Paddling with partners—one of the best ways to stay motivated. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

Training Tips: A Solution to Staying Motivated

The snooze button. Along with work, spouse, kids, friends, (insert staple life priority here), it’s among the biggest obstacles between you and exercise. You’re cozy in bed and your alarm sounds. You crack an eye and look out the window. It looks dark. It looks cold. It looks like a lot of work. And so, you snooze. Hard fact: when it comes to staying fit, the snooze button can be the difference between failure and success.

You’re not alone. Paddlers are a busy breed, and whether its sleep, work, family—whatever—it seems there’s just not enough time in a day for that hour or two of self-improvement. Most people who are serious about staying in SUP shape don’t have time for training. They make it.

So what’s the secret to staying motivated? How does one make time? The answer is in accountability. To effectively and efficiently progress in training, we need to be accountable to more than just ourselves. Be it personal goals, friendly encouragement, training partners—anything that gets our engines revving—accountability is the supplement our willpower needs to consistently make exercise a priority. And at the same time, it actually makes fitness more fun. Here are a few of our suggested methods for keeping yourself accountable:

  • Sign up for a distance race. Nothing will get you out of bed like the fear that if you don’t paddle now, you’ll pay for it later. By committing yourself to a race that demands your enhanced fitness, you commit yourself not just to the desire to get in better shape, but the need. Choose a race that’s within reasonable reach and give yourself a few months to prepare. Those months will be spent analyzing, building and acting upon a fitness routine tailor-made for substantially increasing your fitness, hence better results. This accountability technique works especially well for those of us who plan to train a lot on our own: the pain or pleasure of what lies ahead is the motivating factor.
  • Join a paddle group. Do your research and find a local paddling group that suits your needs relative to your current ability and future goals. Something that will challenge you to improve without killing you in the process. Training with people who are more fit or experienced than yourself is a sure-fire way to dig deeper in yourself. And the heckling that comes with playing hooky from practice is an unparalleled motivator.
  • Grab a partner. Find a friend who is similarly interested in improving their fitness. If you can’t find one, convince one. Set a training schedule that fits you both and set weekly or monthly goals of improvement together. The one-on-one component of paddling or training with a partner makes the experience more personal and there may even be a bit of healthy competition involved. That’s a good thing. Here, you’re acting as each other’s accountability partner as well as spotter and comrade. Apathy becomes less of an option and motivation is a natural component. The luxury of drafting off one another is an added bonus.

More SUP health and fitness tips