As with everything new, at first it’s exciting. Doing something you didn’t think you could do is exhilarating, whether that be getting a good grade on an exam, sewing your very own dress, constructing that piece of flat pack furniture that nobody else thought you would manage to do by yourself, or running a mile without stopping to walk.
At first, your motivation is merely to succeed, to prove to yourself and to others that YOU CAN DO IT. But there comes a point in every journey where that motivation is no longer enough by itself. That first flat pack was easy…. but now you have to make another 6 to furnish the rest of your house. A mile suddenly turned into 4 and your legs hurt and you can’t breathe and you would quite like to be lying on the sofa with a mars bar and watching television boxsets.
How do you force yourself to continue on, to complete the task you have set ahead for yourself? That’s certainly something i’ve been pondering this week. I wouldn’t say my motivation to run has gone, not at all, I still want to run the races, I still want to feel the exhilaration as the medals are placed around my neck, but the journey…. i’m not so sure i’m as eager for the journey as I was.
Training for a race is difficult, it takes time and effort, just like it does when you assemble your flat pack furniture, scratching your head because there are too few screws left or cursing yourself because you screwed on the table leg upside down. Running a race takes weeks of commitment, to get out there and train, to push your body till it aches. Sometimes it’s good, the sun is shining, your legs feel great, you can breathe perfectly, you feel as if you could conquer the world, running on and on and on forever…
Other times…. not so good. Cold weather, gusts of wind stopping you breathing, glasses fogging up because of the rain, legs aching, mind screaming at you to stop torturing yourself and get back onto the sofa with that mars bar.
Sometimes you need more to motivate you than just the desire to succeed, more than just the knowledge that it’s helping to enable you to meet your goals. Sometimes you need some mini motivation to supplement the main motivation.
Here are some of mine:
If you haven’t already guessed from my constant referrals to Mars Bars, I’m a bit of a chocoholic. Before I started running, i’d get through a bar of chocolate a day (sometimes more) without giving it much thought. BUT NOW… NOW I HAVE TO EARN IT. Now I use chocolate to motivate me… If I finish that run I can eat my chocolate GUILT FREE because I burnt those calories and I earned it!
When its horrible outside, just put a chocolate bar at the end of my run and i’ll be out that door before you can say cadburys!
On a more serious note, I’ve committed to raising some funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation from running this Half Marathon. Its a charity i’ve chosen, and there isn’t a set amount I need to raise, but I WANT to use all this time i’ve spent working towards this goal to benefit others besides just myself. If people can see the training and effort i’m putting in, then they are more likely to sponsor me for the race, and THAT is a mini motivation right there!! If I can get sponsorship, I’ll be helping make some very deserving children’s wishes come true! If that isn’t motivation enough then I don’t know what is!
I see all your shiny bling fellow bloggers. I read your race reports, and see beautifully shot Instagram pics of your medals, and I want some of that bling for myself! The only way to the medals is to put in the effort during training. I’d feel gutted beyond belief if I didn’t finish because I didn’t put in the work. I’ll use the thought of the medal hanging on my wall to motivate me through until race time! I wan’t my piece of the bling!
What are your mini motivators that get you through training until race day? I’d love to hear in the comments as I’m positive I’m going to need some more besides these to get me through the next 6 months!