I can’t believe I just wrote marathon monday in a post title. Didn’t I swear up and down that I wasn’t going to run a full this year? Yes, yes I did. And here I sit. At a point where I should be consistently running and training in preparation for the Chicago Marathon, and I can’t seem to dredge up my motivation. What. The. Heck.
I usually itch to start a new training plan. I bust out a fresh new calendar and colored pens with my training plan of choice. I go to town penning in all my runs and workouts(as if it’ll all actually go according to plan, but I know better) and excitedly anticipate the start to any new training session. Not this time.
Chicago is an amazing opportunity. I am beyond excited about running it but for some reason I can’t seem to find the motivation to really jump into training mode. Ever been there? Obviously, training is critical to any race. It’s extremely helpful to be well prepared. But a marathon? Um, training is NECESSARY. I’m not the runner that can max at 10 miles and go run a marathon. If you are, kuddo’s. I’m no an elite runner and it’s not something that comes naturally. It comes with a lot of hard work.
For me, consistency is key. If I’m ont running consistently, well then I suck. It’s true. I get slower and lethargic. I have a hard time controlling my breathing and feel overall like every run is a total crap fest. So, with a major marathon on the horizon(yea, like a little over 4 months away…insert panic), what am I going to do to boost my motivation???
Here are a few things I’m in the process of doing that are helping me get motivated and back on track after week’s of set backs. Maybe it’ll help you too with whatever you are training for, or for your general fitness or sport.
1. Keep Moving
So, in case you haven’t heard, the past few week’s in Texas have been damp to say the least. Parts of our neighborhood have been flooded over the weekend and outside runs have been sparse. Plus, dreary rainy days say nothing but please stay in your pj’s and cuddle on the couch watching Frozen all morning long. By the time you get up and around the feeling of lethargy seems almost impossible to shake. So, I’m trying to make myself move. Clean the kitchen, play outside with Lila or the boys after school when we get a break from the crazy rain, projects around the house. You name it, I’m doing it. Yes, I have some downtime snuggling with Lila and enjoying some of the rainy days, but for the most part, I’m trying to keep myself busy so I don’t crash. This helps keep my motivation to move up instead of non existent.
I got sick. Kids got sick. Rain started and hasn’t stopped. Schedules got busy. School activities happened. We went to Spain. We got back to life with a healthy dose of jet lag. Life. Life is good and sweet so I never want to look at these things as inconveniences or things that mess up my training. Time with my husband and kids doesn’t mess up my training. It’s more important than my training. At the same time, I have to make some time to train so I enter this thing healthy and not injured. So, in comes the balance game. My goal right now as I try to restore my base is consistency. If I can only run a mile, I run a mile. If I get 20 minutes, I kill it for 20 minutes. If I have to skip a day, I pick up the next day without feeling defeated. No one can make you commit. You have to make the choice to stay committed to your journey, whatever it may be. Keep your priorities in line but make time to workout as consistently as you can. Right now, my runs are slow and hard. I’m sore from the smallest amount of lifting. But I know it will get better, so I’ll keep doing it, even when it sucks big time.
3. Make a plan
I know, duh. Run a marathon, follow a plan. Makes sense right? Even though this seems really clear, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. You may feel you are really far behind where you should be or just feel lost in the great big world of fitness. I’ve found writing out a plan makes the biggest difference to my success. It gives me a guide to follow and writing it out helps solidify the plan in my mind so I know where to start, but more importantly it reminds me of where I want to end up. So, write it down.
4. Assess your nutrition
Maybe a few less of theeeeeeeese. Ouch. But look how small???!!! I am calling that a win since it was bite size. And I was on vacation ok. But you get the idea.
I know. Boo. The cake and donuts and chips and guac is so good. I get it. But, any time I start to see a lull in my energy or my training, I look at my nutrition. What goes in directly affects what comes out as far as performance. I’m not telling you never to eat a burger again, because I don’t get into rigid nutrition “rules” but I will tell you that making wise choices with your food will make a huge impact on how you feel. I love food. Good food. So, I have to be careful that I don’t love it too much. That I’m making good choices, getting lots of fruits and veggies and water and that the not so healthy stuff is an occasional choice not an every day one. Try to stay away from processed foods and sugar. It will make a huge impact on your energy and motivation, plus you’ll feel less guilt when you do decide to indulge. Because life is too short not to enjoy some treats now and then.
So, these are my very simple goals. Even with several marathons under my belt, I get in rut’s. Everyone does, so if that’s where you find yourself today, please PLEASE don’t feel defeated. Being healthy is a choice. A lifetime choice. In the span of our lifetime a lot is going to happen to cause us to feel “off course.” So, you have to be able to pick up those pieces and get moving, even if it’s hard. Even when it’s discouraging. Even when it feels like everyone around you is moving faster or doing better. Do your own thing and be proud of the progress you have made and will make. And please friend, don’t throw in the towel. You are so worth the time it takes to be healthy. So make the time and stay the course.
How do you stay motivated when your energy fades or life happens?