It appears to be that time of year again…when people really fall off their training. I’ve never understood it but it happens every year, every race. Is it because it’s cold? Is it because training is getting tough? Is it because some people are scared of race day? Is it because some people aren’t scared enough of race day?
I’ve had people ask me how I stay motivated or say to me, “well, this is your job so it’s easy for you.” Not true at all. I have to self motivate, just like everyone else. Nobody is paying me to race. I am not paying anyone to hold me accountable. I can’t always get “my” run in when running with the group, especially now because i’m on a completely different training schedule, so I have to make time just like everyone else. I have to sometimes skip lunch, wake up at 4:30, or run when I am simply exhausted. I do it though. Not because I’m some awesome runner. Not because I have to. I do it because I want to.
For me, a looming race and a goal are enough to motivate me. I am strongly motivated by goals, no matter what the goal is. I know that I cannot make my goal happen if I don’t work hard. I know what it feels like to show up at a race unprepared and I hope to never do that again. This doesn’t mean I always want to do my run or workout but I remind myself that I’m not getting any stronger by skipping my workouts. Not all of my runs are perfect but they’re better than not having one at all. As cliche as it sounds, I never regret a run. Some run is better than no run.
I can still remember the first outdoor run I did when it was below freezing. I thought I had officially gone crazy and would never warm up but I also thought maybe I had earned some sort of secret runner badge. It wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. I started running in the snow, the rain, the heat, the cold….whatever came my way. Funny thing is, I have lived to talk about them all.
I also remember going into my 2nd Half Marathon. I wasn’t scared of it. I was as prepared as I thought necessary. I did as little as I needed to do to survive the race and this seemed like enough. I quickly learned, though, that race day is more fun if you’ve really put in the work. Race day is the cherry on top. It’s the reward for all the hard work. I never take a race distance for granted, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon. The fun thing about running races is that you can run the same distance or even the same course numerous times and have a totally different experience each time. The more prepared you are, the better these experiences are likely to be. Now I go into each race with a few butterflies and a complete respect for what lies ahead of me.
I am not super human. I am normal girl who happens to be a runner. I want to run. If I’m given the option of showing up to a race prepared versus unprepared, I’m certainly going to choose prepared. This simple notion motivates me. What motivates you?