Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Running motivation can come from unlikely sources

This post was written for the folks at Run Reviews, a website that reviews treadmills.

One of the hardest things in running is simply getting started. Every day. There's always something else to do, or things just don't feel right, and before you know it, another day has passed without getting the daily run in. How can one find the daily motivation to run and exercise?

The standard answer to this is to find some big goal and train for that. It might be to run a certain time in a race, or to complete a run of a certain distance. Lot's of people start running with the goal of finishing a marathon. Others do it to get down to a certain weight by some future date. And goal setting in this manner, where the goal is specific and time bound, does work. In fact, I have simply entered races two or three months in advance simply to give myself another reason to run over that time. So if you are looking to find extra incentive to run, setting a specific, challenging goal for yourself is a good way to do it.

But not everyone can be training for the big race all the time. Sometimes in our lives, family, work, and other important commitments take priority. What to do then? Instead, think about all the things you like to do in your life that would be better if you are in good running shape. Of course, "good running shape" means different things to different people, but you probably have a good idea what that means for you.

Perhaps you'd want to have more energy to keep up with your kids, or to maintain your energy at work. If you're like me, if you're not running, you tend to gain weight and no longer fit into your clothes, and get tired easily. I happen to enjoy drinking craft beer and eating ice cream, two foods that by themselves, do not compose a healthy diet. But I enjoy them both in moderation, knowing that as long as I'm still running, the negative effects of these foods are largely, if not totally cancelled out. Life, for me and a lot of other people, would be pretty bad without craft beer and ice cream.

So you don't have to be training for the big race to find your running motivation. Simply find the the little things in life that matter to you, and ask yourself how running would help you enjoy those things more. Once you find those things, the motivation to run will start taking care of itself.

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