I hopped on the treadmill today and ran for the first time since my half marathon. Yes it’s been over three weeks since that run. My body was in pretty rough shape and I needed to give it some time to recoup. But was three weeks necessary? Well, honestly there may have been some laziness factoring in there too. Hey, the couch is much more cozy than the hard pavement under my running shoes.
But I finally decided that enough was enough. It’s time to get moving once again. And how will I do that and do that repeatedly so that I don’t find myself on the couch for three weeks again? The same way that I pushed past my comfort zone to get started in the first place.
1) Set a goal. Goals should not be easy to accomplish, they should be be difficult, but not unobtainable. I always need a goal to keep me motivated. When I started running the goal was to run a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon. Every time I hit a goal, I had the next goal already set. I believe that was one of my biggest motivational downfalls coming out of the half marathon…I did not have another goal set. Because what was next? I certainly have no desire to do a full marathon, so I kind of stopped dreaming. But what I’ve realized in this down time is that the goal doesn’t have to be bigger and better than the last. It can be a repeat with a few tweaks. I have decided that my next goal is to do another half marathon in the fall. This time 15 minutes faster (and with less pain).
2) Write the goal down. I need to see my goal in front of me regularly in order to visualize it. That may be on a piece of paper, or even on my bathroom mirror. (Dry erase markers make you mirror like a fun white board). My writing it down, I am committing myself to it. It becomes real.
3) Share your goal with others. I will often go out on a limb and share my goal with a friend or two. When I share my goals and plans with others, I feel more obligated to make it happen. I’m pretty stubborn like that. Especially if I tell someone who may not believe in me. You better bet, I will work my butt off to prove that person wrong.
4) Make a plan to reach you goal. Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish. In order to get somewhere we haven’t been, we map out a course, ask for directions, and follow the plan. Goals are no different, we need a map to get to the finish, and preferable by the most direct route. Fortunately for me as a runner, there are lots of training plans readily available online. Any distance, for any training level, I can find it via Google. I’m willing to bet there are training plans already online to help you map out a plan to reach your goals too.
5) Find a workout partner. Once I committed and made a weekly schedule with a partner, it held us both accountable to each other. If I did not have to show up to workout together as planned, it would be easy to put off my workout for the day…go shopping, clean house, watch tv…any number of things. But when she’s expecting me, it’s much harder to bail. But of course there are times when kids, work and unexpected events do require us to miss scheduled workout days. And on those days that we can’t do it together, we still hold each other accountable. If I say, “I can’t make it today, I’ll run on the treadmill tonight after the kids are in bed”, then guess what?…I better get on the treadmill after the kids are in bed, because a good workout partner will ask me the next day “did you run last night?”. But in our relationship, we’re are one step ahead of that. Once I finish my run on the treadmill that night, I take a picture of the treadmill display and text it to her. Any time I workout or run on my own, I send a text of my progress. It holds me accountable.
It’s also important to note that this workout partner does not need to be your equal in ability. My partner has a much faster running pace than me. She’s the hare, I’m the tortoise. We don’t need to run “together”, we simply run at the same time on the same route. We start together, and she’s always there waiting for me at the end encouraging me and patting me on the back.
6) Don’t allow your comfort zone to be your limit. Though all this training, I won’t lie, I’ve been in pain. So much pain, it would be easy to stop. But I’ve learned more and more about my limits as I go. Staying within my comfort zone doesn’t give me the same unbelievable feeling of accomplishment that pushing past my comfort zone does. It would be easy to let my comfort zone be an excuse to quit, but I won’t let being uncomfortable stop me. But there is a difference between your comfort zone and hurting yourself. You have to tune in with your body to know the difference. There have been times that I have needed to give my knees a rest from running, but in those times it’s important to me to keep doing something. At those times, I change my focus to cross training and strengthening. There is always something that I can do to stay active, even while on the disabled list.
And that’s where I seem to be right now…still on the DL. But once again, I’ve had enough of babying my pains, it’s time to get myself up, set a short term recoup goal and get to work on strengthening my knees and joints in order to ramp back up to another big run.
And now that I’ve told you all that I’m going to do it, I better get to work.
Shared on: Motivation Monday