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How to Solve Your Biggest Motivation Struggles

Just mention motivation and I’m going to spend a few seconds in thought remembering that late 90’s Sprite commercial where it’s so famous for the line, “What’s my motivation?”

Do you remember that commercial? If you’re due for a chuckle today, check it out.

What makes the commercial so funny are the actors. At first, you believe they’re tough street ball players with large egos, but they’re actually actors with large egos. When the scene falls apart, one actor gloats about his past accomplishment, one loses his concentration, and the other can’t find his motivation.

The commercial exposes the fragile ego of an actor.

The great thing about this commercial is the lesson hidden in the funniest line.

What’s my motivation?

Let’s face it. When you’re training for a race, any race, it is absolutely necessary to set ego aside. I believe training with an ego is one of the leading causes of injury. And training with an ego will lead to loss of concentration and motivation. If you’re embarking on training for a race my advice to you is:

Let your ego drop away so you can get real about what truly motivates you to accomplish your goal.

As a trainer and runner what I know to be true is how hard it is to stay motivated while you’re training for a race. You start off strong, but the weeks of training get long. You have other life obligations and social distractions. You end up having a hard long run and you’re left questioning your ability.

So, while you’re setting up your training plan, how about also setting up a motivation plan? Training and motivation go hand in hand, especially if your goal is to train every week and make it strongly to race day. When you sit down to set up your training plan, it’s essential to incorporate the following motivation techniques:

1. Set realistic goals.

I’ve had to learn and apply this technique the hard way. I unrealistically set out on my very first half marathon with a time goal. I wanted to finish my first half marathon in under 2 hours, ha! I trained hard. Too hard. And 6 miles into the race, things fell apart and I finished in just over 3 hours.

Whether you’re training for your first race or you’re a veteran racer, setting realistic goals means you begin training with your current ability.

Even if you’ve never run and have always wanted to, you can still train for any race. Just take into consideration the distance you’ll begin training with and the amount of weeks it’ll take to get to your goal distance.

2. Rest between the hard days.

I find this particularly important when you’re training and you’ve reached a new distance. Take a rest to acknowledge your accomplishment and to give your body the space to recover and become stronger so that you can train further. Build rest days into your training schedule when you have training runs that are new distances for you or that are new in speed.

3. Take conscious control of your thoughts.

You have the ability to sabotage or overcome your training with the power of your thoughts. The beauty of training for a race is not just the physical challenge, but the mental challenge. As it happens running is more mental than physical. There will be plenty of instances throughout training when you will be tested mentally. Your mind will even try to trick you into believing that you are experiencing a physical set back. That’s how powerful the mind is.

Here’s what you do… build positive thinking strategies and gratitude into your training. What I have found most impactful is the use of affirmations. I create my own or borrow from other runners and play them back in my mind before, during, and after training runs. When I trained for my first marathon I recorded two minutes worth of affirmations and listened to them every night as well as at the starting line of the race. Those affirmations gave me a lot of mental power that I used as fuel for the hard miles.

One of my favorite affirmations comes from Shalane Flanagan who used “cold execution” during the 2011 Olympic Trials.

4. Move forward by walking.

When all else crumbles during a training run just keep moving forward. When you’re reviewing your training plan, it’s a good idea to accept the possibility that you will have some excruciatingly hard training runs. For those really hard runs it’s okay to walk in order to move forward, to count the miles. One of the things I love about the Jeff Galloway run/walk/run™ method is that the walks are already built into the run. They’re important to keep your legs strong, but they also serve as breaks to check your posture, keep your head up, and refresh your affirmations.

5. Know your challenges.

We all have our challenges. Those obstacles that keep us from staying on track and motivated through training. For me, it’s the holiday season. From November through the New Year, I’m just not mentally focused on running and I’d be setting myself up for failure by embarking on any race training during this time. For others it’s training through winter or summer, or training with a time goal. Maybe you’ll be doing a lot of travel for work or you have family obligations that will create a challenge to run every weekend. If you’re looking to train for a race, please consider any challenges that may present an obstacle for training.

6. Stay connected to your tribe.

I love my Jeff Galloway training group! We’re a group of like-minded runners with the same run/walk injury free philosophy in the Twin Cities.

What’s important to you in your training? Maybe you’re training for Boston or a specific time goal. Are you a couch to 5k runner? Are you a mother runner? Or are you a run/walk runner?

There are tons of groups out there to fit your motivation for running. And connecting to a running group can do a lot to fill in any motivation gaps. There’s something special about connecting to a group of runners and using the energy of the group to carry you forward during the weeks of training. Plus, it feels great to see your running companions accomplish their goals, to share the motivation.

What’s your motivation?

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Training Group is dedicated to helping you accomplish your big training goals in an injury free run/walk/run™ format. We’ll help you with a training plan and keep you motivated! We’ve just begun training for fall races. If you’d like to train for a 10 mile, half marathon, or full marathon connect with our group.

Jeff Galloway, Minneapolis Registration page

For more information, contact us.

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