How to keep up motivation during a run and NOT QUIT!

I recently received a question asking for advice on how to keep up motivation during a workout. This person found that they would always only do the minimum, and sometimes would consciously even give up early but couldn’t figure out how to make themselves stop. I’m sure this is a problem for many, many of you out there, so here is my advice.

I want you to take a moment to remember what motivated you to start running in the first place. When you reach that point in your run where you are about to quit, remind yourself why you are running. 

Picture your ultimate goal. Do you want it? The only way to get it is to make a plan and stick to it, every time. The fact that you are already running means that you can do it. The images you see all over tumblr of people who started out 300 pounds and now are down to 150 didn’t do it by quitting 2 minutes early because “that’s good enough.” They did it by running 2 minutes longer. People who run marathons don’t quit at mile 25 because “eh, I still ran 25 miles…that’s good enough.” The next time you want to run for 30 minutes and find yourself making excuses at 28, think of this…in your head 2 minutes doesn’t seem like it’s going to make much difference but those 2 minutes add up to 6, 8, 10 minutes weekly…which adds up to an ENTIRE run (or more) lost in the course of a month. At 28 minutes, you’re already exhausted, you already feel like you are dying, why not just keep going? Wouldn’t you rather have an entire day off running than quit 2 minutes early every time? 

Now take a long, hard, look at WHY you are quitting so often. What excuses are you making, and how can you do something to make those excuses not valid anymore? Use your rational, pre-run, motivated self to get rid of all of the excuses that your tired, during-run self will try to come up with. Turn off your phone. Charge your ipod. If it’s hot inside turn on the fan before you even start. If it’s cold outside purchase cold-weather running gear so that you can’t use that as an excuse to stop early. Etc. etc.

There’s the all-too-familiar excuse of, “I’m bored.” If you find that you are quitting early because you are bored then you should try to switch up your workout to make it more interesting. First, vary the time, distance, incline, and intensity of each of your workouts. If you run, say, 20 minutes 3 times a week for 10 years straight, not only will you be bored to death but you’ll still gain weight because your body won’t be challenged and so your metabolism won’t really increase. But if you run 20 minutes one time, then 30 minutes uphill, then 40 minutes easy, then 25 with some intervals, etc etc…not only will your metabolism be getting kicked into gear, but you won’t be as bored at every workout because you will constantly be tackling new and different challenges. And trust me, after doing 20 minutes of intense hills, running for 30 minutes straight on flat ground the next time will feel like a dream.

If you are a treadmill runner you could also try running outside every so often. Even if you hate it, you won’t quit from boredom, and the change will boost your metabolism. Map out a route that is a little more than you usually run and pick a landmark as your finish line. I find that I am less likely to quit early if I have a physical goal instead of running by the clock. You could also try adding new music to your ipod so that you are actually excited to hear it while you are running instead of being bored with the same old songs again. Put your favorite song at the end, past the time that you usually stop running. If you watch TV while running on the treadmill, run during your FAVORITE show. I’m talking, don’t miss a single episode, ever. Run slow enough that you can still pay attention to the show, but make a rule that if you stop running before the show is over you can never watch the part you miss later.

If your excuse is, ”I’ll just do more tomorrow instead,” please acknowledge right now that you are telling yourself a bold-faced lie. Tomorrow will be no different from today. If you quit today you will quit tomorrow. It will never end. And if you keep it up, your motivation is going to get less and less and before you know it your metabolism is going to follow suit. And one day you won’t even run anymore. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…running is 90% mental strength, 10% physical. If you are finding that your mind is the one that is failing you by telling you it’s okay to quit early, maybe you should take a step back and focus on training your mind instead of your body right now. Stop focusing on speed or distance or time. Instead make a specific running schedule at the beginning of the week AND STICK TO IT. For example, “Monday-630pm-30 minute run on treadmill, Weds-8pm-20 minute intervals of 1 min sprint, 2 min jog, Fri-6pm-20 minutes of hill program on treadmill, Sun-11am-3 mile run outside, from my mailbox to the Smith’s mailbox and back to my mailbox.” Your only goal for that week is to run when you say you will run, for the amount of time that you allotted, no less.

It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.

