I didn’t write my weekly Columbus Marathon Training recap this week. You know why? I procrastinated. I put it off Tuesday at lunch time until that evening. Then, I figured, well I can post it Wednesday. That didn’t work out. Then, It just kind of became irrelevant. Like most people I tend to procrastinate on the things that either require a lot of physical energy or seem complex and require a lot of thought. Sometimes, the task just seems so overwhelming at the time, that the thought of doing it makes you tired. Do you know the feeling?
As I was procrastinating on my weekly post, it dawned on me that one of the things that I rarely procrastinate on is my running. I never put that off. If I have miles on the calendar, they get done. Thus the birth of this post. I have always been somewhat self-motivated, but on days when the snow and temperatures are falling or when it’s rainy, hot and humid, I even need a little push to get out the door. Here are some of this things that have helped keep me motivated and have prevented me from putting off my runs.
1. BUILD A NETWORK OF RUNNING FRIENDS
I can’t tell you how much this helps. I can talk running all day and having friends who like to talk about it gets me in the mood to do it. I’ve learned little tips and tricks to make tough runs easier. I’ve learned new running routes from other people and have been inspired by their efforts and talents. It’s made running so much more fun and actually kind of social. We don’t always run together, but we may meet to start or finish at the same time to talk about our runs. Runners are truly the most positive, upbeat, high energy people I know, the type of people I like to surround myself with.
I look at my running as something special that I do for myself. I do for my physical and mental health. My weekend calendar revolves around my runs. I protect those hours at all cost and never miss a run unless it’s completely unavoidable. If there’s a long run, I make sure I eat properly the day before and not drink too much or at all the night before. I also try to get enough sleep before long runs. Not doing those things will make it difficult to get up and get moving, so prepare for a long weekend run as you would a race to feel your best. I know this sounds like it makes you a boring person, but it’ll do wonders for your average pace.
This kind of ties into number 1 but not always. I have lots of friends who run that I don’t actually run with. Finding someone who is focused on the same or similar goal and who runs roughly the same pace as you can be challenging, but so worth the effort to find. When you make plans to meet a friend, you’re instantly accountable to show up. During a run this is helpful as well because you can encourage each other during difficult miles. I can’t tell you how many times words of encouragement have helped me up and over hills.
4. JOIN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY
This year I was encouraged to join Daily Mile. I’m so happy I did. Not only is this a great place to track your training and runs, but the people are so motivational and upbeat. I don’t have a whole lot of friends or connections, but I’m always shocked at how they try to give me encouragement when I have a rough run and congratulate me when the run is good. It could potentially help you with number 3. You can look for local runners and see if you can find someone who runs about the same pace. People are typically very open to welcoming new runners into their groups. Give it a try – I’ll be your friend.
I’m always inspired by people who document and share their running experiences. I don’t have time to read all the blogs I’d like every day, but I try to visit my favorites at least once a week to see what those runners are up to. Reading about other people struggles and not knowing you’re the only one is a great pick me up and reading about their successes motivates me to have more of my own. Plus I like looking at the pictures. Visit my Blogs I Read page for some recommendations.
6. KEEP YOUR GEAR ACCESSIBLE AND READY TO GO
This may sound simple, but if you’re already on the fence about running and having a hard time getting out the door, spending 20 minutes finding your running crap isn’t going to help. On the nights before I run, I always set everything out on the floor next to my bed. When the alarm goes off at 4:45am, the last thing I want to do is go on a scavenger hunt for my stuff. For long runs, I make sure I have my fuel and hydration as well as pre-run meal ready to go.
If you’re training for a specific event, this is simple. Right now I’m training for the Columbus Marathon so at work I have the course map and training plan hanging in my cubicle. At home I have my plan in hanging in my closet. These serve as constant reminders of why I’m running all these crazy miles.
8. RUN EARLY
If it all possible, do your runs early. This has been a life saver for me. After working all day, coming home, making dinner, etc., I’m tired! I always feel freshest first thing in the morning. People always comment that I’m nuts when I tell them how early I get up to run, but honestly, once you start doing it, it kind of becomes a habit. Running early also keeps you from dreading your run all day.
9. IF ALL ELSE FAILS
Go run a mile, if after one mile you still don’t want to continue, maybe it actually isn’t meant to be.But I find that after I get out the door and get moving, I have crossed the biggest hurdle. Good luck!
Question: What tactics do you rely on to keep you motivated?