When it comes to motivational running the first thing I think of is Minister Eric Thomas' quote,
When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you will be successful
Success in persistence
If you haven't watched his video on success I beg of you to take the time to listen to this.
I have been running and competing since I was 15 years old.
I am 37 years young now and find more joy in helping others who are experiencing or have experienced some of the let downs running and trying to achieve a difficult task can bring.
Running is what has brought me alive since I started running in high school as a freshman.
I often wondered how those that were better then me ran so effortlessly. We think of the Kenyans when we think of these types of athletes but running fast doesn't depend on what country you are born in. Your level of aspiration and focus to what you want to achieve on the track and on the roads does.
There are Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, to name a few who's motivational running ability is greater then that of the great Kenyans that so many people look up to.
The elite runners are always talked about. So and so ran this fast, broke the record at this race. Well I have another question.
Why can't our media create more motivational running stories of those people who lost 100 pounds, finished their first marathon or went from a 2.30 half-marathoner to a 2 hour marathon?
Half marathon training
Cutting 30 minutes off a half-marathon time or over an hour off a marathon time is HUGE news.
Is their achievement any less then someone who breaks a 3.00, 2.20, 2.10 marathon?
I believe people who do these achievements i.e. lose weight, finish a race, not merely just for time, run for a charity (I did in my debut marathon), overcome an adversity such as breast cancer are just as driven, just as worthy as any of the top runners in the world.
The problem is our media and top running magazines focus too much attention on the big names and forget the other running giants out within our communities and around the world.
I wanted to send some motivational running tips out to those who are finding it hard, especially in the early stages of training, to get out the door. I hope they will help in some way.
A power higher then us
1. Greater is He that is in you, then is in the world.
I have always taken that Bible verse literally. There is a great power in all of us to do extraordinary things.
I have been religious since I can remember and know that what I have tried to do thus far in my career as a runner could not have been done without God's help.
You may or may not be religious but I can assure you of this. You have far more untapped ability then you realize as a runner.
Capable of more
This is an activity, by the grace of God, that I found when I was in high school. I often feel now that it is more important in helping others then it is in striving for the hard work I put in all of these years, seeing others make the gains I have tried so hard to accomplish.
You have to have faith in a higher power.
2. Think about and meditate on all of your accomplishments over the years as an athlete. I'll take it further, think about and visualize all of your accomplishments in any area of your life.
Your thoughts are powerful.
There is a Japanese author by the name of Masaru Emoto. What he has found is that our thoughts, how positive or negative we think can even have the power to change the shape of water droplets before they are frozen
He says that if human speech or thoughts are directed at water droplets before they are frozen, images of the resulting water crystals will be beautiful or ugly depending upon whether the words or thoughts were negative or positive.
Our body is made up of about 60% water…think about how the way you think about yourself, your goals, your disappointments can hamper or help you.
If our body is made up mostly of water this is a clear demonstration of the importance of positive thinking.
What an absolutely powerful video. You know what I am ashamed of early in my career?
I think back to all the races I won in high school, records I broke to the present day and wonder how come I gave so much energy and negative self talk to races I lost, which brings me to number three. Possibly you understand where I am coming from.
Focus on health
3. Be thankful for your health. There are many who don't have the same capabilities as you and I have and yet how often do we take these things for granted.
It's early on in your training block. Everything seems to hurt, your sore in places you didn't think you could be sore at, tendons and ligaments are aching. Guess what, there are children at St. Jude Hospital who are dying of cancer. Be thankful you can go out and run.
I am in my second week back into training in preparation to try to better my 2.19.35 marathon best at the 2013 Boston Marathon. I am, what I term, not fit right now.
My wife, has been dealing with botox poisoning for the past 13 months. There are days where it is hard for me to get out the door, as it always has been over the years for me early in a training block, but she gives me all the motivation I need.
Always think of the blessings you have in your life and use that positive energy to help you when there is no one around to encourage you.
Surround yourself with support
4. Talk to loved ones about your goals. It could be a good friend, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend. Heck, talk to yourself if there is no one around but surround yourself with people who are going to care about your aspirations. This is so important for your success.
5. Watch uplifting youtube videos. I just watched a 7-part series ESPN did a few years ago on the National and Olympic Wrestling great, Dan Gable.
It was one of the most inspiring stories you could possibly watch
. Direct your energy and focus on what is good and disregard what is bad.
It astounds me the amount of negative attention the news stations, media, magazines etc give to negative news stories.
It is almost as if there is a secret government somewhere wanting to feed you this worthless crap, take you away from being the happy, bright and inspired person that I am sure you are.
Trust me, I go way in depth on this one….will leave it at that.
6. Read uplifting books.
Find some books that can give back to you and not take away your joy as reading some news story about wars or someone dying can.
The sooner you focus your attention on healthy, happy and motivational running content the more inspired you are going to be as a runner and the more energy that will be working in your favor.
Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. -Phillipians 4:8
7. Seek out those for help in your training. One of the greatest things about this site is I have met and got to know people who needed help and who weren't afraid to ask for it.