-Tumblr default quote, Wisdom of Confucius 

Another tactic is to start thinking this: “If I do it today, I don’t have to do it tomorrow.” This was my #1 motivating thought at the beginning, and actually still is today. My reward for running was not running! Before you run, set a goal for yourself. Say you usually run 3 miles (or however many minutes you usually do). Tell yourself that if you run 4 miles today, you can take tomorrow off. But if you quit before 4 then you have to start all over tomorrow and run 4 again. This way the reward (a guilt-free day off) is so much better than the consequence for quitting, that even your exhausted self will recognize the benefit of just running those extra minutes. Of course once my day off came I would always remind myself again, “If I just run today I can take tomorrow off instead,” which motivated me to actually continue to run most days.

I am at the point now where I rarely know how long I will be out running for…all I know is that I will be running for at least X minutes or miles, but 75% of the time I go longer. You can get there, but only if you WANT to, and only if you focus on training your mind to think that quitting is unacceptable. I know you want this…that’s why you run! So take some time to train your mind out of those excuses, and before you know it you will run to your goal every single time.

I’ve mentioned before in my posts how important it is to stay relaxed when running outside, but this video really explains it well. When I’m running on trails I am so used to it that I don’t even realize I’m doing anything different until I run with other people who only run on the road or treadmill and I see them struggling. Fear is the only thing holding you back!

My actual foot today!

My actual foot today!

Tips on how to keep running outside even after daylight savings.

Are you mentally lazy?

I have spent the past few weeks pretty mad at myself, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. I came to the realization that I have become lazy. Not physically lazy, but mentally lazy. I still run. All the time. But I take shortcuts now. I give up easily. The reason why I was able to go from never-having-exercised-in-my-life to running half marathons is because my personality is stubborn and determined. I do not fail at anything that I put my mind to. I don’t cut corners, I never take the easy way out. I don’t quit. Or at least I didn’t used to.

And that goes for the little things too. The little things are more important, because if you slack on those then your mind is already lost. For example, when I started running and I would come to a fork in the path, and one went uphill and one went straight, I ALWAYS picked the uphill. If there was a branch on the ground I would take one giant leap to get over it rather than slowing down and pussy-footing around it. When I was doing fartlek or intervals, I would sprint full speed all the way until the goal, not one inch before. When going on a 6 mile run, I would go at least 6.1 miles…5.9 didn’t count. When I ran around a corner, I always ran the entire way around and (quite literally) never cut corners. When doing crunches and other exercises, I ALWAYS did the minimum amount, no matter how tired or sore I was. I was my own strictest coach. Was.

I have spent the past couple weeks trying to re-train myself. Trying to get back to the person that I have always been proud of. I realized that I had gotten too comfortable with myself and my runs. It had become too easy, and I didn’t need to work as hard to achieve the same results. What difference did it make if I stopped at 5.9 miles? I have already achieved my “goal weight”, and I have already accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible. With the amount that I run now, I can eat whatever I want (if I want to). Running more or trying to get faster won’t change that. And I think deep down I knew this and so I let myself get lazy.

But I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t even run to stay in shape. I run because running embodies everything that I am. Determined, hard working, never completely satisfied. I should always need to run longer, faster, enter more races, have better form, learn knew techniques. These are the things that make me who I am, who I have always been…continuously striving to be better, every single run. Always working towards a goal, and when I reach that goal, creating a new one. Over and over and over. Until I physically cannot run anymore.

Along the way I lost this, but as soon as I realized it was happening I started to kick my ass back into gear. I am on the road to “recovery”, and I can finally feel good about myself, my character, again. It was a minor blip in the radar, but I’m back on track! Yesterday I was running on the treadmill and I wanted to prematurely decrease my speed slightly, but instead I made myself go those 5 extra minutes. And I remembered, “Oh yeah, this is what it feels like!” It feels so good to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, something I had forgotten. So I ask each and every one of you to assess your mindset when you run now. Are you still pushing yourself as hard as you were 2 months, or a year ago? It’s okay to take rest days or even weeks where you consciously don’t push yourself as hard, but if you are presented with a fork in the road and you don’t pick uphill, I urge you to spend the next few weeks concentrating on your willpower…training your mind to always pick the hardest path, because it’s those little things that really will permeate into your entire attitude towards running and life in general. It’s those little things that will make you a successful runner in the long run.

A mental checklist to help when the going gets tough

The next time you are pushing yourself really hard and feel like you can’t keep going much longer, concentrate on what your body is doing. Not only will concentrating on improving your form help you to run longer and faster, but it will help to keep your mind off of your pain.

Start with your head and work your way down to your feet. Is your hair drenched in sweat? Is sweat dripping down your forehead into your eyes?

Now your ears. If you are listening to an ipod, what song is playing right now? Try to concentrate on the song for a few seconds.  Are your earphones staying in your ears or do you need to find some new ones? Can you hear your feet hitting the ground?

