Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In Search of Motivation

Lately, I've been missing a very important training tool: Motivation

It's been a fair-weather friend that comes and goes. Sometimes, all I want to do is crank out my miles. And other times, I have to use every trick in the book to get myself to lace up my shoes and get out the door. I've been told this is just how it is sometimes. A phase that will pass. But it's uncharted territory for me - I'm not used to this icky feeling of wanting to skip miles and workouts. I'm the girl who can't wait to crush every run. 

The normal me: Excited to run every mile

Part of it is that after Eddie's health scare, I've been wanting to spend every extra minute at home with him. I know it's a bit silly since he's back to normal and during his follow-up visit over the weekend the vet said he is doing really well. But I still worry about him whenever I'm away from home. 
My little shadow!

Showing off his hospital shaving!

Another factor is my confidence has been a bit shaky, which sometimes makes me want to not run at all. I get nervous I'll fall short during workouts or that I won't be able to complete my long runs. Some workouts have been a struggle. For example, a workout a few weeks ago during which I failed to hit the paces Coach Matt gave me because I got too tense. The irony is that once I relaxed and told myself pace didn't matter, I hit the paces. Go figure!

Sometimes, I can barely make it up the steps to my apt after a hard workout!

But at times, the worry has been completely unfounded. For example, I ran a 14-miler after work last week and it was one of my most successful runs this year. During those miles, I thought about nothing but all the things I'm grateful for in my life. And that's when I decided this season's mantra is all about gratitude. Be grateful for what you have. Be grateful you can run at all.

But even the wonderful moments sprinkled in, I'm still faced with not knowing sure what to expect during most runs. Being only two weeks away from my next race that makes me nervous. Chicago Rock 'n' Roll 10k is supposed to be a goal race - one where I get to chase my PR - but I find myself wondering if I can do it. All I can do is remind myself to believe - take things a day at a time and know that the tides will turn for the better again. Eventually I'll find my usual fire and motivation again. 

Until then, there's this fantastic quote from Alysia MontaƱo:

"You don't have to be 100 percent but you can still give 110 percent."

So that's the goal right now. Take things a day at a time. Run with gratitude. Give 110 percent.

My questions for you:
  • Have you ever experienced a running slump? If so, how did you pull yourself out of it?
  • Do you believe there's such a thing as a perfect race buildup?
  • What are you grateful for right now?

I'm grateful for my family, friends and good health!

- ST


  1. Oh MAN. Just read your kitty post. I panicked just READING it. You and I are definitely kin when it comes to our kitties. So glad he's better. I go through running slumps ALL THE TIME. The best way to pull myself out is to not give up on it. Sometimes it takes a few tricks -- like buying a new pair of running shorts or socks or some other running accessory to make me happy. Eventually you'll have a GREAT-feeling run, and it'll remind you exactly why you keep doing it. I don't think there's such thing as a perfect race buildup. I think we WANT there to be, and think that there is... but it's never perfect. It's exactly what it needs to be, though. Don't doubt yourself. You're strong. Right now I'm grateful for healthy kitties. :)

    1. Thanks Krista - I think you're right - even if it's not perfect, it's what it needs to be. At least that's what I'm going to repeat to myself all the way through race day :)

      Kitties are the best!! Chicken is adorable - love seeing all the pics of that fur baby!

  2. Love your mantra, gratitude is a great way to think about life and running!
    I don't believe anything in life goes perfectly, if it did it would be too easy and we would take it all for granted. I thing the struggles and trials we face in training are actually even better trainers for us and a race than anything else. I think they help us build a stronger foundation for anything unexpected that could come our way in the race.
    Right now I am so grateful for my family, I love them to pieces and love that we all have such good times together!

    1. That's a good point, Kristy - sometimes it seems like the training we do is harder than the actual race. And if you can get through the training, you can get through the race :)

  3. I've been there! In fact, I'm about to run a pretty big goal race in 2 weeks and I'm so nervous about doing well. I'm scared it's going to get into my head and I'm going to mess up just because of how much pressure I'm putting on myself! I love your tips for thinking about things you're grateful for, and I think I'm going to try that out on my next long run. Good luck with your motivation and your upcoming race!

    1. Thanks Kristin! And best of luck at your upcoming race, too! I'm going to hop over to your blog to catch up on your training :)

  4. I totally get how you're feeling. It's super rare for me to not have the motivation to run, but I do have to admit, that there's definitely been more than a few times this summer where I have completely lost my mojo! I love your outlook on it though. I've definitely taken for granted the times where I do feel good as well as the ability to run at all. And I'm grateful for all of those things you mentioned. At the end of the day, we have all the important things and every morning we wake up is an opportunity to have a better run than the last :)And I think you're smart to take things in stride one day at a time, I almost always feel better when I do that rather than getting ahead of myself and worrying about future races and workouts. That being said, I'm not sure I've ever experienced a perfect race buildup! I think we're constantly learning the do's, don'ts, and experiencing different ways to continue to motivate ourselves, so we're better prepared for each training cycle, not always easy lessons, but I think they make us better runners in the long run:). This little slump may be good for you! You can think of it during tough times in races and think about how you didn't give up and just pushed right on through it. I'm not concerned one bit about your upcoming races!

    1. Thanks Hailey - you always manage to cheer me up :) That's a good tip to remember the tough times during the tough race moments. A reminder that getting through the training lows means being able to face every race challenge head on!

  5. I understand how you are feeling! It is amazing how quickly motivation can change day to day (that is what is happening to me). A great 3 miler or a great long run and at the end I'm left saying "I can do this all the time"..but the next couple of days I do not feel like heading out. I think this weekend I'll take a bit of your 14 miler advice and run with nothing on my mind. Nice to think about surroundings vs. how much time/miles I have left.

    1. Best of luck on your run this weekend. It really does help sometimes to approach the miles with no expectations and just run :) Hope it works for you!