From the Baja Divide to the Iditarod Invitational- How An Ultra Cyclist Stays Motivated & Prevents Burning Out
“In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what your result is. If you finish with a smile on your face and still love what you are doing, then you have won!”-Miron Golfman
Last month, on January 11th, I completed a successful ‘Fastest Known Time’ of the Baja Divide bike-packing route. I am now preparing to compete in the bicycle category of the Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) 350 starting February 27th. With only six weeks between events, I have been challenged to not only find balance in recovery and training, but also to maintain motivation and not become burnt out.
Feeling the Drive Before a Big Event
Having a clear goal that you are working towards is the best! The anticipation and excitement that comes leading up to a big event makes training and pushing yourself easy.
In the months and weeks leading up to Baja, I was so driven—I got up early every morning, was diligent in my stretching and strength routine, and followed that up with multiple hours on the bike, (all before work), and I loved it!
Read More about Miron’s Epic journey along the Baja Divide on Bikepacking.com!
Riding the High of Success
Then it happened. I was successful—everything I had been dreaming of and working toward came to fruition. I had an amazing ride, set a new speed record, and most satisfying of all, the ‘Ride To Endure’ project was successful in raising $50,000 in the fight against ALS. Returning home I felt on top of the world.
Accepting the Inevitable Slump
Coming back to Alaska and settling back into daily life has been hard. I have had moments of feeling lonely while also desperately wanting to feel that addictive high I felt at the completion of my ride. Giving my body time to recover can be mentally taxing. It’s so easy to be hard on myself when I start feeling lazy and unmotivated.
After two weeks I began to slowly start training again and transitioning towards preparing for the ITI. I was motivated for about a week but quickly found myself burnt out and overwhelmed thinking about tackling another big event. Naturally, my body was still fatigued from Baja, leading me to be frustrated with how hard it was most days to motivate even for the simplest of training exercises.
Leaning Into the Love
Maintaining the love is everything when it comes to sustaining my athletic career. The question of “why am I doing this” often comes up when I am training like it’s my job, especially when I spend eight additional hours a day at my paid workplace. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that all of this started out of a deep love of the sport and a desire to see how far I could push myself.
So what does this mean in practice?
Well, some days I don’t train. Sometimes when I wake up and my body is screaming for more sleep, I hit the snooze button instead of going for a morning ride. Sometimes when I’m having a hard day I prioritize going to see a friend over going to the gym. Ultimately, if you lose the spark of love for what you are doing, then what’s the point? In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what your result is. If you finish with a smile on your face and still love what you are doing, then you have won! Training at a high level, or any level is no fairytale; some days are going to suck. But if you can be kind to yourself on those sucky days, you’re more likely to find yourself back at loving what it is you’re doing sooner rather than later.
By: Miron Golfman
Runners’ Edge Athlete Ambassador
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