Speaking of which, are you looking at the ground right now? Make sure that you keep your chin up and your eyes ahead of you.

Next are your nose and mouth. Are you gasping for breath, frantically in and out through your mouth? Try to breath in through your nose (your mouth can still be open, just try to direct your inhale through your nose), and then out through your mouth. And are you forgetting to swallow?

Now to your posture. Are you slouching? Try to keep your shoulders up and back…this will give your lungs more room to expand when you inhale…making it possible to inhale more air with each breath, which will up your endurance and make you much more able to tackle those extra minutes or miles that you are currently struggling with.

And now your lungs and your breathing. Are you keeping a steady rhythm with your breaths? Calm down and take deep, slow, regular breaths. The key here is regularity. If you inhale for 3 counts make sure that you train your body to exhale for the same amount, not less. The breathing is very important, so stay on this step as long as you need to.

Now concentrate on your heart.  Concentrate on feeling your heart beating, feeling your blood pumping through your veins.

Your arms. Are you swinging them out of control? Reel them back in a little. Keep them close to your body. Don’t swing them across your chest, but back and forth, perpendicular to your body with your elbows at right angles.

Down to your hands. Are they clenched in fists? Try to relax them a bit, having them in fists does nothing but stress you out.

Your boobs. Is your sports bra working? Do you need to look into something with more support, or something that wicks away moisture better?

On to your stomach. Do you feel like you want to vomit? Good! That means that you are really pushing yourself. Do you have a side stitch? Try to run taller to stretch out your stomach. Deep breaths also help to stretch it out.

Your crotch. Is your underwear soaked with sweat? Do you need to invest in some of those running shorts that have underpants sewn in? Yeah probably. Okay next.

Think of your ass for a second. No matter how big your ass is, when you are running it looks GOOD. All of your butt muscles are tight and in use right now.

Now is when you mentally check all of your leg muscles and joints to make sure everything is working okay. Are you hips feeling okay? Are your thighs burning? How are your knees? Do you need to look into some different running sneakers with more cushioning or support? How are your calves feeling? Any shin splints? How about the ankles?

And here we are to the feet! First try to isolate any aches or pains and figure out the cause. Are your arches supported enough? Are you landing on your feet in a way that makes them hurt? Any blisters? Do your feet feel cramped or too loose in your shoes?

Now that you have distracted yourself with all of these things and maximized your running form, look how close you are to the finish line!

Why I miss being a beginner runner

I am by no means an expert, however I’m definitely not a beginner anymore. This means that I have crossed over from dreading a run to looking forward to it. Running is no longer a chore but a hobby. I can actually enjoy the act of running instead of being miserable and wishing for it to be over the entire time. I am so happy to have gotten to this point, but in talking to my beginner friends it got me to thinking about all the things I miss about the beginning of my journey as a runner, and despite their pain I envy them…because I never get to go back. They will look back on their experiences one day and remember this time fondly, as I do, because it is such a brief, but significant, moment in their lives that will have shaped them into stronger, better people. It’s such a unique thing to be able to pinpoint that exact moment in your life, and it’s something that all beginning runners are so lucky to have in common.

When I first started running, every minute was a huge accomlishment. I could run for 10 minutes and go about the rest of the day feeling proud. Now I have to run 30 minutes just to feel like I did anything of worth. I’m not doing any less during a 10 minute run now…if anything I am doing more because my metabolism is higher…but psychologically I will never go back to feeling proud of a 10 minute run, and that is such a shame because 10 minutes is 10 minutes more running than many people ever do in their entire lives. Every single time you take a step in running shoes you should feel proud.

In the beginning, I was making giant progress every day. I still have emails from the first month documenting my progress that I look back on from time to time, and the most overwhelming feeling I get from them is how every day even a quarter of a mile increase made me so very happy. But that quarter mile a day added up to significant progress every week. After just a few days I went from not being able to run one block, to completing my first non-stop mile. After 2 weeks I was able to run 2 miles without stopping. Now my progress is more like, “I ran 13 miles last week, maybe I’ll try 15 miles today.” It’s the same type of thing but on a much grander scale…which means that if 13 is my record, running 13.25 the next time won’t cut it for me anymore. 13.25 miles would be a failure to me now, which is truly a shame. But there’s no going back.

