Motivate me

I intended to share a new Why I Run post today, it being Tuesday and all. This series has enjoyed a fine, uninterrupted run that began way back on May 24, 2011. Thanks to water on the laptop I was unable to get the post for this week in time, but fear not, faithful Why I Run readers! Next week will not disappoint as my friend Julia will share her story and will dazzle you with her fantastical reasons. Or something.

Until then, I’ve been thinking about something a friend asked me. She is a new walker who wants to build up to running. She wondered how I stayed motivated to keep running. She wanted to know because she likes to eat brownies more than she likes to walk. I told her I stay motivated by 1: eating brownies. That’s a deal-breaker. There will so be brownies. 2.: Remembering my why.

I’ve written before about the difference between an internal and an external reason for doing things. While external forces, like policemen and teachers, require us to do things like not speed and turn in our homework, we might choose to do these things for more reasons. When I speed I feel nervous about getting a ticket. I don’t have homework to turn in but when I did, I turned it in because I wanted to be a good student. My internal reasons were stronger than the external reasons and therefore I could sustain interest, and therefore motivation.

Of course, lots of things help, and frankly I’m not always motivated. Is anyone? New music, new trails, new distances, new challenges; these all work to some degree, to shake up the routine and make something worn new and fresh. Sometimes, even registering for a race I don’t really feel like running helps me stay motivated.

What about you? When the well runs dry, when one brownie will no longer suffice, when the path has been trod too many times, what do you do to liven up your run? Of course, you know I’m not just talking to runners. Writers, readers, athletes, salesmen, moms, dads, engineers, doctors, lawyers, pastors…we all get bored. What’s your best advice?