Sunday, February 3, 2008

Motivation: That Still, Small Voice in My Head

(Graphic from Fitness Motivation) I'm three days late (and probably at least $3 short) but reading all the posts got me thinking about what motivates me to keep running. Several things:

WEIGHT/HEALTH: I started running again in 2003 because my weight reached the point where, according to the BMI, I was obese. I didn't like the sound of that word and didn't like the looks of it in the mirror. Plus, there are some health issues in my family (diabetes, heart attacks, high cholesterol) that I wanted to be pro-active in dealing with. So, I started running and eating in a more healthy way and lost 40 pounds in 5-6 months. Running helps me keep my weight down and I know I'm doing something positive about my overall health.

SANITY: I probably don't have the most stressful job in the universe, but it's stressful enough. Running first thing in the morning, before anyone else is up, gives me a chance to think or pray or just to be quiet. I can face the day better.

RUNNING LOG: I track mileage, times, temperature/humidity on a spreadsheet (Google Docs). There's something about seeing the miles add up that keeps me going. I'm pretty task oriented so this shows me concrete progress.

FRIENDS: I run by myself 85% of the time but I have friends who run and we check up on each other regularly. The mutual accountability is good for me.

FEELING GOOD: Maybe it's obsession or addiction but I know that if I don't run, I'll regret it later. For the first year, I liked the results of running but not the running itself. Since then, I like the running (most days). Hoping for the next, elusive runner's high keeps me going. One of my favorite running quotes is from Benjamin Cheever in Strides:
The runner's high is built on a foundation of runner's lows. The joy is often paid for in advance.

TIME OF DAY: Getting my run done first thing in the morning is, perhaps, not really a motivator but it's my way of ensuring that it gets done. One friend commented this week, Bob runs at 5:30am and wakes up at 6:30am. There's lots of truth to that.

There's an article on motivation at The Fitness Motivator. The writer mentions Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. I had used that concept in training teachers but had never thought about it in relation to running. That will give me some brain fodder for tomorrow's run.

Run well, y'all,
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