At the beginning I felt that I had to run almost every day or else I would lose all the progress I had made and the next time I ran would be more difficult again. Not entirely untrue. When you are a beginner, running is like trying to ride a bike up a very steep hill. Every pedal is excruciating, but the key is to go slow and steady because if you stop, starting again is 10x more difficult. Now that I am in shape, I could probably go a week or more without running and pick up right where I left off. My only motivation to keep it up regularly is wanting to do it. Which is great!…except for the days when I don’t want to. It’s hard to make yourself run when there are almost no consequences if you don’t. As a beginner I needed to run, or else. Sometimes I miss having that incentive.

When I first started out, running gave me a sense of purpose. I felt that I was contributing to my own health and also a part of this larger running community that cared and supported what I was doing. I of course still feel this way, but it has shifted now to more of a necessity. Not need in the sense I mentioned above…needing to or else paying the physical consequences…but need for my psychological well-being. I don’t do it for my health anymore, and I definitely don’t do it to try to belong to this greater community of runners. Rather I run now because it is who I am. I would be lost without it. Running has become part of my identity, and every day that I don’t run I feels wrong. While I suppose this could be seen as a good thing, sometimes I wonder…is it a good addiction or are all addictions bad? I sometimes wish that I could go back to when my need to run was still as innocent as just trying to make myself a better person. 

So the moral of this story? Beginners, cherish every single excruciating moment and every single quarter mile increase and every moment of DREAD that you feel. Because if you keep it up, you will not always feel this way…and once you cross over to the other side there is no going back. Right now, in this moment, you are making a chapter in the history of your life that you will look back on as one of the most important chapters in the entire story of your life.

Running on a treadmill

I focus a lot on outdoor running in my posts…because I am a die-hard outdoor runner. I will almost always choose to run outside if I can, but often when I am traveling for work I have no option but to run on the treadmill at the hotel or nearby gym. Either I get home too late to safely run outside, or the area around the hotel is not safe to run in, or the only running option is concrete sidewalks (which are not okay with me because they hurt my joints), or 4 feet of snow is covering every surface outside. At first I dreaded those times, but I have to say I have really grown to love and look forward to my treadmill workouts. There are also some definite benefits to running on a treadmill over outdoor running, and I think a good mix of both would probably be ideal.

One reason I dreaded the treadmill was because on a treadmill you are always aware of how fast you are running, so I would put it on the pace that I thought I should be at, not what was comfortable for me.  I’m not sure if it is a mentality that most people have, but when I step on that treadmill I think, “I should be running at an 8 minute mile,” so that’s what I program it to, even if I would be running at a 9 minute mile pace outside that day. And when you run outside, if your body needs to slow down for say, 30 seconds, just to recoup, it does it without you even knowing, whereas on a treadmill you can’t slow down unless you consciously, manually, change the program. So a treadmill workout for me means pushing myself harder than I would outside. I still do this when I run on a treadmill, but now I see it as a benefit, of course. I get some of my best workouts on the treadmill now.

When I first started running I hated the treadmill because I thought it was so boring, a common complaint I think. It really made running feel like a chore to me. But then I came across my first fitness room that had a T.V. and learned the joys of running while satisfying my guilty pleasure of bad T.V.-watching. I don’t have a real T.V. at home (only internet), so being able to watch live television during my workouts became a real treat. After leaving my first T.V./treadmill job, going back to running outside with an ipod took a little getting used to again!

One little trick that I started doing while watching television on the treadmill was to up the speed during commercial breaks. If I was running at a 6.5 pace, I would up it to 7 or 7.5 during commercials. It’s a perfect way to get some interval training in, because instead of getting bored during the commercials you are concentrating on breathing and running fast. If any of you try this at home, you aren’t allowed to decrease the pace until your T.V. show actually comes back on. Local commercials or ads for other television shows on that network don’t count! Sometimes those local commercials seem to go on forever when you have been sprinting for 2 minutes and feel like you are going to fall off the treadmill any second. But it’s a great lesson in self control and discipline, and teaches your mind and body not to cut corners and to always push right until the end (helpful especially if you ever want to do races, but also just for life in general). Note: if you really can’t keep up with the treadmill, by all means slow down or STOP! No treadmill injuries please!

Another trick similar to the commercial trick that I have used on a treadmill, is if there is a show I want to watch on television during my run, I have to run for the entire show. If I stop before the show is over, I’m not allowed to watch the rest of it online later. It’s incredible how unimportant even your favorite T.V. show can feel when all you want to do is stop running! But often that little bit of incentive is enough to make me run those extra minutes…if it’s not a commercial break and I have already run for my goal amount of time, I do let myself slow down a little to watch the end of the show. 

