Friday, June 10, 2011

[45] Motivation Station

Although the calendar states that summer does not officially begin until the Solstice on the 21st, the heat and humidity are screaming otherwise at me. Despite my upcoming running schedule and weightloss plateau, I feel my motivation idling at times. Today, I was chatting with my gal pal (and fellow endurace runner), Meghan, and she asked me to write a bit on what motivates me. Contrary to the two-hour midday cat nap I took, I did take some time to contemplate things which motivate me. Naturally, motivators are important things to consider when committing to just about anything, but another thing to be aware of are "demotivators". Don't get me wrong, I love a good snicker at the snark and wit of Despair, Inc. (and all the fan service knock offs), but I think the humor would be lost if there wasn't a shred of truth to their commentary.

Never. Stop. Running.
Sometimes, looking in the mirror can be harder than one anticipates. However, without doing so, finding one's points for improvement and what triggers downshifts in motivation can be difficult to achieve. After some heaving thinking, I've condensed my list to three primary triggers:
  1. Stress & Burn Out: Usually when my stress meter is pushed to the limit, I either clean my apartment or run away from the source. Jack rabbitting is often done by car, not actual running, and often results in comfort foods (and following guilt). Working 1.5 jobs has amped up my stress level, resulting in minimal energy for anything that isn't work-related. In my free time, I either want to zone out on the couch, sleep, or do lazy things which require zero running. 
  2. Frustration & Disappointment: I've been struggling with the 150 pound plateau for several months. I've pushed hard to get down to 146, but it comes back on faster than it comes off. I've been working hard at running, but my times (endurance, stamina, and flexibility) aren't improving. Looking at the photos from my two races in Central Park in the last two months, I don't look thinner. I'm not achieving my goals and I hate the cameras for adding ten pounds.
  3. Satisfaction Saboteurs: I know others working (or not working) on their weight loss goals, some with rather nasty cases of passive aggression.  Even though they ask me about my progress, more often than not there are back handed comments intertwined with their compliments.
Don't listen to the Itty Bitty $#itty Committee!!
With those items in mind, scraping together the gumption to take action is the hard part. Nine times out of ten, throwing in the towel feel easier, though far less gratifying. Also, devising an action plan is only a small part of what one needs to do to make the changes necessary. Committing a plan to paper, blog, tattoo, headstone, what have you, is a great start. Just don't forget the other part: acting on it.
  1. Support System: Whenever I am feeling low, I think about my family, friends, and runner buddies. I think about all the positive energy they've given me this far in my journey. If I am in a rut, even just a quick phone call or text, lifts my spirits. Many of my friends and family are in different levels or fitness and have different goals, and I know that I have to give back what I receive from them. Taking without giving back disrupts the balance, and the last thing I want to do is be selfish.
  2. Accountability: I've signed up for a list of races between now and September, but without training, I am most likely to injure myself on the path to success. Signing up for a training program which requires a financial commitment sounds like a worthwhile investment, but until I can consistently utilize the free tools available to me, I need to work on phasing out my inner procrastinator. Once I am able to pare
  3. Sunshine: Even if it's not a run, just pushing myself out the door for a 20 minute walk works wonders. I often wonder if I am partially solar powered (or just vitamin D deficient). Depending on the time of year, I like running at different times of day. In the spring and autumn, I prefer midday or high afternoon (when its bright and not too cold). Winter calls for morning runs (to shake off the desire to hibernate), or treadmill work inside in the early afternoon (before the sun sets at 5PM). Summertime is the trickiest, as early morning runs require me dragging my lazy bones out of bed before 7AM. 
  4. Patience: When I am tired or stressed, my patience runs rather thin. As of January, I've realized that I have bitten off more than I can chew. Admitting that is rather hard, but coming to terms with it is essential if I am to overcome it. 
  5. Change Up: If I find myself struggling, I try something new: a new location, a new playlist, a new book, (and sometimes a new running article). Reading about running, especially with Runner's World, has kept my imagination fresh when it comes to running. Though more often than not, it makes me want to do more shopping! ;) Learning about this sport has kept my interest fresh.
I'm looking to take my lemons and make one heck of a lemonade this summer. It certainly won't be easy, but the pay off will be quite refeshing!


  1. I'm a bit slow to comment on this one, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm pulling for you. I also wanted to thank you and your mom for being my Nike+ buddies. It seriously helps with *my* motivation to have someone else pushing herself in the same way that I am.

    I'm still a long way from making it to that marathon I want to run, but I will get there if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Take care, chica.

  2. Rusty, I have realized that having a support system has really helped me get my act together when I am feeling down. Even simple things like comments here have a great impact.

    Seriously, do things at your own pace. I did things completely backwards, starting with NW1/2M. I am quickly learning that different training techniques are necessary to run different distances effectively. I hope we can all converge on another race. If you and Ally aren't ready for the Princess 1/2, there is a 5K even that weekend, too! (Just to think about).

    When we all chatted in Tampa in Gasparilla, it meant a great deal to me, especially with your family and mine becoming running buddies. We're family in the Nike+ sense.