Running Chronicles: Low Motivation

Or maybe that title should say low willpower.

Similar to what I wrote last month, my running hasn’t been that great the last few weeks. I finished the holiday series, a Halloween 5K, a 10K turkey trot, and a 10K Santa Run, which was great, but then I suddenly found myself dreading the training runs.

I hate to admit it, but I used excuses; I used the holidays as an excuse, I traveled twice in October and once in early November. By thanksgiving, I’ve lost the routine of running on Saturdays (running during the week is a whole different story) and with it, lost some of my motivation and willpower to get over this bump.

At work I like to say, ‘when in doubt, Google it’.

So, that’s exactly what I did. I decided to research it and see if anyone has written about this. Unsurprisingly, most of what I found were ways to gain motivation to get up and run anyways, no matter what you feel.

I found a Dailyburn.com article that outlines four simple motivation techniques that are scientifically proven to work. Three of them seem to be a part of a reward-punishment system, which makes sense. If you know you’re going to give yourself a reward, monetary or otherwise, then you might be more likely to finish the goal you set for yourself.

On top of that, I found a Strength Running article that focuses on slightly different things. Being goal-oriented is good, but sometimes the big goal can seem too much, so this article suggests learning to appreciate and love the small wins. They suggest having a small win like finishing faster than you started or have been running – this is actually something that I always like to incorporate into my runs. Probably leftover from my high school cross country days.

On the other hand, there is the suggestion of focusing on the process:

“Focus on the process of training instead of a far-off race or intangible idea like “get healthy.” Your goal every day should be to do whatever is on your training plan. Execute that day’s workout – even if the workout is to rest and do absolutely nothing.”

I like this idea, but I figure for my current situation, being goal-oriented seems the better route. And of course, the last thing they suggest is being consistent, which is what works for me, until I lose motivation.

Which is why I like the idea of focusing on the small wins. I skipped my long run this morning and so I have made the goal to get up and do it tomorrow morning (Sunday). My goal is to try to at least do 8 miles, but I would be just as happy if I made to 6 miles. A small win is if I simply get up, get ready, and go on a run.

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My half-marathon that is coming up in five weeks, in February, will be my third. And my last. I will get the race medal and then I will get a huge medal for doing the Beach Cities challenge. I’ve accepted the fact that I may have to walk at some parts and I am okay with that. As long as I run most of it and as long as I start and finish running, I’ll feel good about the race.

Happy Running!

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The running quote picture I found via Google image search.

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