There seems to be a common theme on blogs regarding motivation. More specifically, the lack of motivation.
I believe most people have the best intentions to commit to a running plan; however at times, they still can’t get off the couch. Perhaps the daily grind of life is prohibiting them from finding the energy, which leads to making excuses and then blaming or being hard on themselves for not going.
With all things in life, running included, I cannot give a formula to encourage another person to run. Unfortunately, there isn’t a special motivation pill. We are not the same, and what may motivate me, may not motivate another.
Perhaps you are someone who needs to have an exercise journal to measure your progress as a means to motivate yourself. For some, maybe they need a trainer to kick them out of bed. For others, perhaps they just need a good jolt of coffee and they are out the door.
The Run a Weigh blogger complained that her school schedule was getting the best of her, and that trying to fit in a run was impossible due to her energy levels. I suggested, since knowing her education was a priority and she loves getting high grades, that perhaps she try thinking of her scheduled run as a class. Getting out there, and showing up for a run, she gets an A. No run, no A. Apparently this did the trick. I won’t take credit here though….she really did it herself. Despite her low energy and other commitments, she found a way to motivate herself to get out the door.
How do I motivate myself?
It can be difficult to get out the door. I’m not immune to giving myself excuses not to run. I tend to beat myself up when I lack the motivation. It’s not uncommon for me to say things to myself like, “You idiot, put on your running clothes”. “During the amount of time you sat here procrastinating, you could have been done by now”. “Fool. Do you want to crawl to the finish line or finish strong?”. The list of things I say to myself is endless. Ultimately, I get the gear on and go. I try not to think about it when I start to prepare for my run. I just do it. And always, 100% of the time, I feel better afterwards and think to myself, “Now, that wasn’t that bad, was it?”.
Perhaps some just need to ask, “Why do I run?” and that’s motivation enough to get out the door. Is it to PB on an upcoming race? To feel better about yourself? To accomplish a goal like running your first race? Perhaps it’s for the bling or crossing the finish line. Do you do it to stay healthy for yourself and your family? Perhaps you want to run to encourage your kids to exercise. Is it the fresh air and the outdoors that you love? Is it an outlet to control stress levels throughout the week? Maybe it’s to enjoy the alone time. We have different reasons to run.
Equally important is to stay away from the negative. If you say you can’t. You won’t. I didn’t sign up for the Goofy Challenge in 2010 believing I couldn’t finish the race. I didn’t train from September to December, putting miles upon miles on my feet, saying…”Silly girl, you can’t run a half marathon and a full marathon back-to-back!” Throughout my training, I had to reinforce to myself, that “Yes, I can do this!”. I had to visualize myself running the race and achieving my goal. Otherwise, I would not have succeeded.
Also, Don’t beat yourself up. If you have a lousy run, ask yourself why and build from that experience. Brush it off. Learn through your mistakes, and continue on your running journey. Use the mistakes to help guide you and to motivate you to improve.
Celebrate your mini triumphs. If you ran extra hard one day, congratulate yourself. If you increased your mileage and ran farther than you ever had, give yourself a pat on the back. I would even say, give yourself a treat every now and again, to recognize your achievements.
Find inspiration from friends, co-workers, running partners, other bloggers or perhaps it’s by reading a good book or watching a movie. There is inspiration beaming from everywhere if we look towards finding it.
We all have our good days and our bad days. Treat running as your friend. I truly believe running and all things running related, is a journey; Perhaps just one goal for many, or endless goals for others. Find the motivation that lies beneath the sweat, or the paths in which you run. Enjoy the ride.
How do you stay motivated?