Monday, August 22, 2011

On Motivation

A few weeks ago, I was participating in an organized Twitter chat about running. If you've never participated in a Twitter chat, I highly recommend it as a great way to meet others who share your interests by discussing those topics. The moderator asks a discussion question, and participants tweet their answers with the hashtag of the organized chat. In this case, I think it was #runchat, but it may have been another one.

In any case, the moderator asked the question: "What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and go for a run? Or head out after work?" Usually I am quick to tweet my answer and I know instantly what I am going to say. But for this one, I held off awhile and read what others had tweeted:

  • My marathon in two months!
  • Eating all that candy yesterday!
  • Wanting to get a PR at my next race!
  • Wanting to fit into my skinny jeans! 
  • I have to stick to my training plan!
These weren't the exact answers, but they sum up the types of things that people were saying. And I wondered if any of them applied to me. The closest I could think of was wanting to PR, but that's not the thought that enters my head when I wake up in the morning and go for a run. I might think about that during a run, and it might be my ultimate goal, but it's not my immediate motivation.

My immediate motivation is simply that I like this lifestyle. I actually look forward to waking up in the morning, hopping out of bed (and yes, I am usually pretty energized from the moment I wake up) and going outside for my run. So I finally tweeted that I don't really need anything to motivate me-- I just enjoy running so much. 

And then I thought about that answer some more. I don't enjoy the elliptical. I'm not all that crazy about pool running, and yet when I do those workouts I still have the same level of motivation and commitment. So what is it then? Addiction? Needing to get those endorphins flowing? 

I guess it's just the high. I like the way I feel when I run or do other types of exercises. I love the physical and mental challenge. I love pushing myself to the limit, and then redefining what the limits are. I love the satisfaction I get from finishing a track workout and seeing the paces and distances in my training log. 

Running Skirts
And believe it or not, I actually like doing the running laundry. I don't put any of my or my husband's technical clothes in the dryer so when they come out of the washing machine, I hand dry each garment piece by piece. I actually love that there is so much of it to do, because that means we ran a lot. When I was injured with my stress fractures, I was saddened by not having my running clothes to wash (although there was the elliptical-wear!) And once everything is dry, it's fun to fold everything and see it all organized neatly in my closet.

Somehow this blog when from Twitter chats to laundry. But as for motivation, I either don't need any, or I have an abundance of natural motivation. I've never felt "burnt out" on running, although I have felt burnt out from following training plans too rigorously and not listening to my body. 

It's also not difficult for me to take a complete rest day. I take one complete rest day each week and I look at it as part of the overall plan. Without rest days, I won't be able to properly recover and my runs will start to go downhill. So on rest days, I don't feel lazy or "fat". I do feel un-energized, but I know it's for a good cause. 

What motivates you? Are you an endorphin junkie or do you fight the "lazy bug" as my husband calls it?


  1. This is the month that counts--go get it!

  2. You can do my running laundry for me :)

    I'm a total endorphin junkie. And a fidgiter. I find it *extremely* hard to sit still -- I find it hard to sit and watch TV even.

  3. I'm going through a lazy streak right now. It started when it got too hot to do my longer runs outside. Then I was really busy after work for about 2 weeks straight. Now that it's cooling off, a TON of computer games I want to play are all coming out at once. It's hard to motivate myself when faced with new computer games. So I signed up for a few races and am now feeling more motivated.

  4. When work stress gets high, motivation goes way down, but otherwise I love to run too. And learning to listen to my body has been working wonders. And happy belated anniversary! Good job this morning :)

  5. I like to run, and don't need any external motivation - I love to get outside and move my body!. But I DON'T really like elliptical/treadmill/pool running. I'd rather go for a mountain bike ride than a pool run, so I have to remind myself it's partly for the training.

  6. hysterical. My husband is always like, your running clothes are the only things that you really make sure are properly laundered, folded and put away!!

    I agree, I originally loved the fact that I was physically capable of it. It made me feel so unstoppable. While I think that is still so, it's definitely also an addiction to the endorphin rush. Once done, I finally feel like I can relax. :)

    Great, fun post!

  7. Just found you on twitter!! love love LOVE your zebra print skirt! Where did you get it?!
    Runner's Luck

  8. Zaneta, I found you on Twitter too. I got the skirt at back in 2007. I don't think they still make the zebra print, unfortunately.

  9. I am definitely motivated by how I know I'll feel when I'm done running. Sometimes it's tough when the alarm goes off, but I know I'll feel better once I get started and I'll really regret it if I don't.

  10. I think I sarcastically answered the skinny jean answer! But like you, I enjoy the high. I pretty much like all of it, it doesn't require a lot of motivation.
    And actually, because of the greatness of #runchat, I found your blog! Yay #Runchat!

  11. A must read page, keep posting!