What makes us do it?

Seeing so many race results appearing on various social media timelines over the past couple of weeks, and now in the week most of us expect to get the annual rejection notice from London it got me thinking about motivation. Why do we go running, why do some enter races and others not, what fuels our Mojo?

Up until recently I always felt my motivation was just the buzz of each run, the flood of adrenaline and endorphins that occur when you complete a run around a park or a housing estate or whatever. Considering most of my running is that sort of run, there must be a big enough buzz from that to keep me going out – especially this time of year where nights are long and it’s cold and wet. The sound of an open fire and the kettle boiling gets so much more attractive !!

After starting to run last year I was motivated by the weight loss and the change in body shape I was seeing. Achieving a body shape that, although far from perfect, is something I have never had. At last a form to be proud of and happy in.

But then I kind of realised that now it’s the challenge that keeps me going. My body weight hasn’t changed in months and my body shape has moved only small steps recently too. I know I can run 30Km which I could never have dreamed of before last summer, so now I feel my motivation has changed.

This came to light as I looked at my achievements this year and the fact that I have now booked a race for almost 6 consecutive months in 2019 already.

A lot of us say that just getting out and feeling the wind on our face and the ground beneath our feet is what keeps us going. I’m all for that and congratulate you if that really fires your Mojo up to 100%. But that doesn’t work for all of us. Sometimes the places we can run in are not beautiful and lovely, they are busy, noisy and crowded urban spaces that serve a purpose but don’t provide the fuel for us to run.

The important thing is to find what moves you and embrace it.

When starting on a journey into running the achievement of breaking a sweat, or realising you actually ran is often enough. You don’t care where you run. But as time goes on and you continue running this can drop off. You can’t always go out and run further every time. Or indeed run faster every time so then you can slip into monotone running. A chirpy hag becomes routine and mundane. This is a Mojo killer for sure. It’s a bit like starting a new job and having a new commute. It starts of interesting for some (a train journey, a new route in the car etc) but after a while there is only so much you can do with that journey to keep it interesting. Eventually it often becomes a necessity for work and not something you look forward to.

So how do we shift out of that pattern, keep our Mojo shining and keep us wanting to put those shoes on and run?

We find ways of challenging ourselves. Sometimes large , sometimes small. Don’t forget a challenge for you might be impossible for somebody else right now or vice-versa.

A few things I like to try:

  • Run at a different time of day
  • Run your normal route but in reverse!
  • Set simple
  • Increment goals if you are running only short distances currently – like run to the next road junction or another 1/2km in the same time
  • Set a rigid time limit to a run. Set a timer or watch for half way and run until it beeps to return – try and run ever so much further next time and the time after etc etc
  • Find a friend and run with them. Ignore time and distance just embrace a new face
  • Sign up to a race. And yes many might be quicker but many also slower. I always go online before signing up for a race and look at previous results to measure where I would sit in previous years. Just to check!!
  • Find a route that is just that bit different to normal. Some new scenery can be invigorating to a runner
  • Read other people achievements with an open mind. We are all different and whilst some aim to be Mo Farah, others just aim to be on the move. Use the achievements of others to motivate you to reach your own achievement
  • Facebook and other social media groups. There are some really good social media sites – Facebook being a good starting point – where members are really supportive of each other and embrace all levels and achievements, there’s a group of people out there just like you
  • Set long term goals – like so many Km in a month or a year. There are a bunch of virtual running sites (Facebook again) that offer medals for achieving things at home in your own time👍

The important thing is to find what moves you and embrace it. Don’t measure against others but look for the motivation they have and feed off that.

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