Motivation is a fickle friend. She comes and goes at her whim, and never seems to be there when you really need her. When you first begin a workout/training program, she’s there everyday, cheering you on, getting you up in the morning, encouraging you, singing in your ear. But, time marches on and she begins to sleep in, and she encourages you to, also.
When you decide to workout/train for life, motivation is probably not your best friend. Better teammates are discipline and resolve. I know there are many mornings (especially cold ones), when snuggling up with my man under the covers is a LOT more appealing than putting on my running gear and slapping on my shoes. After months, then years, of committed running, motivation hasn’t just left the building, she’s on an extended cruise around the world and won’t be back in the foreseeable future. So, how do you make yourself run when the fun has worn off? Make it fun again.
I motivate myself in different ways. The most important thing I do each year is set goals for that year. This year’s goal are: 1)Run the New York City marathon in November (it will be my first full marathon). 2) Lose twenty pounds by race day. With running, I think it’s important to add racing to your goal setting, this really helps focus your efforts and gives you a specific distance and time to work toward. With new runners (and first time half or full marathoners), don’t set a specific time goal. Make sure your race is walker friendly, and let your goal be to finish.
Another really easy way to re-energize your runs is to add variety to your workout. I love discovering new places to run, running trails instead of roads, and running in cities that I visit. Gary and I were in Natchez earlier this week on business, and of course we ran that beautiful city. If you travel on business, take your gear to run outside, don’t just plop on the hotel treadmill. I’ve run almost everywhere we’ve ever travelled. Keep safety in mind, run with someone if possible, ask the concierge where there are safe running trails in the area, don’t close off your ears with headphones, and be super vigilant about where you are at all times. Also, make sure someone knows when you’re leaving and what time you should return. That said, I’ve run by myself in Central Park in NYC at 5 am with no problems (one of my favorite runs). Also, add variety by cross training. As the weather gets better, jump on a bike, swim in a lake, rent a kayak, go roller skating or disco dancing (do they still do that?), take a yoga class, just move your body for the same amount of time you would spend in a run. You’ll be amazed how much it will invigorate your desire to be in better shape.
Don’t count on that mountain high that a new program brings to last and carry you through the rest of your life. Real discipline comes when you really don’t want to do it, but you do it anyway. I constantly ask God to give me His discipline, because, as in all things, I can’t, but God can.