Motivating yourself to train hard: Dame Sarah Storey blog

When you are “hitting the wall” so to speak, but you know you have to push on through, what is it you think of to get you to focus and get through the pain?

This month’s subject is an interesting one. As we get into better weather and you are increasing your training and workload, your body will be coping with more training, but you will be able to push yourself harder.

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So, dealing with the pain of effort is something to be focused on. I have listed six ways in which I deal with it and you can adapt these to assist you in reaching your goal:

Depending on the situation if find myself in, I focus on:

1. I use this as motivation in training. When the going is getting tough, I tell myself that my rivals won’t be pushing that hard so I will be gaining an advantage.

2. The journey to your big goal may involve some other build up races or some key days in training. So In a less important race or training, I think about how pushing on will benefit the big goal for the year. Last year each training session or race was all about the big goal of London 2012. Each moment of dealing with getting through the pain barrier was all about winning in London.

3. In racing you can find yourself in different circumstances. Sometimes I will be riding purely for my teammates so I will focus on how me hurting will help another rider achieve a result. Or simply, I may have to suffer to win an event and the joy at the end makes it all worthwhile!

4. One other way I deal with the pain is to think about how much good it is doing me physically. You could liken it to topping up money in the bank ready for race day, so you have more reserves to spend when you need it.

5. This is an odd one, but I do think often how much I actually enjoy the pain!

6. Ultimately as athletes we are working towards goals and ambitions that are exciting opportunities and will give us the chance to prove ourselves as athletes. It doesn’t have to be a goal of World Champs or Olympic/Paralympic Games, just the chance to improve physically as a cyclist and beat your own previous best is at the heart of every athletes personal motivation. Having that intrinsic motivation is a very powerful tool and will help you in all areas of your life not just sporting challenges.

I hope you are building well towards your 2013 challenge, dont forget to link these tips with the ones I gave you on cadence and nutrition.

Have a good month and I look forward to giving you more tips next time!


Dame Sarah Storey is the ambassador for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Series. Etape Mercia ( and Etape Pennines ( are still open for entries and there are a limited amount of free places available in both events if you pledge to raise £250 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Previous blogs by Dame Sarah Storey

What to eat and drink

Increasing your pedalling speed