You wake up and look outside. It’s a grey, drizzly, miserable morning. Typical British weather. You have a session or a run to do. Now, quite a lot of people would say oh I’ll give this one a miss. I’ll stay in bed. Staying in bed seems a much better, more enjoyable option, but when it comes to training for me, and many other athletes, NO is NOT an option. Whatever the weather, it has to be done. If the body feels fine, the weather isn’t a barrier.
I don’t deny that at times it is hard to motivate yourself, and you may not be particularly looking forward to the session or run ahead of you, but not doing it is never an option that runs through my head. I may find some days harder than others, but I still love what I’m doing, and the overall enjoyment outweighs the struggles. I would never not do my training. It is not an option in my eyes. It’s just a case of preparing yourself mentally for it.
I hear a lot of people say they have been so busy they haven’t been able to fit any running in. This may be the case, but to me, my life is organised around training. However busy I may be, training has to be fitted in. I may have to wake up slightly earlier, run at lunch, or later in the day, but it gets done. If it is something you truly want to do you will find time to fit it in, no matter how busy you are. My brain doesn’t work in a way that would ever mean I wouldn’t fit it in. Nothing stops me getting out of the door, it is just not the way I am programmed. One day may be more of a mental struggle but it is never a battle about not doing it. It will be done, it can just be a case of when. I am fortunate enough to work that way.
You may be thinking; how does my brain work like this when staying in the warm and watching a movie is undoubtedly a kinder option. Yes, I love doing that too, but the enjoyment I get from training, and working towards my goals is much greater. Once training is done, I can sit still until my heart is content, but when it is time to go, it’s time to get out the door. Looking at what else you could be doing doesn’t help motivate yourself. Look at ways of seeing the training you have to do in a more positive way. This way the comfort of your bed won’t win the battle.
Here are a few tips that work for me when I need a boost of self-motivation:
Find out ways to trick your mind. Approach a run in a different way. Tell yourself it doesn’t matter how far you go, how long you go for, all that matters is getting out of the door. This way, before you know it you will have done exactly what you intended to do in the first place. Just by convincing your mind you don’t HAVE to do what you planned, all of a sudden what you were going to do becomes a whole lot easier. You realise your strength and are able to push yourself when you didn’t feel able to.
Mix it up a bit. Change your route, introduce intervals into your run, do something different to make it that bit more enjoyable. Incorporate easy running with faster bursts and you will find time races by. By breaking down your session into smaller sections you are able to focus on overcoming the barrier of each interval rather than only seeing the initially distant finish. Additionally, a change of route can make a massive difference. Introducing new stimuli and new views gives your mind something else to focus on, other than what you are doing. Unless you are like me and completely switch off and don’t even notice what you run past, this will give you something new to focus on.
Find a friend! Having other people to run with can also help make time go a lot faster. All of sudden, you have been chatting away and half an hour has gone by. By holding a conversation you are able to stop your mind paying attention to how tired you are or how long you have been going for, and it all becomes a lot easier. Try to find someone of a similar pace to you, this way you won’t become frustrated by having to slow down for them and you won’t become demotivated if they are considerably faster.
Although I don’t personally ever listen to music, it can be a good way to occupy your mind. If you are someone who finds running ‘boring’ at times, music can help to add some interest to it. I for one enjoy the quiet, and use running as a chance to shut my brain off from all the chaos of life. Everyone is different though, so if you think listening to music will help you, give it a go!
Finding a few different ways to mix up your runs can make a massive difference. NO is NOT an option, just find ways to get around the mental barrier you may be facing.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!