Let's talk about self-motivation. How do you motivate yourself? Do you know? Do you use fear based motivation? Positive motivation?
Do you know the difference about how these types of motivation work, and the role they play in your long term success?
Let's start by seeing how you talk to yourself about your workouts:
Day before/Night before a workout
What do you tell yourself?
Right before a workout
What do you tell yourself?
During the workout
What do you tell yourself?
After the workout
What do you tell yourself?
Do these statements sound familiar to you? Perhaps this helped you pinpoint what type of motivation you use with yourself.
Let's start with fear based (or negative) motivation. First, it works. But it works at a very high cost - it tears down your self-esteem and drains your energy. If you have long term goals, it is not a sustainable motivational factor. Guess what? It takes a toll on your body, too. Sometimes that sharp, negative adrenaline will tighten you up. It can also cause you to not listen to your body. What does that mean? It means you may be less efficient and you're at a greater risk for injury. If you negatively motivate yourself to an accomplishment, then you feel good - right? So, now how do you motivate? What do you do now? You have to feel bad about yourself to feel motivated? That doesn't seem quite right, does it? It doesn't seem healthy (mentally or physically), does it?
As a motivator, fear has many disadvantages. Fear based motivation causes resistance, resentment, and sometimes revenge. Essentially, it is an attack on yourself. By its very nature, fear is not sustaining or sustainable without negative consequences.
Now, let's look at positive motivation. Positive motivation doesn't have the same sharp adrenaline push as we discussed above. But, it has a steady, deep, and sustainable push. Positive motivation allows you to be revel in the moment and in the joy of what you're doing. When you're happy with where you are and what you're doing, you can stay more focused and relaxed. This allows you to run more efficiently leading to less stress and injury both mentally and physically. In the end, that efficiency is what will make you stronger, faster, and healthier.
So how do we stop those negative thoughts? How do we turn the tide and start helping ourselves be more successful on and off the road/track?
First, identify those negative thoughts. You need to know when you're speaking negatively to yourself. If you say "Man, it's going to be soooo freaking cold outside tomorrow morning" you've already started to set yourself up for a poor run.
Write down your thoughts, and then write down how your preformed during the workout.
Think this doesn't work? Take a look at these actual examples and the correlations:
Workout 1: 12x400m at 30 seconds faster than goal 5k pace
Thoughts before the workout: This is way too fast. It's so cold. I want to go home. My body aches. Ugh.
Thoughts during the workout: This sucks so bad. How many do I have left. I just want to be done.
Thoughts after the workout: That sucked. What a total mess.
Results: 10x400m at 15 seconds slower than goal 5k pace
Workout 2: 6 mile tempo at half marathon goal pace
Thoughts before the workout: I love this workout. I've been needing some time alone.
Thoughts during the workout: This is rough, but I'm doing it! I could've stayed home, but this feels great.
Thoughts after the workout: It wasn't perfect, but I'm really happy I did this and I'm excited for my next workout.
Results: 6 mile tempo faster than half marathon goal pace
See the difference? Those are real examples.
Now, work on substituting positive thoughts. You don't have to tell yourself you're the fastest most awesome runner in the world. That's not the point. Ease into it. Tell yourself you can make it to the next mailbox. Tell yourself you can handle one more repeat. Tell yourself you're perfectly capable of handling that pace. Find out what positive thoughts works best, and feed them.
Now that you're starting to talk positively to yourself, permeate your goals with passion. Setting long term goals helps us both in running and in life. It allows us to see what we want down the road. Use visual representations to remember why your goal is important. Put your training plan on the fridge. Keep a picture of the course map in your gym bag. Write your goal time on your bathroom mirror. Keep a photo journal of you and your pal training together. Whatever helps you keep your eye on the prize. It's hard to keep your eye on the prize if all you can say to yourself is "I hate this", "this sucks", "this is too hard" right? So - remember, positive self talk.
Remember that it's okay to feel disappointment. Not every workout is going to be perfect. There may be times when you can't hit any of your splits. It's okay. But learn from this. There's no need to belittle yourself. You aren't perfect, and that's okay. Life would be boring if you were. Just take that disappointing workout and use it as a positive learning experience.