I still have difficulty running on treadmills that have no television and all I have is my ipod but no outside physical stimulation. When this happens I try to make my treadmill workouts super intense and shorter. That way I don’t have time to feel bored because I am pushing myself and feeling like I am going to die the entire time instead. A great way to make your workout even more productive is by upping the incline on the treadmill. Running on a treadmill is innately easier than running outside anyway, for a few reasons. Outside you have wind resistance that slows you down. Also outside terrain is not uniformly flat or straight, so your body is constantly having to adjust to hills and turns. And lastly, a treadmill propels you forward, whereas outside you have only yourself to make you move forward. This is why most people run faster on a treadmill. But if you up your treadmill incline it will help with many of the issues I have mentioned. Research has shown that a 1% incline on the treadmill mimics running outside on a flat, even surface. I usually up it to 3 or 4%, because my outdoor routes always have some hills and 1% doesn’t really seem like enough to me. Even as I’m writing this I’m wondering why I have never put it on 10% or more…I will next time!

I mentioned earlier how a treadmill has a flat, even surface whereas running outdoors makes your body have to account for random obstacles, surface changes, curves, etc. For this reason there is less chance of injury from a sprained ankle on a treadmill, so it is a good option for beginners…you already have enough to worry about! However if you are interested in long term running and/or conditioning your entire body, I think that it is important to get some outside running in as well. Not to mention that outdoor running pertains a lot more to real life! For example, if you are walking home alone at night and someone attacks you, you will be much more prepared to run away if you’ve had some outside running experience. If you only know the treadmill, your body would feel clumsy trying to run for the first time outside…you would have to propel yourself, move side to side to avoid obstacles, possibly run over a curb or up a hill. The transition to outdoors is a much bigger change than you realize. If you do decide to try it, expect your ankles and other joints and muscles to hurt in new ways because they are being utilized so differently. This is normal! If you are just starting to add an outdoor regimen, add the outdoor runs very gradually, and expect some strange aches and pains as your body adjusts. If possible, find an even, packed dirt trail, because this would be the softest on your joints while also providing enough support with minimum obstacles.

Of course, if you are strictly a treadmill runner and that is working for you, stick with what you know and love! Do keep in mind though that I was a die-hard outdoor runner, but once I gave the treadmill a chance I learned to love that too. It has been great at getting me out of my casual, outdoor rut, where I had stopped pushing myself very hard. There are benefits to both, and I urge you to try it all! Outdoor runners, don’t think of the treadmill as a curse this winter…try some of my tips and perhaps you will be able to fight those winter blues. And treadmill runners, get out there and just see what it’s like to have to propel yourself in a real outdoor scenario. Even if you hate it, at least you will know what it’s like. Think of all the runs you will do in your life, why not switch it up sometimes? 

Running when you are sick

I am currently fighting off a cold (okay fine, have a cold…I’m stubborn). It seems as though it’s cold season because Duane Reade was all sold out of DayQuil, NyQuil, and Airborne, so I can reasonably assume that this post will pertain to many of you, either now or in the next few weeks.

When I say “sick” I mean a cold. Anything more serious should be managed by a doctor. If you can’t go to work, you should not run. If you can’t get out of bed, don’t run. But a cold is that borderline sickness that makes it difficult for you to determine whether you need the rest or are just using it as an excuse. I am a big believer that if you are honest with yourself and look deep into your mind and body you can tell if you should be running or not. But for those of you who need outside reinforcement, here are some basic guidelines.

There is a very well known rule called the “neck rule.” If your symptoms are above the neck then you can run and if they are below then you should not run. The exception is if you have a fever, in which case you should not exercise.

David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, and has run 58 marathons and ultras, uses the “neck rule.” Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.

-Runner’s World, read full article here

If you do decide that you are able to run, you should take it easy. Start with 10 minutes at an easy pace, and reassess at minute 8. If you are feeling okay, reset your mental clock for a longer run…say, 20 minutes. Then again at minute 18, reassess. But always keep in mind that your endorphins will be kicking in and making you feel better than you actually are. It’s good to start your run with a “minimum” time or distance as well as a “maximum.” That way you have a rational cut-off already decided for you before your irrational, non-sick-feeling-chemicals take over. Today I ran for a minimum of 1 mile and a maximum of 40 minutes. I ended up increasing from one mile to two, and then again extending the run to about 30 minutes. And make sure to drink lots of water! This is even more important when you are sick, because being hydrated is what flushes the sickness out of your system.

