Five simple things you can do to improve and maintain your motivation to run.
Ever have the feeling that running hasn’t excited you on occasions? You may be a newbie runner or have been running for some time. Running has taught me to persevere and to bite the bullet many times to complete goals. But what if perseverance and being goal-oriented aren’t enough? I share with you what inspires me and keeps me going, stick to my training, continuing towards my goals and running.
- Read. You heard me right. Read a lot and not just any novel, news article or book. I find reading about others’ running stories and many recounts about their events is highly inspiring and motivating. Never mind the challenges, obstacles and hurt that they experienced that will scare any ordinary non-runner to cower in a corner. I mean read about the trials and tribulations and experience their same pains and joys. I find stories about their Journeys so motivating and inspiring. What I experience as a runner isn’t new and it is somehow comforting to read about others going through the same things and that if they were able to get through it, so can I.
- Attitude. Adopt the correct attitude. Nothing great and enduring was ever created with a bad attitude. Build on a positive outlook on your life; I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason and these only serve to make you a better person. Your attitude to running will take you far. As you’re following your training plan and it may call upon you to run a distance that you’ve never run before, you cannot set out with a negative attitude. “I can’t run that far. I’ve never ran that far.” An attitude other than ‘can-do’ will defeat you before you start and be demotivating. So, it’s more productive to have the correct attitude.
- Visualise. Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am (Rene Descartes). The act of thinking about running and the benefits it brings into your life, would push aside any self doubts as to why you do it. Think back to when you got your personal record in a race or for a specific distance or when you ran in a beautiful location or track. Embracing those thoughts of being in that zone of activities can help motivate you for your upcoming runs. Visualise the activity and the movements that you perform to prepare you for the run.
- Feel it. Emotions play a large part of our mental wellbeing and that does translate to physical wellbeing. Aim to feel energised by your run. If you’re having a bad day, it’s all the more reason to go for a run. Running and physical exercises help the body create more endorphins. This chemical helps us alleviate depression and pain. It is a part of a group of chemicals in our bodies that helps trigger neurotransmitters that make us happy. We know that happiness can motivate us to do things, so run more and be happy.
- Plan. How are you going to do it? Having a plan is almost always half the battle. Take a pen and a piece of paper or a monthly calendar (if you have one of those flip month-by-month calendars). Write or mark which days you will run. Will it be 2, 3, 4 or more running sessions a week? How far for each run? What time will you go running? Being SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based) with these running goals will help minimise procrastination and should get you going.
If you miss a run or two during the week, remember not to feel guilty about it. We all lead busy lives and some days you may not be able to run or you really feel like having a rest day. It’s OK. Know that you are in a kind of romance with running and you need to take the highs with the lows, but you’re never out of it.
Let me know if you have any thoughts about what you’ve just read in Comments below.