Thursday, April 9, 2015

Finding Motivation

I think a lot of runners struggle from time to time.  We love to run, but for some reason or another we may go through a dry spell where we are lacking in finding the motivation to get it done, and more importantly to get it done and still enjoy the run!

As I have struggled with this a little myself lately.  I have had to come up with new ideas to stay motivated, new things to try to continue to love the sport even when things aren't going my way.
I'd like to share with you, some of my tips, and others I have heard about that may help some of you, should you ever lack a little in reasoning to go out for that run!



SET NEW GOALS

Maybe you just came off a race, or possibly you just hit a PR or goal.  Or maybe you are just getting bored with the same ol weekly routine you have yourself on.
Whether you run for fun, or run to race, setting new goals are great for any running to avoid hitting a dry spell.
Possibly, you'll work on speed, or increase your distance.  Maybe it's time to plan or pick a race, or try a new race distance or even race location.  There are numerous goals you could make to change things up, and give yourself something new to focus on and work towards.

QUIT COMPARING

Everyone does it, whether they are willing to admit it or not.  We compare ourselves to others, and sometimes even judge our own daily runs or accomplishments in comparison to what someone else did.
But the fact is, each day you lace up the running shoes and head out the door, is a day you should cheer your accomplishment.  Whether you ran 1 lap around a track or 20 miles, it doesn't really matter.  You should be happy with what you did do.
Don't get down on yourself because you didn't run as far or fast as you planned.  Don't look at your friend or (fellow running blogger) and tell yourself that you don't measure up.
The fact is we are all different.  We are different shapes, sizes, speeds and all run different distances and training plan schedules.  There is no comparison, instead focus on what you did, what you can control.  You can save any comparison for race day, or even then just keep it to yourself and run YOUR race!

Another quick tip, don't compare yourself to yourself.  The times you ran in your 20's and 30's may not realistically be times you can run in your 40's or 50's+.  Every ten years, your PR's are going to change, it isn't fair to yourself to compare your current distances and times with those from your prime.

TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN

I know we all think we have to hit every single daily run, or as close to as possible.  But sometimes we need a day or two off.  Whether it be for illness, or just a busy life.  Or maybe a day of relaxation to let the muscles recover and come back stronger.
The truth is, sometimes our bodies need rest, and a day or two off isn't going to hurt our performance. In fact, it may even help it!

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Maybe you run a specific set of mileage each week.  Well, although that is great sometimes that can also be boring.  Instead try something different.  Add speed work, hill work or go to the high school track and pretend your in a race with everyone else running there:)
Or maybe it's a day to trade your run for a hike, or a fun class at the gym.  Mixing things up can be a lot of fun.
My only recommendation, don't mix things up 3-4 weeks leading into a race you're planning on.  Our bodies react differently when we add new things into it, you wouldn't want to add something that may hurt yourself, or take a while to recover from, which is why I air on the side of caution about doing this close to a race.  (Unless it's something you're body is already used to.)

SWITCH UP RUNNING BUDDIES

If you're a solo runner, see if you can even if only one day a week find a friend or group to run with.  If you are a group runner, and things are getting a little dull, pick a day a week and maybe that could become your solo day.  Or the day to find a different running partner for the occasional run!

CHANGE THE TIME OF DAY YOU RUN

Maybe you've been running after work, and it's becoming a struggle to find the energy.  It may seem daunting at first waking up at 4 or 5am to get a run in before you leave to work.  But give it a try, you'll more likely find that although getting up may be hard, once your out the door it's a great way to start the day.  Then when you get home from work, if your tired you can relax, if you have more energy you can go out with friends or family and have a little fun!

If mornings and evenings are both hard for you, try running on your lunch hour.  Or instead of heading for home right after work, start your run from work, and then take the drive home.

A FEW OTHER IDEAS

* Enter a race.
* Run with a GPS.
* Leave all the GPS and gadgets at home.
* Switch up your running playlist or leave it and listen to nature.
* Listen to a great audiobook or fun podcast.
* Pretend your a coach, and create a totally uniquely new training schedule for yourself.
* Buy a new running outfit.
* Buy another pair of running shoes.
* Run in the snow or rain.  Sounds funny, but it can be very invigorating!
* Try a new distance that scares you.
* Hill work, you may find a love hate relationship!
* Back off for a few weeks, slow down the speed and mileage.
* Create a local running group.
* Volunteer at a race.
* Watch a race or go and cheer at a race.
* Pick a new course.
* Read about some motivational runners.
* Pamper yourself with a massage.
* Focus on dropping a few pounds.
* Do a charity run, raise money for a cause.
* Compensate yourself, put a quarter in a jar each time you run and treat yourself at the end of the month with something you enjoy.  Or put a dollar in a jar each time you run, and as it adds up, spend it on a race you've always wanted to enter.
* Go see McFarland USA (You won't regret it!)

I could probably make that list about triple that size, if I wanted too.  But this may give you a few more idea's.

So tell me, what are your favorite ways to motivate yourself, if you find your lacking or going through a dry patch?

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