>> Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Sure. When the new year starts and we all set our fitness goals, we are super motivated . . . nothing can get us down. But when mid-February rolls around, the temps are still chilly, and we're confined to treadmills, reduced to slower paces since sidewalks are slick, etc. -- the whole motivation thing just kind of disappears.
Am I right or am I right? I'm even having trouble despite one of the best motivation tips -- setting a goal. The Lehigh Valley Half marathon is only a few months away. And training has just begun. So, why did it take everything in the core of my being to run my long run on Sunday?
MOTIVATION. Where'd it go??? Well, I set out during that long run (which I did finally do, just much later and slower than expected) to come up with some tips for you all.
1.) Vary your days. This is similar to the treadmill tips I gave out last week. You shouldn't run the same distance on the same route at the same pace every single time you head out. This is BORING. So incredibly boring. Run short one day. Another day, run long. Another day, run fast. Another, run easy. Yet another, run hills! Get yourself on a schedule, as many of them incorporate different types of workouts (that vary in distance, intensity, and terrain) that keep your body AND mind guessing. This doesn't only do wonders for your motivation, but you'll burn more calories and increase your speed, too.
If you're looking for running schedules (usually set by what distance race you'd be willing to do), check out Hal Higdon's website. He's my favorite for training at any level.
2.) Run with a friend (or your partner). This one can be tricky if you don't know anyone who runs your pace. Or if your partner, like mine, is a speed-demon who usually runs sub-6-minute miles even on long runs. However, if you make a once a week run date, perhaps you can both give/take a little in the spirit of togetherness. If you don't have any friends who run, check out your local runners club -- many host weekly runs with people of all shapes and sizes and abilities.
3.) Keep focused on the positive. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in sore calves, slow run times, and bad weather. But if you think about all the good things running does for you, it's easy to get out there and go. Last night, for example, it was dark, snowing, and I just felt like my tank was empty. But I went outside . . . and after 10 minutes, I felt my "old" self come back. Running does so much for our bodies . . . and if you stick to a plan, you'll see progress not only in your pace, but also in your mindset as a runner. For me, it's all about the calm and quiet.
And sometimes it helps to post a picture of yourself feeling victorious after a good race or a good run. Put it right beside your computer monitor at work . . . and I guarantee it'll help get you running more often. It reminds you of how good it feels to be active. The photo of me, above, is right after I achieved a PR in a 5K. Always makes me smile.
4.) Invest in yourself. OK. This tip sounds a little silly -- guess it's the girl in me. But one thing that always helps motivate me is if I feel I look good while I'm working out. This could be as simple as picking up a new hat . . . or indulging in an entire new outfit. If your budget allows, investing a bit of cash in some pretty workout gear might be the trick to get you going. I'm loving Lululemon's stuff (above is the jacket I'm currently lusting over. And Lululemon is gorgeous for yoga and running and everything in-between) . . . as well as things I find on the clearance rack at TJ Max and Marshall's. A little can go a long way . . .
5.) When all else fails: Cross-train. Sometimes you seriously just cannot under any circumstances get yourself to run. Maybe you're burned out. Or you just can't do it. It's better to not force yourself. Instead, maybe go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Hit the gym and do some elliptical work. Take a group spinning class. Whatever gets you moving -- preferably for the same amount of time as your running workout would have taken. I warn against saying "I'll do it tomorrow morning" -- because postponing, at least in my cases, really doesn't work. I find reasons to skip and usually don't get that workout in. On days I've chosen instead to cross-train, I at least get the psychological (and yes, physical) benefits from moving around.
OTHER RUNNING-RELATED POSTS:
- Running for Speed: How To
- Treadmill Survival Guide
- No Workout is Too Short or Slow
- Ode to my 17-year-old Self: The Mile
- How to Suit Up to Set Out (And Other FAQs)
- How to Run
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