This morning I woke after being dumped yesterday to find the central heating broken and no hot water. I could have very easily crawled back under the nice warm duvet and slept for the rest of the day (the rest of the year would have been nice) but I didn’t I went for a run. All be it with my non standard running clothes as yesterdays were still drying! This wouldn’t normally be a problem as I own plenty of running gear but I only own one sports bra so had to run in a normal bra, this I do not recommend and I will blog about this another time.
Anyway back to motivation. It’s not just about being motivated to get up and go out for the run in the first place, it’s about being in the right mind to run and to carry on the run. I find it very difficult if I’m not in the right zone to run. If I’m worrying about problems this will invariably affect my running and the run will become less enjoyable. Enjoyable you say? Yes enjoyable. Really, running is enjoyable, well sometimes. Today’s run took me past Queens Park Lake.
The way to keep motivated, or at least the way I keep motivated is to have small goals. In the early days I just focussed on the amount of time I had to run for and counted. I know many famous athletes use the counting technique too, Paula Radcliffe for one swears by counting to 100 in her head. I used to think I will just run up to that tree, right, now just that sign, now just that bench and soon I had run further than I could have ever imagined. Now when I am running a long distance I count down the distance and think right I’m a 1/3 of the way there or I’ve only got 30 minutes left to run now.
I find music is a great motivator although I cannot run without it and find myself running to the beat which is dangerous when you trying to do speed training or run more slowly.
I take my phone running with me for music but I also like to keep track of how far I have run. Runkeeper is the current app I use to keep track of how far I have run and the pace I am going at. I have it set on 5 minutes, so every 5 minutes a female voice tells me how far I have run and how fast my average pace is. You can vary what it tells you and how often you hear the voice according to your own preferences. I find it is a great tool to motivate me during the run as I know how quick I am going, I know whether I need to pick up the pace to beat any personal best or even to slow it down so not to tire myself out. The app then sends you an email to tell you when you get personal bests in various categories such as amount of time spent running, distance, elevation.
I have used other apps such as mapmyrun but I found the GPS to be a bit too variable.
The most important aspect of motivation is you. Its you that’s going to get your bum out of the door, it’s you that is going to either listen that listen voice in your head that’s saying I can’t do it or override it and say ‘Yes I can do this’ and do it anyway. I regularly fight with myself, in fact most days and on most runs I have to override the urge to give up half way. All us runners have a wall we have to smash through because our brain is telling us we can’t do it but the truth is we can. We just need to condition ourselves to believe we can. If I can do it, you can do it.