This morning I was up at 6am and out of the door by 6.30 for my Wednesday morning run. I did 6.4 miles in 58 minutes with an average pace of 9.01 and it was tough! It was grey, drizzly and very windy outside, and it took every bit of my will power and motivation to get myself out that door.
It really got me thinking about motivation and how day after day I still manage to exercise, dragging my arse out of bed to run 10 miles, going to the gym after work when sometimes all I want to do is go home and veg in front of the TV.
The key thing that keeps me going is how exercise makes me feel – I know that before and during exercise things might be tough, but I know that afterwards I’m going to feel pretty awesome.
Luckily I usually look forward to my workouts but when I don’t I’ve developed a few techniques to help when even the thought of feeling great afterwards isn’t enough:
- For early morning runs or workouts having all my kit laid out ready really seems to help. That way I can just get up, have some lemon and warm water and something to fuel up with and then I’m straight out. If my butt hits the sofa to chill out I’m more likely not to move!
- Make an awesome playlist – I know that some people prefer to workout without music but for me its essential. If I have a long run or workout ahead then I like to make up a really interesting and random playlist for my shuffle iPod – I then quite look forward to seeing what tune is going to come up next!
- Thinking of breakfast (or your next meal). I just can’t help it, but while I’m exercising I like to dream up my next meal, I especially like to think up awesome smoothie mixes! I have been known to run faster just to get home and be able to make it! For some reason food just tastes so good after a tough workout!
- My inspiration board – you can see my current inspiration board, as well as lots more inspiration on my Pinterest page. My vision for myself as a happy healthy fit person includes working out. Reminding myself of the person that I’m striving to be and the life that I’m striving to have helps to get me moving!
- Set yourself SMART goals – In case you haven’t came across SMART before it stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time scaled. I like to set myself goals each month – this works well for me as it suits my personality. For example my goal this month is to increase my running distance to 12 miles. I know its specific, its measurable, I know that its achievable and realistic and I’ve said I like to do it by the end of the month. Knowing that feeling of achievement when I have completed my goal really helps. I also find that signing up for races is great motivation for running – I have the Great North Run and Great North 10K coming up!
- Be flexible / change your plans – For example, the other day my training plan had me running speed intervals on the treadmill. The very thought of running them while feeling a bit under the weather was horrendous! Instead of blowing off the whole workout I decided to just change my plans and run steady state instead. Sometimes I have been due to run outdoors but have gymed it instead or other times I have decided to do yoga rather than a strength workout.
- Know your limits and listen to your body – Sometimes not wanting to workout can be a sign of overtraining or illness, that’s the point when you need to say I’m actually going to be causing myself more harm than good by working out and take a rest, and not feel guilty for it.
One thing I am working on is not using negative associations for motivation, i.e. the fear of getting fat again if I don’t workout, or working out just to burn calories, as for me I don’t think that’s a healthy way of thinking.
What motivates you to exercise? Do you have any more motivational tips and tricks you’d like to share?