Years ago, I dated a Marine. Whenever he saw something he found particularly inspiring, he’d say, “motivating.” He found motivation everywhere, from injustice on the news to the training plans of Olympic athletes. I suppose you’d have to find motivation everywhere to throw yourself into a war zone on the other side of the world, wouldn’t you?
A lot of you lately have commented that my willingness to push myself during my runs is motivating you. It’s incredibly flattering–but really, I can’t take any credit. All of you, all of us, are motivated from within. We may want different things for different reasons, but at the end of the day, our biggest competitors are ourselves.
I got to thinking today as I was pounding out 4 miles on the treadmill about motivation. Why did I decide to run today when I didn’t technically have to? Why did I make myself strength train when I hate every second of it? Why did I push my speed or increase my incline or run that extra mile?
Well, there are several reasons, but mainly, it’s simply because I can.
When I started running again after years of being told I couldn’t, it was slow going. But after 3 years of steadily increasing my mileage, my pace, my strength, I’ve made it to this point. It’s still hard today–I have aches and pains, I get tired and sore, I experience set-backs just like anyone else. But if I take care of myself, I can run faster, I can push harder, I can be stronger. And if I can, then I should.
Do I run like a bat out of hell every time? Of course not! Do I push my pace or incline when I’m not feeling it? Not always. I give myself breaks, too, and so should you. I know my training has been intense lately, and honestly, I’m loving it. But I also know that I need to train smart just as much as I need to train hard. That means not running every run like a race, taking time to stretch and strengthen, and hydrating well. It means fueling my body properly–with more carbs and protein and less sugar and fat. It means slowing down when I have an ache or a pain, and knowing when to quit.
So yes, I am motivated. I’m motivated like crazy because I have this new, big goal before me: I’m going to run a marathon. And I know that people do it all the time–lots of you have and I’m incredibly inspired and impressed by you! But I haven’t, and I want to do it right. So I’m taking my training seriously. I will continue to push myself harder, to make myself stronger, and to listen to my body so that come April, I’m ready for 26.2.
Yesterday, Rachael posted about her first marathon experience. She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done in her entire life. And you know what I said? That’s how you know you did it right.
Thanks for finding me motivating. All I can say is, right back atcha!