I was inspired to write this post today after going out on a long training run. I got thinking about motivation for a long whilst out running – I took my dog out for the first 6 miles of it and he really gave me food for thought. He never needs motivation to go out there and run with me, he loves it. As soon as he sees his lead he is raring to go. He doesn’t need any encouragement, he lives in the moment.
I went to bed last night, reading the fabulous running book Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes. The first chapter I could read again and again – I find is words so inspiring.
So off to sleep I went, full of excitement at my impending run.
I woke up this morning at 7:00 am to brilliant sunshine and made my Turbo Coffee drink (as you know, I like to run fasted).
As I lay in bed, coffee in hand and plotting my route I had that strange fluttery feeling in my chest.
You see, it is the furthest I have run in training for over 15 years.
It was as if my motivation had disappeared.
My inner monkey started with:
“What if you feel terrible?”
“You haven’t run that far in years”
“You are tired, you will be exhausted afterward and you have a full day at work”.
So I started procrastinating.
I put all the washing away, I surfed Facebook for a while, I started looking for new Running Shoes on the Nike Store.
And a wonderful image came up on my screen whilst searching for a particular shoe….
That Nike slogan was just what I needed.
So I got up, got dressed and set out.
You know what? The run felt amazing.
Admittedly, I got half-way and started to stiffen up but kept going and was rewarded for it. The last 7 miles felt like a dream.
Here is what I want to share with you, I thought about it on my run and wrote it down as soon as I got back:
- It really helps if you give your inner monkey some concrete answers to the questions. For example – Will I feel terrible? Yeah maybe. But maybe not! If you do, it will pass and you still got out there and went running.
- Ask yourself – Are you in? As the title image suggests, asking yourself this question will help. If you are going to go running then throw yourself into it completely. Don’t do it because someone told you that you needed to. Don’t go if you are super pressured to do something else that is urgent. You won’t enjoy it. Commit to your run when you have time and go ALL IN.
- Read some interesting books or blog posts from runners that inspire you. I have a few favourites and Dean Karnazes is an Ultra Runner who never fails to inspire me.
- Search on YouTube for videos of marathon runners crossing the finish line and look at their faces. It never fails to get my running juices going.
- Find a reward for going out on that run – make it something small that will keep you going through your run. Weirdly, the thought of a handful of salted pecans keeps me going!
If procrastination is a particular ‘skill’ for you then try a few of these tips:
Dealing with procrastination:
- All those things that you do when avoiding going out on a run are never important. Trust me. I have done some hilarious things when procrastinating like organizing my reading books in alphabetical order on my book shelves…..
- Write down those things that you want to do and then promise yourself you can do them when you return (99% of the time you won’t).
- The night before your run put a calendar entry on your phone with an alert 30 minutes before you want to set off. I forgot to do this last night and regretted it. When I do it, I stick to it.
- Ask yourself if you are procrastinating out of fear (most of the time it will be). If that is the case then find some evidence to argue it. For example – if you are out for a long run then pick a route that you have already done. That will give you a piece of certainty. Or if you haven’t run the distance before then make the last 20% of it near your home so that you have certainty that you can get home.
There is a fabulous website called Wait But Why – by a legend called Tim Urban. He has a must-watch Ted Talk on procrastination here This talk made a lot of sense to me as well as making me laugh out loud….
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves “Are You In”? and then laugh at our own peculiarities…..
So I finished my run today and ended up by the River in Richmond, Surrey. The sun was still shining and I took this photo to share with you, it was my reward for the distance today and I sat by the river eating my salted pecans and enjoyed every mouthful.
Let me know if I can help you with procrastination and motivation and if you have any more tips and tricks for dealing with them I would LOVE to hear from you.
If you are going out for a run then have an AMAZING one.