Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Motivate Me

I need a lot of motivation to get out on the trail and run. I mean, I love running, but I love doing other stuff (like reading by the pool, drinking iced coffee, listening/singing along to show tunes) too, sometimes a lot more! During the school year, it's hard for me to come home and run after dealing with students all day long. During the summer, it's hard for me to get up early and run (to beat the heat) because I just want to sleep in for once! Here are few things that keep me motivated to run, run, run!

Music I know this is true for a lot of you - if I forget my iPod, I am so not willing to put in extra miles. Music helps me keep a steady pace and it also helps me zone out and forget that my quads are screaming. I especially look forward to running when I have new music. Some of my favorite songs to run to (right now) are:
  • Ain't Nothing Wrong with That - Robert Randolph and the Family Band
  • California Girls - Katy Perry
  • Lying from You/Dirt off Your Shoulder - Linkin Park/ay-Z
  • Numb/Encore - Linkin Park/Jay-Z
  • Map of the Problematique - Muse
  • Rawk Fist - Thousand Foot Crutch
  • Remember the Name - Fort Minor
  • Sugar, We're Going Down - Fall Out Boy
  • Sweet Disposition (Dirty South Remix) - Temper Trap (I like to cue this one up about halfway through my run, when I'm not doing speed work)
  • Tonight - PAX 217
Clothes First, I always want to run if I have new gear! I buy my running clothes at places like The Sports Basement or even Marshall's because I don't like spending a ton of money on stuff I'm going to get super sweaty. Right now I am loving these tanks from Nike that I scored for about $12/each at Marshall's.

Technically they are tennis tanks, but I like the coverage and that they are not super tight through the torso.
Second, sometimes just changing into my workout clothes (even when I don't really want to workout) is enough to get me out the door. During the school year, this means changing as soon as I get home from work, even if I need to run a few errands or assemble dinner or veg in front of the computer for a few minutes (During soccer season, this is even easier. As a coach, I change as soon as school lets out and then I can just come home after practice and hit the trail!). Just having those clothes on is enough to remind me not to get too comfortable!

Rewards I'll admit, I am a sucker for external rewards. And yes, these are usually in the form of food! I'll tell myself, If you go out and run today, you can go to Yogurtland after dinner instead of making banana soft serve! or If you cross-train today, you can give in to Brian's pleas for dinner at The Counter!

I also try to reward myself during a run, especially if I'm having a rough one. I'll tell myself, If you run a solid next mile, you can walk for 1 minute or If you run to the top of this hill, you can take a short water/stretch break at the top. In the world of education/child psychology, we call rewards like these external motivators. They aren't enough to sustain your work, but they are usually enough to give you a little boost!

Numbers, Schedules, & Goals Unlike rewards, this motivator is totally internal. I am obsessed with tracking numbers and statistics, so keeping a log of how long I worked out, how far I ran, what my average pace was, etc is a good motivating factor for me. I also like having a workout schedule so I can tell at-a-glance what I am supposed to complete that day (keep me from cheating!). Finally, I am super goal-oriented. Before I started doing races, I had a hard time keeping a consistent running schedule because I felt like What am I doing this for? What is my purpose? When I have a race to prepare for, it gives me a goal to work towards, which keeps me motivated because I hate not completing a goal.

Trickery & Deception This might say a lot about me, but I'm easily deceived. That's not to say I'm totally gullible (you cannot be gullible as a high school teacher!), but it's not too hard for me to trick myself. For example, if I'm doing a 5-mile out-and-back run, I will actually run about 1/2 mile the other direction before heading out to my actual destination (see possibly confusing diagram below - I am not a visual learner!).
 This way, when I hit the turnaround point, my brain thinks I've got 2.5mi left, but I actually only have 1.5mi to complete 5mi!. This makes the run home seem so much easier. Of course, I finish my 5 miles with some distance left to cover before I get home, so this sometimes motivates me to run even farther! It seems silly, but it works for me! (It also might work for me because there are lots of numbers involved, which automatically confuse me...)

Today's Question: How do you motivate yourself to get out there and sweat?


  1. hahah this is a GREAT post!! Especially the self-deception ;)

    I work backwards. I eat something way unhealthy during the day and tell myself I'm going to workout in the evening. It just gets so hot in the Central Valley though, that I can't run until 9ish!

  2. Whew - 9pm! That takes SERIOUS motivation! I am an old lady and am usually in bed by then :)