Visualize times when workouts and races went well for you. If you wake up dreading your 1600m repeats, remember the time you nailed all the paces or went a little faster. Remember the time you PRd in the mile! Thinking about these positive experiences will help you take a positive attitude toward your workout. Here's an example: In the last few laps of the 10K in the 2008 Olympics, Shalane Flanagan imagined she was finishing a hard workout on the American Tobacco Trail in North Carolina. “It made me feel like it was just another hard workout,” Flanagan says. “It calmed my nerves, so I could execute the way I’d execute in practice.” Did it work? You bet. Flanagan earned a bronze medal.
As you work on using positive motivation for yourself, remember this - when you share negative thoughts out loud, they take a toll on the demeanor of your teammates. Your teammates begin to think, "Well, if she can't do it, neither can I" or "If he thinks it's too fast, there's no way I can handle it because I'm slower than him" - see? You don't want to be this team member. Others are struggling the same as you, so exude positive vibes.
In conclusion, stay positive. It can be hard sometimes, we all know that. But look at the difference it can make not only in your mind, but in your physical being as well.
Keep up the good work on #thefitclub417getfastfeb challenge. We're into week three now and we can't wait to see what you'll be trying for your new cross training activity this week! Have fun trying something new, and don't forget to post your pictures! Happy Running! We'll see you Wednesday morning at Harke.
It's winter. It's cold. Everyone is cold. Everything is cold. We would all rather stay in bed under the warm blankets. But here's the deal. YOU decided to set some goals for the spring. YOU want to nail the ShamRox 15k. YOU want to PR in the half. YOU want to complete 26.2. YOU want to drop a minute off your 5k time. YOU chose the goals. Whatever you want, it's not going to come without work, and it's not going to come by wishing for it.
So, maybe you think that running one speed workout a week on Wednesday is going to lead you to your PR. Maybe you think you can just go through the motions and not really put in the work until closer to your goal race. Maybe you think you can just sit behind faster runners and still get better. Guess what. You're wrong. If you think that you can take it easy from the get-go of the workout and sit back and still nail a PR, try again.
Winter can be a time to back off mileage and try new adventures. We're all for a little break and trying new stuff. But, if you have goals coming up in March/April/May it's time to get back to work. Getting back to work means more than just logging slow miles. It means giving it 100% in your workouts. It means pushing your every day runs a little harder. It means eating well, cross training, and pushing the end of every run. It means really working on those long runs. It means work, and it means a positive attitude. It means being willing to learn.
Reaching your goals is going to take more than one speed workout session on Wednesday morning. In addition, if you're not putting in solid work during the week, Wednesday is going to get harder and harder for you as we keep pushing the pace to get faster and stronger. Don't fall behind.
Many of you are obviously killing it during the week and it really shows. You're realizing what needs to be done to meet your goals. You are rocking it. Keep working hard - there will be days that are hard, and weeks where you feel totally done. Take a day or two off. Rest. Recover. Spend some time doing something else that you love. Grab your favorite ice cream, catch up on Scandal, grab coffee with a pal, go for a hike, take a bubble bath, have some wine, clean your house, take your kids and dog to the park, or take a nap - do whatever relaxes you. Clear your head and relax your body. Then - hit it hard. Don't let your bad day or week become a slump. Slumps can turn into bad habits.
We are here to help you achieve your best, but we can only do so much. The rest is on you. We can push you on Wednesday morning, but we can't make you kill it on Saturday. We can write your workout plan, but we can't make you hit your mile repeat pace. We can encourage you. We can help you choose goal races. We can help you find the best cross training activity for you. But we can't do the work for you. That's completely on you.
We hope you're enjoying #thefitclub417getfastfeb social media challenge. We love the photos from week one, and can't wait to see what the other weeks bring! We hope you enjoy the challenges, and that it helps make February running a little more fun!
See you on Wednesday! Bring a friend! #thefitclub417
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!