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?


39 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. What motivates me the most is how I’ll feel after a run. Running makes me eat better and sleep better, so I just feel good all the time. I know I’ll feel crappy if I don’t keep it up. That kind of keeps me going.

  2. Great post! I used to have those inner conversations quite a bit and then I figured out that if I just put on my running clothes with no other obligation, just the act of doing it would get me out the door. It was like once I put on the running duds, I became my alter running ego that just wanted to move. I am happy to say that I have been doing it long enough now to where it has become a habit to the point where the process is automatic. I find another thing that really works is running with a group. If everyone knows you are coming, it keeps you accountable to the group.

  3. This is another amazing post! It is definitely a topic that many people are talking about now…and with the upcoming winter months they tend to make more excuses! I don’t even think about my runs each day. It is automatic. I get up first thing in the morning, put on my running clothes and shoes and get moving! Simple as that. I don’t stop to think about anything else. My day doesn’t start until after I am done running! It’s like my coffee in the morning! 🙂

  4. I remind myself on how far I have come and also remind myself that at any time I can be one excuse away from the road to inactivity or one session away from the path of wellness…and that it is my choice not circumstance that decides…

  5. This was like reading my journal. I like your thinking. 🙂 I do a lot of the same things to get myself moving. Don’t think about it – just get that gear on and go. Something about being dressed to go makes it a must. I’ve also found it to be better NOT to sit down after work, as that’s when I have the most difficulty in getting up. The hardest step is the first one out the door.

  6. I also spent most of my time trying to convince myself to run. Like you I’m always like, ‘see! it wasn’t that bad, now was it?!’. I often wonder why I do kick my heels because I normally feel fantastic the instant I get out there!

  7. Wonderful post! I hope you don’t mind if I reblog it. My entire life I have struggled with weight loss and exercise. I always got caught up in the “I’m going to do this to lose weight.” or “I’m going to do this because I should.” or any number of other “short term reasons” The big change for me happened 8 months ago when I finally realized NOT to look at any short term “reasons” to do this and ACCEPT this MUST just become part of my lifestyle; permanently! While I do use these things as a goal, I just have made the changes part of my life (like working) that I must do. In these last 8 months I have lost over 60 lbs and can now run 4 miles non-stop (Ok don’t laigh I am new to running LOL) Runing is now just part of who I am and what I do.

  8. I love running, so most of the time it’s easy(ish) to get out the door. Other forms of exercise? I’d totally procrastinate. So for me, it was finding the form of exercise that I love so that it wasn’t a chore.

  9. This is great advice – and it came a the perfect time for me. I didn’t have my running partner to motivate me last night, so I didn’t run and in turn, I felt guilty and cranky. Now I realize that when I put in the time, I feel better physically and mentally and the hard work is always worth it! Thanks for this pep talk 🙂

  10. This is a great post. While sometimes my schedule gets the best of me, like the blogger you mentioned, my biggest thing is to not beat myself up over one missed workout. I just get back on track when I can and go from there. It’s also been hard for me to recognize that not every workout that I do needs to be running. In fact, my body can’t handle it more than a few times a week, but I can continue to build my cardio, and incorporate more strength to improve my running anyway!

  11. Great post. I get up and put my workout clothes on, have my coffee while making lunch and then it’s out the door. Where I get side tracked if I fall out of ‘routine’. I have also found that running in the morning is the best time for me. No excuses not to go because I know that no one needs me at 5:30am. Our cats have been fed and all is good to go.

    • Having 3 cats of my own, I know how important it is to get them fed in the morning. Hee, hee…I think my one has an internal clock. He knows when it’s 6am and 5pm. If he hasn’t been fed, he finds me. Happy Running.

      • Your 3 sounds like our two. One of ours will bat at the metal blinds and let us know we need to get up. The other one will walk around the bed crying or paw at the covers letting me know they need to be pulled back so I get out of bed. ha. Happy running to you too! Enjoy your weekend.

  12. Since I am just learning to run, I found myself a jogging buddy who has run marathons in the past. We meet 3 times a week in the evenings, and even though I have to push two of my kids in a stroller and keep an eye on the third one on his bike, I HAVE TO meet her at the jogging path! She knows when I can push through and when I need to take a break, and how to motivate me to run just a few feet farther than I think I can. There is NO WAY I would be doing this on my own, I would be feeling sorry for myself and saying I’ll do it tomorrow if my husband can watch my kids.
    PLUS, I have found that I really really like jogging, but only after I’m done, ha ha!! 🙂
    I love this post, thanks for the great ideas!!

  13. One of my favorite quotes ““People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

    I stay motivated by having a goal and a plan to reach the goal. Each step along the way is a small success to celebrate and who doesn’t like an excuse to celebrate?

  14. Great post! I can relate to so much of it. I use all kinds of methods to motivate myself and I find that just putting my workout clothes ON can spark something inside me that gets my butt in gear. Once I’m out there though, its so healing and energizing. Almost like my personal therapy! Running changed my life dramatically and I hope I keep running and racing for the rest of my life 🙂

  15. My friend forwarded this on to me and it has come at the perfect time. I have been doing really well with my workouts but have started to lack a bit of internal motivation and I have really enjoyed reading this! THANK YOU!

  16. Even on the days when I really, really, REALLY don’t want to go out – whether it’s running, on the ice, or dryland training – I force myself to get up and get moving by promising myself that after 15 minutes, if I still don’t want to do it, I’ll stop. But the truth is, once I’m up and out, I finish because and always feel better for having done it.

  17. My scale is a pretty good motivator! I have to run first thing in the a.m. I go to the bus stop with the kids in my workout gear ready to run. If I go back home first, there are too many distractions and I never get out there.

  18. Well said. What makes me want to run or go for a walk is so that I can process all my thoughts, since I’m a haaaaaard thinker, i over analyze and think too much, i think? but it calms me down going for a walk, i’d rather go running but yeah u know….., i put my earphones in. i feel so good afterwards. i can’t believe im so motivated atm, before i had none! i always wished for motivation. i guess it came with giving birth to my daughter 🙂 I wasn’t going to keep those pregnancy kilos, hehe!

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