How Successful Runners Stay Motivated
Chasing the Runner’s High
Two friends started running together. The first one didn’t like getting up in the morning and quit after a few days. “Running was too much work” she said. The second one just completed her first marathon, even though she’d hurt her foot a few weeks back. What’s the difference?
Many “want-to-be” runners make a critical mistake. Like most people who make resolutions, runners who fail miss the key question that either makes their resolution a success…or becomes another wishful goal that bites the dust.
There are no right-or-wrong answers, but until you are clear about what’s in it for you, your running career is almost certainly doomed to failure. And understanding your running motivation is the secret to success.
Running, as with any new endeavor, brings a lot of challenges and reasons to quit. However, if you are clear about why you are running, the odds of succeeding are dramatically higher, because you have the foundation that helps you get past all the obstacles.
So why do you want to run? Here are a few answers some successful runners have told us:
I want more energy
I want to get healthy and strong
I want to lose weight (this works if it’s combined with other reasons).
Other reasons include increased self-confidence, a feeling of well-being, winning races, or just finishing a race. Another runner started because she admired the long, lean look of successful runners and she wanted to look like them.
You might be motivated by how great you look when you see yourself in a mirror; or the sense of pride and accomplishment when you achieve smaller steps along the way.
One runner we spoke with didn’t think she was competitive and that lack of competitive instinct hurt her at work. But she discovered that she didn’t have to be competitive to run. In fact, her running friends helped her understand the teamwork required to be a successful runner, which also helped her look at her job differently. The end result was she ran (and finished) her first marathon and at the same time, received a promotion because of her improved attitude and confidence.
The motivation secret
The secret to capturing and using your motivation starts with recognizing the power of emotions with writing your vision on paper.
The best motivators trigger emotions. Look at the difference between “I want more energy” with “I want the energy to play with my grandchildren.” The first is just a statement. The second has the emotions of love, regret at not having energy, possibly ashamed for physical failings. And studies have shown that the emotions are the trigger to blasting through reasons to quit.
So sit down with a piece of paper and start writing down your reasons. Picture yourself running and feeling terrific. What other feelings come up for you? Write as long as you can, then put the list aside for a few hours. When you come back to it you’ll find other reasons, deeper and more powerful reasons that eluded you.
Motivators are the fuel of your running engine. They keep you going when others stop. Get your motivators listed and keep them handy. That’s what the successful runner did to help her finish her first marathon.
Once you get the clarity of your underlying motivation, you will be ready for the next step of setting a successful running strategy.
Cade Holmseth, an award-winning massage therapist
Specializes in using massage and bodywork to help runners stay healthy, strong and active. He discovered that a sports massage helps a runner’s body heal itself naturally, because of increased circulation and muscle relaxation. As he works with athletes, he continues to learn about what motivates and makes them successful. One of the “best-kept secrets”, says Cade, “is that highly successful runners get a weekly sports massage.” Contact Cade to make your appointment.