I get asked about motivation A LOT. I think it is something we all struggle with. No one is going to feel like Chuck Norris every day. I certainly don’t spring out of bed every morning at 4:30 like, “YAY!!! Let’s go out in the cold and leave my warm bed and work out!”
I am ALWAYS happy afterward though. I think getting out the door is the hardest part. There are a lot of ways to help overcome that.
- Have a plan. I rarely go into a workout of any kind – run, lift, swim – without a plan. It helps me to know what I have to get done and it is motivating to check it off the list. I try to plan out all my workouts for the week ahead on Sunday night. This way if I choose to skip one, it is a conscious decision, “well I had chest and shoulders with a 1500 meter swim scheduled for today and I’m not going to do it.”
2. Train for something. After my first half marathon was over, going to the gym and going for my runs was so much less exciting. I love having something on the calendar that I am working towards. It can be a 5k or just running a mile without stopping – but it really helps to have a very definite goal.
3. Know your motivation. Honestly, running to get skinny isn’t going to be enough. I know that’s not what you want to hear. But it is true for most people. Aesthetic goals just aren’t going to push you through when you REALLY don’t want to do your workout. Having a time goal, truly wanting to improve your actual health, or wanting to finish a race is going to be much more motivating. For my first half marathon – my motivation was finishing with a time I could be proud of.
Side note: I feel so bad for this poor girl who had her wedding photo turned into a meme! But not quite bad enough to not use it because it makes me giggle!
4. Social media, You Tube videos, inspiring people: I love watching videos of people completing racing, looking at my friend’s posts about their races and runs. It is motivating to me because it makes me want to get out there. Before my 20 mile training runs I love to watch You Tube videos.
5. If you are really struggling, tell yourself just 3 miles. I often find that if I can get past the first 3 miles, I am in my rhythm and loving the run.
6. Caffeine. I’m serious! It would be so great if we all got 8 hours of sleep every night. Sometimes that is just not going to happen though, and you are going to be tired and the first thing you will want to throw out the window is your workout. Maybe you were up with your kids, maybe your significant other made you mad and you couldn’t sleep all night, maybe you have a puppy, maybe the neighbors were have a REALLY LOUD AWKWARD fight (hello neighbors please close your windows!!). When this happens and the alarm clock goes off, peeling your eyelids open sucks. Caffeine will give you just enough of a jolt to get moving. I know many runners swear by their morning cup of pre-run coffee, and it is proven that caffeine is beneficial for endurance athletes.
7. Make a deal with yourself. If I do all my planned training sessions this week, I’ll get a manicure, or if you keep it up for 6 months, you will save for the new purse you really want.
What helps you stay motivated?