Every time I see an article that says “running motivation tips and tricks” I immediately start reading it. I’ve read countless articles like this. I appreciate what they have to say, I really do. The advice is quality but doesn’t always address my motivational dilemmas.
Most of the authors seem to be people who can’t sit still. Me? More than capable! Or it seems the days they aren’t motivated are few and far between. I seem to struggle with the motivation to get up and get out more often. So, I decided to write a piece myself. Perhaps it might resonate with you too. I can’t be the only person out there who needs a slightly different take on the “how to go for a run (work out) when you really don’t want to” … at least I hope not.
Problem #1: The couch is too comfy. The thing of it is, I can be lazy when it comes time to working out (as you might’ve guess by the title!). Once I get too cozy, all bets are off and there is a higher chance of me staying where I’m at rather than hitting the streets in my trainers.
The Fix: I hate to say it, but I can’t sit down when I get home. I have to change into my work out clothes immediately and can’t do any of the “I’m going to sit for a moment” business. Don’t sit down! Ride the wave of adrenaline from getting home from work (or wherever), or the alarm clock, do the little things that need to be done, change, and get out the door. As fast as possible. Before the couch’s siren calls or the snooze button become too loud and convincing!
Problem #2: Sabotaging my workout time. There are way too many times where I’ve decided on a time for a run when deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit it into my schedule. I’ve picked a time during a really busy day when I knew it was going to be massively crunched and it could be sacrificed. But I felt all noble & accomplished that I was planning for it. When it doesn’t happen, because my timetable was ridiculous, I get down on myself for not making the workout happen. At the same time I can blame not going on not having enough time. Built in excuse that isn’t based on being a lazy buns!
The Fix: There are going to be days when a run simply can’t happen. I need to be honest with myself regarding these days. This is the way of training. BUT some time management needs to happen here. I can keep the days where my agenda items are stacked miles high to a minimum by planning ahead. This means doing as much prep for the day as possible and looking for more efficient routes to accomplish tasks <— a constant work in progress. I know people suggest scheduling a work out time and viewing it as an appt you can’t possibly miss. My brain is onto this game though, and if we are on the same wave length, so is yours. This is where getting out the door by sheer force of grit and will come into play until it becomes more habitual.
Problem #3: Overhyping the start of training. This is a classic motivation killer because it becomes this MASSIVE event. I recognize some suggest to announce your training start date to the world to garner support. However, for procrastinators like myself, it turns the start date into a scary impending opportunity for defeat. Suddenly there is this monumental task sitting there and it’s much easier to shy away then risk falling flat on my face in front of an audience.
The Fix: Don’t make the sweeping announcement. Pretty simple, yeah? I do want to share with the world, but these declarations can too overwhelming. An element of procrastination is fear of failure, so the build up can be too much. Begin training and get a more established routine down, & then yell it from the rooftops! I’ve done it both ways, and when I went ahead and waited until I was a couple of weeks into my training to spread the good news, I still got support and it was of the “keep up the great work” variety. When I declared my start date, I got lots of “good lucks!” which are just as nice, of course, although the latter works better for me.
Problem #4: Getting frustrated & losing focus. This runs parallel to my conundrum of setting my expectations too high. Train for a marathon in 6 weeks when my running fitness is in the gutter? Of course I can! I tend to get frustrated when I don’t make progress as quick as I want or expect of myself. This is a common theme in every area of my life, so it naturally carries over to my running. Hope is a wonderful thing, nevertheless, when it comes to expecting our bodies to perform physical miracles they aren’t possibly prepped for, they rebel. In all kinds of painful ways! With regards to losing focus, marathon training seems to last FOR-E-VER, so what is one missed run here or there? Most likely nothing terrible, but for us motivationally challenged folk, the “here or there” can derail a great established routine quickly.
The Fix: Take a good look at the expectations. Expectations really do get us in trouble – I find we tend to either set them too high or too low without taking all of variables into consideration. Not to mention, the need to check the good ol’ ego. Any type of training takes hard work, and focusing on small chunks at a time helps turn goals into realities. The frustration piece … well, this could just be me. I don’t mind hard work but I want results entirely too quickly. I’m a bit ridiculous! I also need to remind myself, A LOT, of just how easy it is for me to slip back into the cushy bad habits and crush those “it won’t be so bad” thoughts with a stomp from my Brooks.
I’m hoping I’m not the only person who struggles with motivation and isn’t always helped by the pearls of wisdom that are commonly offered. Again, I don’t think the advice is bad and I do utilize it, nonetheless, the above tips are what I fall back to when I’m in need of that boost. I love running, I really do. I love the feeling of a healthy routine of running when I get home from work. Not to mention giving myself multiple high-fives when I’m done working out and all cleaned up from a good sweat session. Getting started though … or fighting exhaustion after a long day … or simply a “I don’t wanna” can jeopardize success and be a challenge to fight.
Oh, and watch some inspirational running documentaries. I love the one about the Barkley Marathons – these are always really helpful in the motivational category!