Motivation is a funny thing

Motivation is a funny thing. It can dip or peak, and can change from one minute to the next. And sometimes it can be a thought to figure out what it is that motivates you, to get you out the door for that run, or what it is that motivates you to keep running until you’re done.

One thing that motivated me in January, was a mini goal to run 100 miles in a month, and it’s continued into February. It’s worked for me to break the monthly distance down and get me out running even when life, work or weather has been against me.

Stupid weather, rain and wind. Yuk. The very forecast can put you off, then when you go out running you realise it’s not as bad as predicted. Wrap up well, wear waterproof layers and you’ll usually be fine. If you do get soaked through take care after your run to dry off. warm up and fuel up.

Last week work kind of got in the way a bit and instead of my planned 8 mile, 4 mile, 5 miles runs, I ended up doing 2 x 5ks, and I was going to do another on Friday, but didn’t. I swapped my lunchtime run for work instead.

With around 28 miles to go, with 4 days left, I planned a run on Saturday, and we did 7.5 miles ok in reasonable weather.

Then on Sunday I knew I had to get a one one in, despite the horrible weather. Arg. I didn’t fancy two hours running in the rain, but I got myself out there and manage it, (despite me telling myself at the start I’d just do 8 miles, and that’d be ok.)

– So I set myself a time to get out by, 10am.
– Then I got myself ready, fuel and hydrated to go out (after a good long sleep).
– Then when I started running, I told myself I’d split it down into 3 miles, 4×3 miles maybe.
– Then as I was running, 40 minutes in the rain got heavier, and by 50 minutes in I was soaked through to my pants. :-S – Wind, rain, cold. Yuk. Music on.

My motivation levels were there, but they were waning slightly. Could I really stick this out for another hour plus? Aaaarggg.

– So I said to myself, I’ll run 9 miles – 3×3.
– but I was already far away from home at the other side of Pollok Park. – I changed my music to Sigma to keep me going.
– so I tricked myself inside the park, and added on a loop here, and a loop there. – before I knew it, I was 9 miles in, and around 3 miles from home.
– I added on a little bit, and I told myself to get to 13.1 miles as planned, I just needed to run for another 30 minutes. – I added on another bit…
– I was soaked through anyway, so what the worst that another 30 minutes could do?

– I picked up the effort a little, and ran the long way home, down Nithsdale Road, 10 miles, 11 miles, 12 miles… nearly there.
– I ended up being a little further away from home than I’d planned, and I wanted to round up my monthly numbers, so I ran 13.39 miles by the time I got back to my house.

My avg heart rate was 156 (85%), max 168 (91%). And I’m pretty sure I did a negative split too. It was a good run, despite the rain. Maybe the rain even made me go faster?

Today I’m 26 days into a 28 day month, so I’m 92.8% of the way through the month. And it so happens I’ve clocked up 92.5 miles so today’s run managed to help me get right back on track with my miles to get me to 100 miles by the end of the month. (Even with a week at the start when I had a cold and didn’t run).

The numbers are motivating me, as does splitting goals down into smaller numbers: 100 miles a month, 20-25 miles a week. Long run, 4×3 plus a little bit. When you split things down into smaller chunks, they seem more manageable, more achievable. Easier for your brain to deal with and try to achieve.

I have 7.5 miles left to run in February – a coaching session tomorrow will probably be about 3 miles ish, then I’ll do 4-4.5 miles easy on the 28th and I’ll have achieved my 100 mile goal for the second month in a row.

It certainly does help to motivate me, get me out running when I could have quite easily stayed nice and dry and warm in my bed. Pushed me to run 13.39 miles instead of 8 miles like I could have done. (Here’s what I had for lunch after it, yum).

Here’s how I increase motivation for myself:

– Set an achievable but challenging goal.

– Have a reason to support your goal – i.e. Get fitter, get healthier, run more regularly. Whatever works for you.

– Plan how you’ll do it, make it work with the rest of your life. Week by week, day by day. Training plan, or an idea if what you’ll do to achieve it.

– Find out what works to get you out, running with others? Music? Weekly plans? Early nights? Regular routes? Setting times / appointments to go out running?

– Break it down into smaller chunks, to help your brain believe it’s more achievable.

– Tell others about your challenge so they encourage you, or so you feel a sense of accountability to them.

– Get yourself a reward once you’ve achieved it, or mini parts of your goal… (i.e. Moyra Janes Mince n Tatties for lunch!) new running gear?

Smiling but soaked through at the end. 😉 done!

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