I admit it – some days I just want to crawl back in bed rather than put on 5000 layers and head out the door or find a way to run indoors. I’m tired of grey skies and icy paths and running an entire run without ever getting warm. Intellectually, I KNOW that winter will end and in a few short months I’ll be cursing the heat, but right now it feels like it will be cold forever.
So, for Tuesdays on the Run today, Patty, April, and I want to talk motivation. How do you keep it when the weather sucks, and life is getting in the way, and you really just want to crawl back in bed? As a bonus, we have Ashley from TwynMawrMom cohosting. Make sure you head over to her blog and see what she has to say. Meanwhile, here are my tips for keeping motivated when the urge to hibernate is strong.
- Remember your “why” – It doesn’t necessarily have to be your “why” for running, just your “why” for this particular run. Perhaps it’s a key run in your training plan or you have a particular outfit you want to wear. Whatever. I’m a firm believer that anything can be a great motivator if that’s what works for you in that moment.
- Harness the doubters in your life – We all have them. Use them. If the thought of proving them wrong gets you out the door, you win.
- Break the workout into pieces – The thought of running 64 laps on an indoor track did not excite me at all. So, I broke each mile into 16 half laps and focused on running a steady pace for each half lap. At the end of each mile, I let myself stop and get a drink of nuun as a reward. This broke up my workout into approximately 10 minute chunks and each time I knew I could manage 1o minutes. Tell yourself you are only have to run for x minutes, but keep doing x minutes as many times as it takes to hit your goal.
- Dial a friend – Get a friend to run part or all of your workout with you. Or if they can’t, use a headset and chat with them while you are running. As long as you aren’t working on speedwork, this will let you get a workout in and catch up with a friend.
- Dress to impress – Put on a cute outfit and go work out someplace where you’ll be seen. Sometimes feeling good about yourself is all the motivation you need to treat your body well.
- Treat yourself – I’ve been known to run an entire run fantasizing about the decadent snack I’m going to have afterwards. I’m like “ooh, I’m going to go get my favorite Thai, wait, no, pizza, no, Starbucks, no, I’ll have…” Oddly enough, by the time I’m done running, I’m just as happy with a healthy meal 90% of the time
- Find a mantra – My favorite to get me out the door is “Suck it up, buttercup”. Once I’m running, I have all sorts of random things I say to myself – “Just keep pickin’ ’em up and puttin’ ’em down”, “You only have to have one more block in you” (repeat endlessly LOL), “you got this”, etc. Sometimes I even sing “Bottles of beer on the wall”. I know, I’m weird. We all have our quirks.
- Run for bragging rights – Sometimes, being able to say “yeah, I’m bada$$, I did it” is enough to get me out the door (don’t make stupid or dangerous choices just to be a bada$$ though). Other times, knowing that what I’m training for is pretty bada$$ makes even the most mundane run feel important. Those mundane runs are the building blocks of bada$$, after all.
- Just do it – Sometimes nothing is going to make you *want* to exercise. Most of us have those days when the thought of putting on our running shoes and getting out there seems insurmountable. We’ve pulled out all of our motivators and we still just don’t want to do it. Just go. Get in that first 10 minutes. 9 times out of 10, if you can get out the door and get moving (or get on the treadmill or jump in the pool…), you’ll finish your workout. And if you don’t, well, something is better than nothing and at least you gave it the old college try. Tomorrow is another day.
Sometime in the next 3 days, I need to run two half marathons, which means I need to dig deep and find my motivation and get myself out there. I may not love it, but I will do it. And someday, the weather will be pleasant again and I’ll actually run because I want to.