This morning at the water cooler at work, one of my colleagues stopped and chatted and asked a question I get asked regularly…
‘So how many miles did you run this morning?’
Yes, people at work see me as a ‘Runner’, or a person who is ‘Too Fit’ and ‘exercises like mad’.
Sure I run, so I’m a Runner… and yes, I exercise perhaps a little more than the average person, but I don’t see it as ‘exercising like mad’, I see it as exercising for health and exercising for fun. It has become and is now a big part of my life.
I told her that today I didn’t run, but did just under an hour of strength work. I didn’t explain any further – thinking, if she wanted to know more, she’d ask.
Instead, she asked the question –
‘How do you stay motivated to do so much exercise the way you do, when you have a full time and part time job too?’
A few words popped out of my mouth – Habit, Making Time for it as part of my life, Choice.
In truth there are lots of reasons why I’m motivated to exercise the way that I do:
I enjoy it. I enjoy running, strength work and swimming. I enjoy being active. I enjoy the buzz and the challenge you get from exercising. I’ve made exercising a big part of my life – a lifestyle choice. As much a part of my life as eating and drinking – I feel like I need it to go on living.
I have fun, I see it as part of who I am, and I also know the importance of having structure, rest and recovery in my training.
Habit. Habit is what keeps me going. I have ‘Run days’ (Tue, Thu, Sat) and Strength days (Mon, Fri), Rest days (Sun and sometimes Wed), and sometimes a Swim day (Wed).
I don’t need to think about it. I know if it’s a Tuesday – it’s a run day, if it’s a Monday it’s a strength workout. No excuses – just do it. My workouts and runs are simple and challenging or easy or fun. So I don’t need to think about them too much beforehand, I just get my gear on and run or train.
Choice. I choose to exercise, when others choose to lie in their bed or when others don’t have the choice to exercise because they have other commitments like family or other things. I choose to run, I choose to strength train and I choose to swim, walk and take the stairs. I choose to be active.
Making time for it. I make time for exercise. Sure I have a full time and a part time job with a bit of coaching others on the side, but I make time for my own training.
I prefer exercising in the morning before work. I find it wakes me up, makes me feel like I’ve achieved something before the day has started and sets me up for the day and week ahead. 6:30am – 7:30am is my training slot on weekdays and Saturday morning is my slot for long or social runs. Sunday is my rest day. As well as making time for exercise, I make time for rest days and for other people too.
Health. Since I started exercising regularly (2008), my health has increased dramatically. As you probably know, I’ve lost nearly 2 stone (11kg) and 10% body fat. To accompany my exercise for fitness and weight loss, I’ve improved what I eat and drink, and given up alcohol and fizzy drinks. I’m in the shape of my life and my training and rest compliments this.
People. A big motivator for me is my partner Fit Girl and my friends who are also into exercising. Fit Girl motivates me because she exercises as much as, if not more than me. We like the same things and enjoy the same things – and love a run or workout together. Chatting away about how our day went, pushing each other to work harder.
Friends also motivate me – the social side of running is brilliant. You can quickly feel part of a small family when you become a runner, from taking part in events where you know do many local runners, to training runs and fun runs – it is ace.
Endorphins. The feel good factor, or the Sweet Spot is a great motivator for me. Exercise lifts my mood and makes me feel great. Sometimes when I exercise, I feel like I’m invincible, like I can do anything I set my mind to. The buzz can be immense.
Challenge. Running and strength training can involve lots of challenges. Progress and develop myself to run further or faster, or lift heavier. Initially I started off with the challenge to run 5k, then 10k and some half marathons. Then the marathon and ultra marathon.
I learned a lot along the way and realised I could help others enjoy it as much as I do. Strength Training is another type of challenge – I don’t think I’ll ever change too much with Strength Training (my genes), but I like the way it makes me feel and it’s a great way to cross train and improve your health.
Events / Personal achievements. Do you train so that you can do events, or do you do events so that you can train?
I’m most definitely in the ‘I do events so that I can train group’. Events, whether they be organised, or my own little adventure are a great way to keep me (and you) motivated and get me (and you) up on those cold dark mornings.
The Marcothon is just around the corner, and whilst I wouldn’t attempt to run every day, some might, and it might motivate you to run when you wouldn’t normally.
Achieving results is what pushes me, whether it be for an event, a PB, or a goal I’ve set myself. It helps not just in the fitness side of my life, but in work and all other areas of my life. I set myself goals which usually aren’t time based, achievable goals so that I aim to have fun and achieve what I set out to achieve.
The feel good. Exercising makes me feel good – it makes me feel really really good. Not just the endorphins or the health benefits. The sweat, the blood pumping, the achievement. I feel fit, healthy and feel great. I don’t get headaches, I’m well, I feel really really good.
Sure sometimes I think, I can’t be bothered, but when I do it, I realise how good it makes me feel. I know there is pay off. I know there are the super powers that come from and along with exercise.
Did I mention how good it makes me feel? 😉
I think that’s enough reasons for how I stay motivated to exercise: The reasons I’m motivated to exercise and train as much as I do.
The main one is that I enjoy it, and that it makes me feel so good and healthy, but apart from that, it’s become habit and a major part of my life. 🙂 I love it!
Why do you exercise?
And are you motivated enough – or do you think you could be more motivated to exercise?
If you think you need to exercise more – What would it take for you to exercise