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  • Writer's pictureAmy Boalch

Motivation to Move

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Why knowing what motivates you is important and how to use this to keep on running.

What is motivation? Motivation is the reasoning behind why we do something and the desire to achieve it. The stronger our motivation is, the more likely we are to do the task. Running is no exception.

What motivates you?

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes”

Everyone will have a different reason for running and there's no right or wrong. Preparation is a huge part of running and identifying motivations should be part of this process. You wouldn't turn up to a race without planning your kit or your journey there, so why start a training block without thinking about why you are doing it?

My main motivations include running for good health and running for a sense of achievement. What motivates you? It might not be easy to identify exactly what it is, but here are some ideas:

- To stay healthy

- To lose weight

- To make friends

- To be part of a community

- To work on a skill

- To relieve stress

- To have some 'me' time

- To get faster

- To have purpose

- To compete in races

- To take part in races

- To take on a challenge

- To try something new

- To meet new people

- To raise money for a good cause

- To run in memory of a loved one

- To improve my sleep

- To improve my self-esteem

- To increase my energy levels

- To explore new areas

- To disconnect from stress

- To be mindful and meditate

- To feel fit and strong

Why is motivation important?

It might seem like a waste of time to actually sit down and think about what motivates you, but having an understanding of this can be useful for a few key reasons.

- On a difficult day it can be helpful to refer back to why you are doing something and this can aid in some positive re-framing of the situation. Having a strong motivational factor will help you channel your energies into the activity.

- Motivation helps with goal-setting. If you set a goal that is in line with what motivates you, you will be more likely to achieve it. For example, if raising money for a good cause is your motivating factor for running a marathon then setting a fundraising goal is likely to be far more appropriate than setting a time-based goal.

- Identifying your motivations helps to ensure you are running for the right reasons. If you can't think of any positive reason for why you are running it might be a good chance to discuss with your coach or your friends about why you started doing this, whether you need a break, or whether there's another form of activity that might be better for you at this moment in time.

- Reward! Positive reinforcement is a great way to feel good about what you are doing and ensure you continue on your running journey. If you and your coach know what motivates you to run then you can ensure you get the most appropriate reward for doing it! If you are motivated by meeting new people then make sure you include group sessions in your training plan. If you are motivated by competing in races, make sure you include lots of smaller races in your training plan in the lead up to your main event.

How can I use my motivation?

So you've identified why you are running or why you are about to start a tough training block. What next? Well, it's easy to think about what motivates you before things have got tough....but on a bad day, are you really going to be thinking about the positive reasons why you're doing something? Probably not! So, don't let yourself forget.

Write down your main motivations at the top of your training plan. Put them in bold, underline them, do not forget them. If you sit at a desk, put a post it note on your screen, or set your background to a photo that will remind you of what motivates you. If you run at a certain time of day you could set a reminder on your phone to remind you of your motivation each day. Think of it as a motivational alarm!

Key Points:

- Everyone has a unique motivation that keeps them running and training.

- Identifying your motivations for running before starting a period of training.

- Keep your motivations in easy sight to help you on the days that you are struggling.

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