Motivating yourself through tough times
Running is an endurance sport in every sense of the word. It takes months of persistence and dedication to properly train for a race. At the beginning, it’s easy to stay motivated. Shoes are shiny, the training plan is full of miles and potential, and the routine changes are exciting. But a few weeks later motivation may start to fade. Now muscles are sore, shoes are smudged, and the training plan may start to see impossible. What can a runner do to keep moving on days when the finish line seems so far away? The same goes for losing weight, studying, starting a new project and so on. Motivation is high during the first week then the zeal and enthusiasm starts to wane. How do runner prepare for marathons. I’m an action person, I like contact sport, I like to sweat and see my opponent face to face. I’ve tried running, but I just can never get to the second mile. Maybe in a group I could do a bit better, but getting up at 4am to get ready for a run, is not my kind of thing. But what interests me is how do runners do it. Are they sitting in bed waiting for the alarm to rind and as soon as it does, do they jump out of bed, put their running shoes on run out of the door?
As with anything else discipline is key to getting the victory. As I child I used to do endurance races. My dad and I used to win the father and daughter races, but as I grew older, I got tired of it and moved on to less strenuous sports. I discovered that with long jump, I could still come up tops in the region (which I did) without practicing too hard. In a nutshell I was lazy. Had I not been lazy I recon I could have made a fine athlete. I had the makings of a great sportsman.
I am no longer that sporty, I shoot a few hoops here and there and play volleyball if people are playing it, but that is about it. I like to bask in the sun by the swimming pool instead of actually swimming, but I thought that there is a lot to be learnt from runners. With the Olympics round the corner, it is quite fascinating to think about how athletes have been prepping themselves for the games. I figured we could all learn a thing or two from the athletes.
First, make sure you have a definite goal.
Don’t run with the idea that “someday” you want to run a 5K. Find a local race calendar, pick a race a few months away and register for it. Most people work better with a deadline. Actually investing money in a race gives you a concrete deadline. After all, if you paid for it, you might as well show up, right?
But even after you have selected the “big race” goal, make some smaller goals along the way to help boost your motivation. Make a commitment to run for five days a week, or strive to run 100 miles in a month. Then decide how you will reward yourself for reaching these mini-goals. Make sure it is something you will look forward to like a massage, lunch at a favorite restaurant, or some new running gear. A great time for marathoners to give themselves a little treat is after each week’s long training run. Looking forward to a nice brunch or a nice nap may help you survive that two to three hour run.
Then find a way to visually track your progress. Create a spreadsheet to monitor your miles and times. Enter your runs on http://www.dailymile.com and let them add up your miles for you. Find or design a fun way to cross off each mile after you run. Seeing is believing, and it’s encouraging to see visual evidence of your hard work.
Finally, try little things to shake up your routine. Even small changes can make a big difference. If you usually run on a treadmill, take your workout outside. If you’re an outside runner, try watching your favorite TV show while you are on the treadmill. Run your normal route backwards. Run at night instead of in the morning or vice versa. Trade music playlists with your running partner and let someone else’s favorites inspire you. Everyone has days when their motivation is lacking, and that’s OK. It only turns into a problem if you don’t find a way to push through the hard days. Be creative, find what works for you, and remember each step you run moves you closer to your goal.
These tips work whether it is on the training field, in class or in your business. If we focus on the goal, we can achieve big things. Giving up is not an option.