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Riding the Waves of Motivation

With one of my recent raffles, I asked what you wanted to learn about in my blog posts.  One really big theme was that you wanted to know how to keep up your motivation.  I don’t believe that this is a one size fits all answer.  What may be motivating to one person may not work for another.  Today, I’ll be sharing my top tips.

Create a routine: Do you like to workout at the same time every day?  Maybe you are an early bird.  Start with a few sun salutations to warm up before the work out.  When you return post workout, cool down with an iced green tea.  Prefer evening workouts? End with gentle stretching, foam rolling and a quick Epsom salt soak.  Do something to make it feel special.

Set incremental goals:  Pick intermediate goals for yourself and a small reward each time you stick to the plan.  For example, if you don’t miss any workouts for a month treat yourself to a sports massage.  Or, if you hit all of your target paces for the training cycle, splurge on a new pair of shoes before the race (Of course, you’ll allow enough time to break them in before race day, right?!).

Layout your workout gear the night before:  If it’s all ready and waiting for you, it will make it easier to get out the door.

Find a workout buddy or a local running group:  Workouts always go by faster when you have someone to talk to!  And, you’ll be less likely to flake on your workout if you know that someone will be waiting for you.

Try something new:  A new route, a new time of day, a different cross training routine.  Sometimes we just need to mix things up to keep it fresh.

Write down your goals:  Write down your ultimate goal and 3-5 reasons why this is important to you.  When you need a reminder, come back and reflect on this.  Then you have the choice.  Do you want to take the action that is going to move you closer to your goal or are you willing to delay meeting that goal? 

Create a motivation kit:  We feel the best when we achieve something or when we are getting noticed for the work that we are doing.  Print a few of your favorite race pictures, print a few of your favorite messages from friends that were encouraging, find a few motivational quotes that speak to you and put it in a little box.  Sometimes that little bit of outside encouragement and validation is what we need to put in one more hard workout when we don’t feel like it.

Sign up for an extra race:  When I have races in the middle of a training cycle, it always gives me an extra boost!  When you can see that your hard work is paying off, it makes you want to work even harder.

The thing about motivation is that it is fickle.  Sometimes we are on a high and sometimes we completely lack the initiative to get things done.  That’s when we have the choice.  And really it comes down to harnessing discipline and small daily habits.  These small actions will be compounded over time and lead you to your goal.  Want more information?  Read this post which talks about the book “The Slight Edge.”  It’s a great read to help you harness that power of the small daily habits.

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