Motivation! My levels of motivation are constantly in flux, sometimes I am so motivated that I tend to overtrain. Whilst, when things are not going so well I struggle to motivate myself to run out the door. I suspect most of you can identify with this! So I have drawn up a list of motivators that I use or think about when I am trying to get myself out of the door.
Running Buddies have been key in my motivation. I have two friends that I go running with, one started the couch to 5K with me and the other is a seasoned runner, in fact a marathoner! There has been much research done on what makes a good running buddy.
However for me one of my running buddies drives my training and motivates me to improve and do better. The other motivates me to go for a run and keep me running! For me I think I have the best of both worlds but I personally don’t think all buddies are equal – I think it is dependent on your needs.
I have friends who have moved away from aiming for distances as they know they can complete them. There are others who aim for beating their previous time on a 5K, a new personal record. Maybe when I am further along my running journey, I may need to add a new dimension to my training and perhaps a different running buddy to help me achieve that personal record. So I guess what I am trying to say is that your motivational running buddy will depend on what you are trying to achieve either physically or mentally – they need to be a good fit!
Online forums, I am a massive fan of them. A place where like minded people can share and support each other. Particularly good when your running buddies are not available and you need some inspiration, motivation or just plain advice. I belong to a couple and I have found the online communities a safe place to air your inner most concerns as no-one knows you and you are not likely to meet them!
I belong to a Facebook group called On the Wagon which is a health and wellbeing page ultimately. George Anderson the founder, is a runner, and has written running training programmes such as beginners luck. Despite being a heath and well being site, there are a lot of runners on this site.
The forum gets used in a number of ways to provide motivation such as a photo of the rain pounding down with a caption do I go running in this? Immediately members of the group start answering with images of the run they were on or had been on, in the rain. Stating, how much fun it was and encouraging them to take the plunge. Each member gives or takes from the group what they want or need.
I get inspired by how the members are genuinely supportive and how they celebrate each other’s wins and commiserate losses but are their with advice and a “do not give up” followed by their story for motivation to carry on.
One member wrote I cannot seem to find the motivation today, totally fallen of the Wagon. Within minutes there were messages of support and inspiration to help them get straight back on that Wagon.
George uploads topical video’s, pretty regularly, which motivate and inspire and is ever present and responsive to posts. Sometimes he will pick out some key comment and do a post on that alone.
I would highly recommend this as a source of motivation it has definitely kept me going and inspired. So for me forums are a must!
New kit there is nothing quite like it! Now I was born a shopaholic and I am definitely a magpie when it comes to shiny new things no matter what they are. However, Sportswear was definitely not on that list. Going into a sports shop used to fill me with dread. Whether male or female who wants to be seen in lycra, right?
Well, now I get more excited about buying sportswear than any other item of clothing. What can I say I am a changed women and I definitely think an alien has taken over my body.
I enjoy taking the time to ponder the latest selection of sportswear or sports tech, before making my purchase and rushing home with it. All the way home I am itching to try out whatever bit of kit or tech I have bought. I do think I run a bit better when I have new kit because of course it has super powers, doesn’t it? Plus I have got to make buying that kit worthwhile. I mean if you have paid the money, you need to prove that it was a necessity, and the only way to do that is run. So without doubt new kit is a massive motivator in my book. My Garmin certainly did the trick, as did my trainers.
Body adaptations, the more I have run the more my shape has changed. I have, lost weight and developed this strange thing called muscle. OK, I may not have hugely defined muscles but there is most certainly definition on its way. Your body getting leaner and fitter is an amazing motivator. Especially when it’s all happening without me having to be on some awful make you miserable diet.
I will never forget the moment where sitting with my legs crossed I went to adjust my skirt and thought what’s that lump on my knee? It was a knee bone that sat proudly, no longer covered in a pudgy layer of fat!! Something seemingly so insignificant to others was massive for me. It was a reminder of what I am doing, why I am doing it and the reward I was getting for it. This most definitely made me want to go out for a run immediately, who knew a knee bone could motivate!
The weather, is a very British, much loved, topic of conversation and no more so than with regard to running. I have celebrated and bemoaned the weather in equal measure so here is my breakdown of the weather and motivators for even the worse days.
Wind running against you means you have worked harder so even more satisfying when you complete the run. Feeling the burn means more calories and a leaner fitter body, that is definitely not something to moan about.
Wind behind you is giving you a helping hand – so great if your wanting an easier run…..honest!
You don’t overheat and I am sure it helps with hydration! Running in the rain makes me feel like a child again. I can almost hear my mother saying, ‘come out of the rain you silly child’. Also, I always feel like a ‘proper’ runner if the rain has not stopped me going out. I have always thought of those running out in the rain, serious about training and fitness!
Again you get to wear lovely layers and wrap up. It’s lovely and quiet so you have the footpaths to your self and again I generally feel hardcore if I run when its cold. The bath when you get home is heavenly and soothes those aching muscles.
I have yet to experience this but I imagine I will like the sound of crunching underfoot and the magic of it all.
There is nothing quite like running on a sunny day. The sun beating down on you – yes it’s hot, yes you sweat but you cannot help but enjoy it.
Time of day is a real motivator and a real deal breaker for me..
I am not a morning person and certainly not early morning. I have run once with my running buddy at 6am. My body was screaming what the hell are you doing to me?? I Found out unsurprisingly, and very early on, that I am not a morning runner I am most definitely an evening runner.
So I learned that in order to stay motivated I needed my running to be timed with my natural circadian rhythm. Otherwise quite frankly I would not make it past month one! So definitely need to find a running time that works with you not against you.
Non runners can be really strong motivation to run and not necessarily for the reasons you may think. You see, there is something seriously addictive to being the fit one. When your friends or colleagues are saying “What your running home after work?, you must be mad” “I don’t know where you find the time or the energy” “you go girl, wish I had half the energy you have”. “You ran how far?”. Turning your identity around from being the couch potato, to that person you said you hated, but secretly admired for being ‘fit’ is kind of addictive! It makes you want to live up to their expectations of you and confirm their opinion that yes I am one of those exercise bunnies I always thought I would never be!!
Don’t mistake this for the friends who give you a pat on the back because they know how hard you have worked. One is about being seen to have a new identity the other is having your hard work recognised and congratulated. In one you are the fit bunny and in the other your still trying to be.
Once you are recognised for being a fit bunny you begin to accept and admit your identity has changed from couch potato to fitness slave and what a psychological high that gives you. You absolutely have no intention of going backwards so if that is not motivation what is!
Stress can be your biggest motivator to run. We all have those days when you have had your buttons pushed and your really frustrated, annoyed, angry, stressed. You have kept all this emotion locked up and on the down low so as not to commit murder at work. You get home, take it out on your partner, the cat, or some poor unsuspecting inanimate object. You start on the wine, cigarettes, chocolate and any other vice I can lay my hands on.
Well low and behold I have found running grounds me and calms me. I literally run my stress off, alright maybe not completely but mostly. Running seems to take the energy out of it. Running is like meditation. Concentrating on pounding your feet on the ground is akin to stamping your feet as a child to release that pent up energy.
When I get home I am at least partially de-stressed and not swinging from the lampshades. I generally enjoy my evening better and sleep better. Running also gives me the opportunity to think things through enabling me to gain perspective…….never a bad thing!
I think all of the reasons above are more than enough to help motivate me to get out the door.
What are your motivators? Feel free to leave me a comment.