeping myself afloat, I find I become more accustomed to the mass of bodies that builds around me and eventually become more relaxed.
My strategy is always to set off being very slow and deliberate, almost pretending I am moving in slow motion like an astronaut walking on the moon. This helps to counter balance the rush of adrenaline, keep my body calm and stop myself from over working. After a while your body starts to settle down and you feel more at ease.

Endurance and perseverance are vital, stay positive, it sounds like you are very nearly there. Learning a new skill is not easy and doesn't happen overnight. I would love to hear how your training goes and of course, having done many a triathlon myself I would be interested to know how it goes for you. Let me know via the Energizer Facebook page and good luck!

RebeccaRomero Mon 12-May-14 10:59:09

beaufranked

How do you get yourself out of a slump? I have cycles of doing well and training lots then illness or time pressures get in the way.

Also I'd love to do a tri trip abroad to motivate my training...any suggestions where's good to go?

Thanks! Going for a swim now...smile

One of the hardest things is managing training load with the pressures and time constraints of normal life. This often means that training can become inconsistent with good and bad cycles of performance. Despite doing everything we can to minimise the incidence of illness or injury, or lack of time, it's inevitable that we will hit a slump every so often. Sometimes the negativity we can create around ourselves can cause us to sit in this slump a bit longer than we should. So having positive energy is as important. Sometimes that's easier said than done though! We need to accept there are bad times and try and find the positive from them. In every negative there will always be a positive, even if it's just a learning experience which means you don't make the same mistake again, or a learning experience which enables you to spot a pattern of behaviour that leads to these slumps.

If you stay flexible you'll be less likely to set yourself up for frustration or failure. Reassessing your goals is an important part of this. Clever and pragmatic is often better than tough.

It's easy to get into a rut with your training, especially if you're spending too many days running the same route at the same pace. The solution is to plan a variety of training sessions a month in advance. Whether it's long runs, short runs, interval training, it will all help keep your positive energy up. With greater variety and a plan, each run will have a purpose and won't simply be a means of satisfying your training log. You'll soon feel fresher, stronger and faster.

Andalucia in Southern Spain run camps in the winter and spring while Lanzarote is also a good option. Tanja Slater also offers women only camps abroad: activetrainingworld.co.uk/news/2013/03/08/womens_tri_training_camps.

I'd love to hear how you get on and how you are harnessing your own positive energy! Let me know via the Energizer Facebook page.

RebeccaRomero Mon 12-May-14 11:01:32

Sleepysaurus

Hi,

How have you found the changes to your body during pregnancy? Have you managed to keep the motivation to exercise and not over indulge? I found it difficult and even harder now my baby is 12 weeks old!

Any thoughts on maintaining motivation?

Thanks

Naturally my body has changed and adapted during my pregnancy and it has just been a case of getting used to those changes. I think it's incredible what the human body can do physiologically. I have experienced the extremes of what my body can do as an athlete and now to experience it through full pregnancy has been fascinating. What I didn't do through my pregnancy was put pressure on myself to keep exercising or be super strict with my diet. I went with the flow and did what I felt like doing rather than felt I should be doing. I also adapted the type of frequency of exercising I did through the different phases of pregnancy to work with my body. And I didn't feel at all guilty when due to bad pelvic pain I did absolutely nothing in the last 6 weeks or when I over indulged a bit more than I should have! It's not a bad thing to let yourself go a bit (I certainly did) but I am now looking forward to being able to get back into some exercise routine and getting my body back to how I'd like it.

As an athlete, I think I will always have the motivation to exercise, even if at a more recreational level. But maintaining motivation is only possible if you have a reason for doing it. My motivation will be that exercise enables me to feel good about myself and feel confident. Especially now becoming a mother it's important to me to feel fit and healthy in order to maintain the energy levels that are needed to be on the go the whole time! Another means of motivation is that I want to integrate exercise and healthy eating as a routine way of life to set a good example for my children to follow. I can imagine how it's hard to find the motivation with a 12 week old baby, and I'm sure I will find it the same. My advice would be to try and get the momentum going as soon as you can because the longer you leave it the harder it will get. Start easy with small steps and build up so that it is manageable and enjoyable. That way, hopefully it won't become something that's a chore.

RebeccaRomero Mon 12-May-14 11:06:04

bestbefore

Rebecca - myself and a friend are definitely going to start running once the kids are back at school: how long do you think it will take till we start actually enjoying it? We're making ourselves now because we just can't run at all but think we should be able to run at least a short distance but I have tried before and finding the motivation to do something which isn't much fun is very hard.

When I stopped cycling in September 2012 I didn't do much exercise for a while. However after a month I decided that I really shouldn't let things slip too much so I decided I wanted to start trying to run. Running is a great way to keep fit, doesn't cost anything, is time efficient and can be done anywhere – perfect for a busy lifestyle.

At that point I'd had hardly done any running. When on the rowing team we would at random be made to go running. I was the worst in the team, it would be agony and my heart rate would be at maximum just shuffling along very slowly.

This time though I was going to do it properly. None of this thinking I was a fit athlete and should be able to churn out a 30 min threshold run just like that. I was going to take it incredibly slowly and build up steadily so I began with a very easy 10mins. At 10mins my knees were feeling it and when I stepped it up to 15min I had to stop and walk the last few minutes home. A few days later I tried again, I managed 15mins and only got pain just at the end. A few sessions keeping it at 15mins and it started to get easier so I pushed it out to 20mins. When 20mins was ok I’d look to extend it in small increments, always finding that I would go through the same scenario of stopping with pain, walking the rest, recovering for a few days and trying again.

It was a slow but controlled, sensible build-up of running to get my body accustomed to it and with a diligent stretching routine I gradually made progress and could focus on increasing the speed I was doing these short runs at and pushing myself to achieve that extra mile. It was just before Christmas that I hit the 40min marker. This was a massive breakthrough for me – I'd never run continuously for that long ever! I would suggest the same thing for you and your friend. Go out together which can help motivate and give you positive energy and give yourself small targets to start off with and work your way up to a longer lasting run. The hardest part is the beginning of starting something new, especially running which is hard! If you keep at it I promise it will get easier!

RebeccaRomero Mon 12-May-14 11:08:08

Herecomesthesciencebint

Hi Rebecca, found your story hugely inspirational and congrats on the pregnancy. Aside from get as much sleep as possible! What are your goals for the next few years? Will you try and return to high level sport?

I'm sure getting enough sleep will definitely be a goal of mine! Aside from that, my main goal for the next few years is to focus on integrating family and being a mother into daily life. It's something I haven't done before so I'm sure it will take a lot of learning, endurance and getting used to a new way of life, but equally something I am hugely excited and positive about.

Having set myself some big goals to achieve so far in life (starting a family being one of them) I'm quite looking forward to not being pushed by goals and challenges but instead just going with the flow of life.

For sure I will continue to exercise, but to what level I do not know. Sport and exercise has always been such a huge part of my life and something I always want to continue, however at this time I have no particular goals set as to what level this will be. I think honestly it all depends on the situation I am in and how I feel my sport fits. Right now it is taking a back seat, but that's not to say I won't return to high level sport in the future.

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