Dispatch: Meredith Kessler’s Tips To Hurdle ‘The Hump’

Stuck in an exercise rut after the holidays? Here are some tips to get out of it, courtesy of pro Meredith Kessler.

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Admit it. You’re having a hard time finding your usual motivation for fitness following the holiday break. Maybe you’ve packed on a few cookie-fueled pounds and feel downright dreadful when you do try to exercise. Or perhaps you’re on the comeback trail post-injury, but still searching for your missing mojo.

Whatever’s holding you back from being your usual badass self, don’t fear — we all experience “the hump” at times. It’s an obstacle you’re sure to get over eventually, and the following tips, courtesy of seven-time Ironman champion and ever-positive pro Meredith Kessler, may be just the key to give you a kick start in the right direction.

Kessler says:

“Remind yourself what really drives you — how you capture your ‘get up and go’ and your gumption to excel in both life and sport. Whether it be family, fine wine, art, music, tasty cuisine, staying fit or trying to keep your youth by partaking in a competitive sport, it is vital to remember and nourish all the things that catapult you to the start line — every person and/or thing that enriches your life, and ultimately gets you to that glorious finish line as well.”

“Just like in a race, expect the unexpected. You’re likely to have what I call ‘WEB’ workouts (Why Even Bother!), where you’re not quite sure that there is any value. Add in what you are doing. They’re those ‘better than nothing’ moments. It is beyond normal to have WEB workouts, even when you’re in the best shape in the prime of your season. How you manage them (i.e. not letting them destroy you emotionally) is the true test of courage and belief. On the flip side, after some time away from proper training (whether from injury, vacation, holidays, etc.), your body may catch you off guard in a good way and gracefully say, ‘thank you!’ for the time you allowed it to heal, rebuild, recalibrate and marinate. Thus, while understandably feeling slower in your heart or breath, your legs, arms and aura may feel vibrant, recharged and ready to fire again! On days like this, you’ll probably think: Dang — maybe I should take more lighter recharge days here and there and really listen to my body so I can feel like this more often! Again, expect the unexpected — the good, the bad, the great and the ugly!”

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“Along with the aforementioned, it is also important to remember that ‘GCBU’ feeling in training and racing (Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable). What inspires me about GCBU is that I know it is in those raw, gentle, subtle moments of discomfort where the magic happens, where progress is made and where we become better athletes. The key is not being afraid of failing, especially when coming back into it all. Let yourself fail — it’s OK to do so! If you stay persistent, you’ll rise above and find that it will all come together. GCBU-ing will be worth it!”

“Instead of going back at it full throttle and alone, plan an epic (but fun-filled) day with your training partners who are also your friends off the course. Make your entry back into the groove a potpourri of things to look forward to with these people. It could be a swim session followed by coffee and breakfast, or an afternoon track session before meeting up with your spouse for a movie, a BBQ with the families, or a glass of wine at a wine bar before a date night for dinner. Or pop a weekend organized trail run or a group ride into your schedule. You don’t have to compete or ‘race’ in the event per se, but having it on the calendar gives you the motivation to complete the event. There is no better motivation than sharing the sport with others, and you’re sure to get out of bed at the crack of dawn when you know someone is counting on you to meet them for that early morning run! Let others inspire you — you won’t want to let anyone down who is counting on you to show up, and you’ll share the benefits of the teamwork this sport can foster.”

“What is paramount for me for extra ammunition is to put a small sticky note on my computer and refrigerator (places I know I will go to every day) that say maybe three to five words that remind me of current and long-standing goals — dreams and qualities I personally would like to emulate and embrace both as an athlete and as a human. Nothing dramatic or long-winded; they’re just simple keywords that showcase and capitalize where we have gone and where we want to be on the journey.”

“Finding momentum from these things will help you squash that motivation detour and get you back to doing what you love to do with as much gumption, tenacity, power and focus as you had prior to the holidays, injury or whatever was keeping you from maximizing your potential. Like anything in life, if you KCCO (Keep Calm, Carry On), grasp on to the power of positivity and do what makes you feel happy to get there, then you will high jump over that hump and it will be a long lost memory in no time.”

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