Getting and Staying Motivated

Recently, I’ve been feeling lackadaisical when it comes to running. It sounds awful, I know. I’ve tried focusing more on soccer, yoga, pilates….I’ve even tried walking! However, while all of these options provide great supplementary support, nothing is quite as challenging for me. Running is still at the top of my list.

I’ve missed meeting up with my marathon guys the past few times now- partly because I had deadlines with work-related things and partly because I was beginning to feel bored with running. I reasoned that forcing myself to run when I really didn’t want to would only exacerbate the underlying feelings I was having towards not really wanting to do it. I recognized these warning signs immediately because right after my collegiate athletic scholarship obligation was up, I remember the strange feeling of exasperation mixed with relief that I felt: No more 5am practices; No more 2-a-days; No more track workouts or team gossip…But there’s one aspect of it all that I miss…..

The idea of being part of a team

Sure, there were days when I dreaded going to practice and having to face the pettiness that so many of us women fall prey to. But now that I’ve graduated and have allowed some time to pass to let the “dust settle,” I miss having people to run with. It’s almost as if I didn’t think; I just ran. How do I clarify this? It’s as if I would let the “group” do the work while on a run. Three or four or even five of us would go for runs anywhere between 6 and 10 miles but I never found myself focusing on pace or breathing necessarily. Even if I was exhausted, I didn’t really notice.

I would listen to the other girls gossip or tell stories about what was going on in their lives. We would laugh at silly things and ask each other for advice on relationships, school, jobs, etc. This isn’t to poo-poo the marathon guys that I run with now; on the contrary, they’re great…but it’s not the same as running with other women. When I was running in college, I didn’t realize it so much then, but we were all running towards the same goal: to become better runners and hopefully make All-American- maybe even looking towards the Olympics after graduation.

Now, when I lace up my shoes to go running (or slip them on because I never untie my shoes), I question my own goals. Sometimes I think: “Why bother?” Realistically, I’m not trying to make it to the Olympic trials or anything- (although I don’t doubt that I could), and it’s not like I’m getting paid to run anymore…so why do it? Am I doing it to stay in shape? Perhaps. Am I doing it because I’m passionate about it? No- I don’t think it’s passion…

I honestly believe that running is something that is and always will be inside of me. For me, the need to run is more like a nagging feeling- haunting me, egging me on- whispering in my ear when I’ve stood it up with some lame excuse…

It’s too cold today..
I hate running on the treadmill…
I just did my hair..

I’m finding that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get myself motivated to get out the door, and that’s the hardest part. I think to myself, “If I can just make it out the door and to my running destination, then I’ll be ok…”

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. -George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

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