When Motivation is Missing
|June 13, 2011||Posted by Lauren under Motivation, Running|
Lately, my motivation to run has seemed to drop with every degree that the temperature rises. I find myself using the heat and humidity as an excuse to cut things short, or not run at all. Add to that a schedule that’s been getting busier and busier over the past few weeks and well…I’m sure you can imagine where this is going.
So last week, I had a mission. I wanted to ramp up my mileage by running consistently through the week and doing a long run over the weekend. The scary fact is that marathon training is starting up again, and I’m feeling less than prepared. Every time I train for a marathon, I vow to keep that level of fitness up so I won’t have to start building up my base from the beginning again. And every time I find that taking a break from intense running and long runs seems so much more appealing than being in awesome long-distance shape year-round. But I digress…
In order to get through my week of running, I had to pull out the big guns. Here are some of the strategies I use when I’d rather hang out on the couch in my sweats than sweat outside on the run.
Fighting Inertia (i.e. How to Get Your Butt Out The Door)
Pack a bag and drive straight to the gym. If I set my car on a straight path to the gym instead of going home, I eliminate a lot of the excuses that crop up when I get home first. Excuses that often appear in the form of a wide-eyed furry face who is tired of being alone.
See – he’s practically begging me not to run with those eyes…
Make a new playlist. Yes, you all know how much I love running with music. But what you might not know is I’m that person who makes one long running playlist, and then listens to it over and over (and over!). My current playlist has been cycling into my ears since the National Marathon (and even that one was almost the same as the I had made for the Hyannis Half in February). While it was a playlist powerful enough to push me to run my fastest marathon to date, after so many miles, it was getting a little tired. I hate to admit it, but even Mumford & Sons has stopped moving me as well as they once did (sorry boys).
So before I set out on my long run yesterday, I downloaded some new motivation-enhancing tunes. Nothing makes me more excited to run than a fresh set of songs to
dance to run to. On the list: The Show Goes On (Lupe Fiasco), Hello (Martin Solveig), Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO), and Give Me Everything (Pitbull), along with some new Adele. I can’t have a running playlist without songs that speak to my emotions, can I?
Obviously this is exactly what I look like when I’m dance-running
via Jordan Matter
Go exploring. While my new neighborhood has more delicious food options than I’ve ever had before, the running options are less than stellar. Because of this, sometimes going out for a run seems so unappealing. On days when I’m really struggling to find the motivation, I try to change my perspective first. Instead of going for a run, I head out for a little adventure by foot. Running is my favorite way to explore, after all. So I strap on the watch, pick a direction and just run. Making up a new route as I go never fails to help the run go by faster.
Join a running group, or find a running buddy. Okay, so in the spirit of full disclosure, this is something I haven’t actually done yet. I have my eye on two local running groups to join, but have been a little nervous to take the plunge. I will join though (I’m writing it on the blog, so it now it has to happen!). Not only will running with faster people help me get faster, but it will also give me extra motivation to do speed work – something I never feel like doing when I’m not actually in training (and sometimes even when I am). I like running for the sake of running – speed work is just a necessary evil I need if I want to run fast. And in the summer, when things start heating up, my motivation to run fast drops even lower. So I’m determined to do something about it.
Sheer force. Yes, I know this sounds awful. But sometimes my lazy mind is way louder than my will to exercise….even when I know it is best for me. And the only way to get it to stop over-analyzing or complaining is just to take back control and force myself out the door. I bargain with myself, tell myself I only have to do a mile or two, or give myself permission to walk if I’m really feeling awful. Usually I find that once I start running, I’m okay. It’s just getting out the door that’s the tough part.
And when all else fails, don’t run – try another form of exercise instead. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there’s nothing wrong with taking an occasional break from running. I’ve been running seriously for 13 years now, and the only thing that has kept me going strong all these years is having times when I’m not stressed about my weekly mileage, or my mile splits, or getting in that long run. When I went to visit my family over Memorial Day, I didn’t run once. On a walk with my Mom, she asked me if I missed running when I took these mini breaks from it. I surprised even myself with my answer: NO. I love training. I love the structure, I love the progression, and I love watching my times get faster and my endurance get stronger. But sometimes I just need a break. Not feeling guilty for NOT running is what helps me attack my next training cycle with a renewed vengeance.
That being said, I’m ready. I’m ready to start following a schedule and increasing the intensity of my runs. It’s been a fun couple months filled with races and running for enjoyment but I’m starting to feel the itch to train again. Hopefully that will keep me motivated through the heat and humidity of the next few months.