Monday, July 9, 2012

Finding Motivation

It's a struggle more days than not to find motivation. Especially on days where I don't feel the best. Or on days where I feel great and can think of a million and one things I'd rather do than go for a run or work out. And unfortunately, just getting out there isn't always enough. As I said in my last post, I went for a run yesterday, and I had a hard time getting started, even after I had gotten to my favorite place to run, had stretched, warmed up, etc.

So how do we motivate? What do we do to keep going? I try to tell myself things like "You can do this, you've done it before." That rarely works though, and I'm not sure why. Music plays a pretty important part in motivation. The right music can keep me going throughout my entire run. The wrong music can slow me down too much. When I'm in a bad mood, I need fast-paced music. The kind of music that does all the yelling and screaming for me and says all the awful things I want to say out loud. And while the music does that, I run hard for as long as I can. When I'm in a good mood, I still need the faster-paced music, but I need something more positive. That's harder to find. Not impossible, but it's hard. I'm not saying that happy music in general is hard to find, or that all happy songs are too slow, or whatever. But it's hard to find the right songs for me, especially to run to. I've also noticed I need to redo my workout playlists. I've started skipping over a lot of songs/artists because I'm tired of hearing them, or they no longer serve as motivation. I'm super lazy about doing that stuff though...

Motivation is hard to do. Sometimes even the right music just isn't enough. It's hard to keep going when your legs ache and it gets increasingly harder to breathe. Honestly? I hate having people see me walk. Sure, they don't know that I just sprinted up a hill. Or that my lungs are about to collapse. For all they know I just finished running 5 miles. But I think everyone assumes that I've either been walking the entire time (and I must be out of shape--look at how much I'm sweating and how out of breath I am) or that I tried running and I quit because it was too hard. That is what I'm thinking every time a car passes me when I'm walking when I should be running. Or when another runner passes me. And God forbid someone I know sees me. So out of this  . . . fear? I've found a new motivator. Would I want someone I know--anyone--to see me walking, to think I'm not in good enough shape to keep running? NO. I want anyone and everyone to know I'm strong enough and capable of running. Even if I have to slow down because it hurts or it's hard to breathe, I'm still running. That's what I want people to see. I don't want them to see me walking--giving up, quitting. I'm better than that, and I know it.

Of course that doesn't always work. Sometimes it really is just too hard to breathe to keep going. Or too hot. (Although the high today is only supposed to be 88!) And I do my best to run through the pain. It's difficult to draw the line between running through the pain because it's not really as bad as my head tells me it is, and when I should stop and rest and use ice or whatever before injuring myself badly. Really, how do you tell when you're doing too much before it's too late and the damage is done? It's a fine line.

Another motivation that I find useful (at least at Creve Coeur) is old people who are in great shape (or are trying to be), and overweight people trying to lose weight/be healthier, etc. I see them running or riding bikes and not giving up. If they can do it, so can I. It is a little discouraging when old people are lapping you though. I'm 22 years old and some 80 year old woman just passed me, running with knee replacements, wrinkly arms, and saggy boobs--which reminds me: Ladies, please wear bras in general, and please wear supportive ones while exercising! Living in a college town means a lot more young people exercising which can get discouraging.

Also, I'd like to point out that no, I do not really care what other people think about me generally. But what I don't want people to think is that I'm weak or incapable. Because I'm not. I'm strong and I know it, and I want other people to know that, too. I'm not as strong as I want to be--mentally or physically--but I will be.

If any of you have some motivational techniques you use, feel free to pass them along! :)