I am a sub 2.20 marathoner. There are runners far faster then I am but I also know I can relate to runners of all ability levels and this is a way to give back.
8. Write down your goals. A famous 1953 study by Yale University states 3% of Yale students who had written down their goals hads more wealth years later then 97% of those who had not, combined.
The articles ends with a very powerful quote by James Addison,
There is nothing we receive with so much reluctance as advice.
I think there is a lot of power in not just thinking about the goals you have a runner, but writing them down. Stick post it's around your apartment or home to remind you of what you want to accomplish.
It is an easier way to hold yourself accountable when you have little reminders of the task you have given yourself. There are no short cuts in this sport.
It will give back to you exactly what you put into it so you have to come up with positive, enlightening and encouraging ways to keep yourself on the path you want to go.
Find a mentor
9. Seek out a coach. I can credit my success as a runner to those who took the time out of their schedule to coach me, to show me things I was doing wrong in my training.
I spent years running far too many of my miles easy. I thought that running over 100 miles a week would make me a top distance runner like running 120 mile weeks would get me from a 2.43 to sub 2.22 marathon time. I was so wrong!
Quantity, how many miles you run in a week is useless.
There is a difference between being fit and being able to race a specific distance at a specific pace.
It reminds me of a quote by the great runner, Barry Maghee who said, ‘anyone can run 20 miles, it is the last 6 that count'.
People like Boston Marathon Champion, Lisa Rainsberger, Olympic coaches Dr. Joe Vigil and Jack Hazen to my high school coaches, John Weaver, Craig Thompson and Dennis Delbert all contributed, all showed me various ways to train and be a competitive runner.
Some runners do well without coaching, some do better with.
Coaching runners has inspired me to work harder as an athlete and to the best coach I can be.
He who would ignite a fire in others but himself glow-Olympic coach – Dr. Joe Vigil
Never be afraid to ask for help. There are those that understand your frustrations, have dealt with the disappointments you may be dealing with who are there to hear you out.
10. Don't be afraid to fail but don't accept it either. I'll bring this up just for example, I formed this site around the struggles I had to endure to achieve one of my lifelong goals back when I was in high school, to earn an Olympic Trials standard marathon time.
In 2007, prior to running 2.19, I had two trials I had to overcome before that race occured. I was trying to break the then 2008 US Olympic Trials standard ‘B' time of 2.22.00, a 5.25 per mile average pace. Keep in mind, my PR at the time, was 2.43.36.
I ran a 2.40.02, a small PR but far from the 2.22.00 I needed to run in the Trials. I failed again a few months later at the Chicago Marathon running a 2.51.51 (worst heat in the races history and I am NOT a hot weather runner).
You can always be better
I cannot say this enough, don't accept where you are as a runner.
If your goal is simply to finish a 5K, then work toward that goal until you meet it.
If you have to walk the last mile to do it, so be it but you have to keep chopping at the tree until it falls, period. I was stubborn and would not relent, that is what I am most proud of because I was not born with great talent.
I am most proud that I kept training until I finally broke the 2.22 barrier and even went under the 2.20 barrier.
You cannot relent, life is too short to look back with regret that you did not give it your utmost effort in trying to achieve something you truly wanted.
I am not a Ryan Hall or Dathan Ritzenhein. I relate so much better to runners who have to work with all their heart and soul to get to to a high level of running.
Do I believe these guys work hard. Absolutely and I am friends with both of them. I know they work hard but they have huge engines.
We all are born with various abilities, some achieve greatness more easily then others but the heart, in my opinion, will always overpower talent.
You have to remember that the most successful people, regardless what area it is, simply don't know when to let up. Dan Gable, the reminds me of that type of person.
I think everyone can achieve this type of success if they were putting their entire effort into every waking moment of the day to any task.
That being said, there has to be an immense longing to do something others consider painful to do anything at a stellar level but can everyone do that? Dan lost his sister. He was motivated before this but afterward he was even more so.
What are you good at? Why are you that way?
Do that with your running!
Put the same emphasis on excellence and focus to your running and I guarantee you will start to see personal bests spring forth, you will have a renewed sense of what you are truly capable of.
I can guarantee if you want something bad enough, you are going to find out how to get there no matter what. Running is no different.
11. Listen to your body. This is probably one of the most important tips for motivational running I can give you. If you want to be a hero or shero, save it for race day.
If you feel like crap in training and you have a 15-mile run planned and you get 3 miles in and your legs are screaming. Bag the day then and there.
The smart athlete is the one who has the patience to back off at the right time rather then continue to push and push and push until there is a dimished return in training and racing output.
You can only push the body so far before chronic fatigue sets in.
The only way to get out of that mental and physical roller coaster is complete rest, not the easiest thing to do for motivated runners.
Your out there to get a training effect. I had days when I was training with the Army World Class Athlete Program Team where I could not finish workouts. I listened to the physiological signals my body was telling me.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Please feel free to leave a comment.
I hope this was helpful. Please send me your feedback as to what areas of training you are would like written about. Any area I can assist you with.