4 time gold medalist swimmer 1976 Olympic Games.
There are two reasons to train. The first is to accomplish a particular result (break a personal record, win a gold medal, earn a scholarship). The other is a bit more nebulous: it is to experience the joy of your body in motion; essentially training as its own reward. When I competed as an athlete, I mainly focused on the first reason. I watched the clock and counted the miles and planned for the future. Now that I am a bit older, I have “morphed” into the second category, where swimming in the sunlight, watching myself glide effortlessly across the water’s surface is a reward in itself. I feel better for having swum, regardless of whether I am improving. I suppose the most powerful motivation might be a combination of the two motives, where you enjoy the process, but also have an ending result in mind. Give it a try all three ways. Go workout today and keep your eyes and ears open to the experience itself. Is it fun? Are you glad to be here? Do you feel good afterwards? Then, in your next workout, focus on measurable results. Are you pushing your limits? Are you doing something you’ve never done before? Are you beating people who used to beat you? On the third day, try to combine the two feelings, by both “being in the now”, and “looking to the future”. Which of the three workouts gave you the greatest reward?
In the Olympic Spirit!