We’ve all been there. Making time to run can be a struggle. Especially when accompanied by a four-letter forecast, a lack of sleep behind you, or the mountain of work ahead of you. We can all find excuses, but deep down we know a great day is just one run away.
My news feed has blown up recently with fellow runners seeking advice on motivation. When you’re at your peak fitness, finding incentive to get out the door is an easy task. But at last, nothing blooms year-round. I’m on a seemingly uphill battle myself. “Building with bent nails, we’re falling, but holding” perfectly describes my relationship status with my current training regimen. I’d like to share few things that have helped me keep my eye on the prize.
Train your Brain
Physical strength will get you to the starting line, mental strength will get you to the finish. As runners, we’re putting ourselves at a disadvantage by not including mental strengthening into our training. The Navy SEALS describe a “40% rule” when addressing mental toughness. When your mind is telling you to call it quits, you’re really only at 40% capacity. So how do we tap into that extra 60%?
Surround yourself with daily reminders of your goals.
An easy way I have incorporated this idea into my daily habits is by changing my login passwords. Changing your passwords to a goal you’ve been working on provides you with constant reminders. Keep your brain actively aiming in a direction towards goal achievement.
You manage what your measure.
Going beyond measuring mileage has been incredibly helpful in generating internal dialogue for me. Specifically – being mindful of my nutrition and sleeping habits. Neglecting to focus some attention in these areas can leave you running with the parking brake on. I will admit this was a daunting task at first, but it has been worth it. Luckily for us – there is an app/gadget for everything.
Avoid the Hedonic Treadmill
This metaphor is used to describe our human tendency to adapt to a certain level of happiness. Every time you take a step forward, the treadmill moves with us keeping us in the same place. For example – getting a raise will make you happier initially. With time you will habituate to this salary and return to your “baseline” happiness. I’m addressing this idea of “hedonic adaptation” with what I describe as embracing the suck. If you’re injured – embrace the time to hit the reset button. If it’s raining – run further. Think of how much you will appreciate the next pain-free run when it’s 75 and sunny.
Connect with a Team
Afterall, Together Everyone Achieves More. Ask a friend to go for a run instead of heading out solo. Swap a shoe to hold each other accountable for the run you planned for tomorrow. Join an online team to get advice and inspiration from other runners.
For me, listening to podcasts while I run has been an invaluable way to stay connected with the running community. The Running for Real Podcast with host Tina Muir, as well as her previous podcast Run to the Top are priceless. More inconceivably, they are free to listeners. I highly recommend checking these resources out if you have not already. Tina’s insights, guests and literature suggestions have created a depth of insight for me that go far beyond running alone.
I’d love to hear how you guys find motivation to keep running. Leave me a comment below!