It’s been tough getting motivated to train over the last few weeks. My heart has just not been in it and with the holidays there is plenty to keep me doing other things than hitting the gym on a regular basis. One thing that motivated me two weekends ago was a fellow Daily Mile member who had asked for anyone who could run to go out for a mile or two since he was injured and “on the bench.” That day I managed to go outside and run an easy 5K. Last weekend I managed a nice 10+ mile run at the gym. The miles were easy as I watched ESPN on the treadmill. This was a confidence booster as I hadn’t ran over 5 miles in several weeks. The next day I felt great with zero soreness giving testament to my enduring fitness level even though I had been taking it easy with only 1-2 workouts a week. Goes to show you that fitness does go away, but it doesn’t go away overnight.
This also reinforces that it’s okay to take some time off and cut back as long as it doesn’t turn into six months of doing nothing. I was hitting the gym 1-2 times per week getting a lot of extra sleep and recouping physically, mentally, and motivationally. Now it’s go time as I have a full marathon at Walt Disney World in 45 days!
Last Sunday I did my 10 miler. Monday I hit the elliptical and some light weight lifting. Tuesday I did some speed work on the treadmill with twelve 400m repeats. Today I duplicated Monday’s workout.
So I feel like I’m back on track, but with that being said I’d like to lend some advice on getting back on track to finding your motivation again when it gets lost in the woods.
Ways to Find your Motivation
- Start Small
- Just like when you first started being more active if you’ve been away for two weeks or two months don’t try to pick back up exactly where you left off. Go for a walk, a short run, ride a bike in front of the TV, play a sport you love, or walk your dog, but just get active again!
- Follow others to find motivation
- Someone you know likes to run, bike, swim, lift weights or play badminton. If you don’t have someone personally close to you then go out to Facebook, the daily mile, or the plethora of other websites and just watch those people go! Many are willing to send you an “atta-boy OR atta-girl” for being active.
- Don’t think
- You can be your own worst enemy so quit thinking and start doing. Don’t sit there and talk to yourself about how busy you are for next 10 minutes. Instead use that 10 minutes to be active! A 10 minute walk is activity!
- Tell everyone about it
- Find some motivation by posting what you did on a website or start your own blog. If not then just tell the first person you see who asks, “How are you today?” The response, “I’m good! I hit the gym this morning.” If you have a specific goal tell them about that too. Nothing motivates you more than knowing that everyone knows, you know?
- Find a goal
- Find something far enough in the future that you can train for it, but close enough that you need to start now. Looking forward to a half marathon a year from now means you could slack for six months and still do it. Registering for a 10K six weeks from now means you need to get going now!
- Daily reminders
- Put it on your calendar at work to remind you daily about your goal. Add an update to your mobile phone. Write a note and put it on the fridge!
- Find a buddy
- You don’t have to do the same workout, but just being accountable to someone else that you’ll show up at the gym does wonders. You can’t let ’em down!
- Do your homework
- Subscribe to Men’s Health, Runner’s World, or some other fitness oriented magazine. Reading about exercise will keep it on your mind and perhaps motivate you to try new things. You can also go to Amazon.com and find some great books on running or just about any other sport or form of exercise. Go for those inspiring stories that make you want to run out the door at 3am for a 10K run! No extra cash to buy these things? No problem. Follow a few more fitness bloggers for free or “Like” a magazine on Facebook. Those sites put up free content all of the time!
- Get on a plan
- If you are returning and have a goal then write down a training plan even if it’s a simple one. Even if it’s a one week plan that you are going to repeat for the next four weeks that’s okay. Just get it down on paper. And remember, write it in pencil. Who knows, you may run an extra couple miles and need to edit!
- Talk yourself up
- I’ve written before about negative self talk or what I call the Voices of Doubt and I’m sure you’ve heard that voice in your head saying, “It’s too early just go back to bed.” or “Who cares about your run tomorrow when you can watch the American Idol finale now?” or worst of all “You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You should give up.”
- When you hear those voices you should instantly say something positive. “I’m awake so I’m getting up.” or “I’m going to DVR American Idol, problem solved.” or “I am amazing!” Positive self talk is a method used by both amateur and professional athletes so why not use it yourself. Telling yourself, “I can do this!” is a great way to prove yourself right!
That’s it! 10 ways to stay motivated or get re-motivated. If you are state side I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. If you see me at Disney in January be sure to say, Hi!
Follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23