Getting fit is more than about your body.
This is quite a big topic, but I’m going to try to break it down to help you find what your inner motivation really is.
Knowing this is so important as it can help be the difference between you going out for a run on a rainy day or staying inside.
Each person is on an individual journey and something has brought you to the place where you want to run.
Your motivation isn’t as cut and dried as entering a race, or running with friends. This can go much deeper than wanting to lose weight.
Here are some examples of motivational reasons to run:
- I have two kids and I’ve just turned 40, I want to be able to run and play with them when I am 50.
- I started running to challenge myself. I discovered it helps me relieve stress and sort my thoughts.
- It helps to keep me sane in a busy life. I just wish I’d appreciated running when I was younger, smaller and fitter. Better late than never.
- Last year I ran my first ultra but more importantly I let go of some stuff I had been trying my whole life to get rid of.
- I don’t want to be the fat girl I used to be, the one with no self-esteem or confidence who hid inside all day out of embarrassment and shame.
A study at the University of Utah, called Motivations of Marathoners Scale, studied the motivational factors of 106 people embarking on a 20 week marathon programme for the first time.
Factors studied included health orienttion, weight concern, personal goal achievement, competition, psychological coping and self-esteem.
Of the 106 people studied, 31 completed the training and finished their marathon. 75 dropped out before week 10.
Of those who didn’t successfully complete the training it was found that their motivation was based upon a desire for weight loss and personal recognition.
Losing weight is great, and the feeling of pride associated with finishing a marathon is amazing but wanting it alone won’t carry you through the tough times.
The motivational factors that led to those successfully completing the marathon included wanting to live a healthy lifestyle, wanting to achieve a personal goal, enjoying competition, being affiliated with a group of health goal-oriented individuals and finding greater meaning in life.
You need to find the motivational factor that resonates with you and use that to get you through the days when you don’t feel like pulling on your shoes.
Here’s an exercise for you to do, write down your answers.
What do you want? This can be your goal race, or a time you want to beat, or another health and fitness goal.
Why do you want it?
How will you feel when you achieve it? Close your eyes and imagine you have achieved it, what can you see? What can you hear? Write that down.
If you don’t achieve your goal, how will you feel then?
What is stopping you from going out there and achieving it?
Wider subjects of motivation include life meaning, where you are breaking out of old destructive patterns or just trying to work out what you want from life.
Running for me has been a life-changer in many ways. It’s helped me lose weight, relieve stress, set ad achieve goals, learn about myself and made new friends.
As you grow as a runner your motivations may change. At first you might want to lose weight, then you might want to finish a race, but further down the track it might be because you like the person you have become and don’t want to lose that feeling.
Here’s some more questions for you:
- How do you feel about your current level of fitness?
- What are the pros and cons of continuing in the direction you’ve been going?
- What changes in your body and life do you want to see as you run?
- What three patterns of action might prevent you from reaching your goal?
- What three new patterns do you need to start following to reach your goal?
- What character qualities do you possess that will help you to train?
- Is your reason to run going to be enough to keep you going?
When you have your answers, and after this session, I’d like you to write your motivational factor down and put it somewhere you can see it often.
It is these dreams we can turn into achievable goals.
If you want help in how you can make this happen then Unleash Your Inner Athlete may be for you.