Interestingly, running actually lowers your immune system for anywhere from a few hours to a few days after your run.  

Exercise definitely affects the immune system which is fighting whatever viral infection you have. High intensity exercise (such as heavy weight lifting or high heart rate cardiovascular training like cycling, rowing, running & aerobics) has been linked with suppressing the immune system1. Which means that if you workout at a high intensity you may actually be making things worse!

The good news is that low intensity exercise (very light weights and low aerobic heart rate training) MAY stimulate the immune system. So if you workout at all with a cold, make it a VERY light workout.

-Cool Running, read full article here

The way to fight this lowering of the immune system is to stay hydrated and fueled before, during, and after your runs. Eating enough carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and nutrient-rich foods will strengthen your immune system. This article is very informative about how and why you should eat certain foods. If you are dieting, make sure to eat enough healthy, nutritious foods instead of just eating less junk food. Otherwise your immune system will suffer and you will be more likely to get sick (or stay sick).

However, don’t take all of this information as saying that running will make you sick. It won’t, if you are healthy and smart about it! Running in moderation does boost your immune system. It’s only when you push yourself too hard and don’t refuel your body properly that your health will suffer. And once you do have a cold, moderate running won’t make it worse.

In one study, Weidner took two groups of 30 runners each and inoculated them with the common cold. One group ran 30 to 40 minutes every day for a week. The other group was sedentary. According to Weidner, “the two groups didn’t differ in the length or severity of their colds.” In another study, he found that running with a cold didn’t compromise performance. He concluded that running with a head cold—as long as you don’t push beyond accustomed workouts—is beneficial in maintaining fitness and psychological well-being.

-Runner’s World, read full article here

I was googling this very topic this morning, thinking in my head, “I should probably just go back to bed…” but ended up running nearly 4 miles after reading the facts about running with a cold. If you wake up tomorrow and find yourself bedridden for the next week, will you look back on today and wish you had gone for that run? Only you can know the answer to that question, but I’ll tell you that my answer was an emphatic YES.

Motivation from an unexpected source

This post is dedicated to a dear friend who just today absolutely shocked and inspired me by telling me that she started running this weekend. I used to be her…anti-exercise, pissed, purposefully and spitefully eating unhealthy…and now I think I understand how all of my friends felt when I started running. We were members of a religion whose founding principle was to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, and to give that up meant losing your identity. To be honest, she was one of the people who was in the back of my mind when I wrote the post "This is your last chance to become a runner." My friend’s running might only last a week, or it may last her lifetime, but that doesn’t matter. What inspires me is that she overcame her mental roadblocks and actually did it. On top of the physical effort, it takes so much inner strength to be able to go against everything you once believed in and start fresh. Regardless of how long her motivation to run lasts, this is a giant step in the right direction and I am so proud to have hopefully had something to do with it.

Today is my first day of rest in weeks. Yesterday marked the end of a summer of out of town weddings almost every weekend, culminating in an out of town wedding followed by an out of town job that was 11 days straight of 10 hour days, followed by another out of town wedding. I have managed to run at least every other day, but my runs have gone from 6 to 13 miles to 2 or 3 on average. Last night as I was arriving home at midnight after a 3 hour drive in pouring rain I kept thinking to myself how all I wanted to do today was sleep in and then go on a long, relaxing run in my favorite spot, but today I have barely been able to get out of bed and have been wondering if that run is really going to happen.

When I heard that my friend ran and it inspired me to try to beat my exhaustion today. To overcome a lifetime of bad habits and giving up your identity makes what I am dealing with today seem so insignificant! I’m not sure if I will be able to run (could it be that my body actually needs this rest today?!), but I will try to get out of bed, get off the couch, and at the very least unpack and get outside to do something productive. And my friend SRT, the one who will eat Taco Bell until the day she dies, inspired me to do this. 

I wanted to share this to show that inspiration goes both ways and can come from anyone at any time. Your motivation doesn’t have to come from the 100 pound marathoner who can do one-armed push-ups (that’s not me by the way…just to be clear). And your motivation doesn’t have to push you to run a marathon…it could be as small as making you get off the couch. We are lucky to have every single person in our lives, because each one contributes and inspires us daily in such unexpected ways. I never would have thought that SRT would be the one to motivate me to get off the couch today, but because we are both open to learning and growing from each other, I will have a better day today and she has had a groundbreaking weekend. My running advice to everyone today is to treasure every relationship, because you never know what tiny thing will inspire you to be a better you tomorrow.