Ahhh yes, Motivation with a CAPITAL “M”. It’s a toughie. Everyone wants more of it and we’re all trying to find ways to get it. We have all of these things we want to do–but often lack the motivation to actually see them through.
[Disclaimer: I do not claim to have all the answers. If I knew the secret to finding motivation, I wouldn't spend the occasional Saturday in my PJs, eating cookies, and watching movies in bed until 9 pm. So... there's that.]
When it comes to running, the motivation to be consistent and potentially improve on race times has to come from within. I think it’s important to know why you want to run. Unless you’re running for your life, you’ve likely made the decision to “become a runner” on your own. Spend some time thinking about what running does for you or how it makes you feel. Personally, I run for many different reasons:
- to feel confident in my abilities
- to feel STRONG.
- to grow and learn from the good times & the bad.
- to move (we spend too much time sitting on our butts these days)
- to test myself.
- to explore new places.
- to meditate and relax.
- to meet new people and learn from them.
- to feel exhilarated (and to feel pain)
- to eat Nutella and pretzel sticks as a reward
I could go on and on. When I was younger, I ran because I was on a cross country or track team. I ran however fast or slow the coaches told me to. I went through the motions and happened to be somewhat successful. I didn’t really know why I was there. Sure, my friends were involved and I liked being part of the team. But running didn’t become a personal passion for me until after I graduated college. I was in that weird post-graduate limbo where you don’t know what you want to do with your life, who to reach out to for help, or how to stop freaking out over things you can’t control.
So, one day I laced up my shoes and I decided I’d go for a run. I had to get out of the apartment and relieve the stress of searching for a full-time job somehow. I needed something to look forward to (other than “we’re not interested” letters or an empty email inbox), so I signed up for my first half marathon. I put the race on my calendar and followed my ‘countdown calendar’ to race day.
I didn’t consider myself strong, but I knew that I would get stronger. I didn’t consider myself a runner but I told myself that I would be once I finished the half marathon. I didn’t have a coach, but I trusted in training plans that I found online and asked others what worked for them. The details didn’t matter, as long as I just put those shoes on and started moving.
Now, I know why I run. I’m not motivated by appearance, but how running makes me feel.
If I feel strong, I feel happy. And happy is wonderful.
The hardest part of running is just showing up. Once you “show up” to run (mentally and physically), you will discover why you run and be more motivated to make yourself strong and happy.
How do you find the motivation to run?