Thoughts on motivation

I ran that 15-miler a few weekends ago, my shins threatened to feel sore, I took a few days off, and my motivation went down the drain. Which is odd because (a) I love running and (b) that run went pretty well. But I’ve only run 5 times in the two weeks it’s been since then (early July), and they’ve all been short. This has led me to examine my own motivation and think about why it might be low.

A big part of it is a simple time conflict, feeling pressured at the end of the semester. I have only two weeks of calc and chem left (physics is already over, thankfully!), so it’s crunch time. There’s also my conflict of running vs. lifting. I can’t go 100% at both, which is frustrating and confusing. And there’s the simple matter of getting up early enough to run without it being disgusting, which has been a problem because I’ve been staying up late doing homework and being productive.

But at the back of my mind, one word threatens. Dare I even say it? Laziness. Running far takes a lot of time, dedication, and hard work, and sometimes I worry I’m lulling myself into an easier, albeit far less satisfying, lifestyle of complacency. I don’t really think that’s the case – at least, not 100%, because I still do get out and run or lift or climb pretty much every day. (That’s another activity to throw in the mix of competition – climbing. Once I’m less broke, I’m going to start going to Planet Rock at least once a week, hopefully twice, so that will probably replace lifting those days.) But it’s haunting me a little. But I guess since it’s haunting me, it’s not real?

(A bit later…) I took a break to go to class and do other things. In that period – maybe or maybe not during calc – I read Dakota Jones’ Hardrock recap and that sure got my motivation back in a surge. Hopefully that motivation will be there in the morning so I can actually get up, drive to the Poto, and run 13 on trails for the first time in ages. I think it will. But just in case, I’ll set about 20 alarms to get me up and out of bed and on the trail.

– bec

PS. With all this in mind, but first and foremost my shins, I’m doubting that I’ll make the marathon mark by this time next month. The longest I’ve done was 15 – only 11 more miles, right? But all joking aside, mainly I want to come back to distance as quickly as possible without getting injured again. If that means taking a $70 hit and missing a great race, then so be it. I’d rather take my time and come back in December with more miles under my belt and a shot at a better time anyway. Because really… why mess around with marathons when there’s a 50k in December?  🙂

PPS. I’m trying to cross-train more. Or rather, I need to start trying to cross-train more. As I mentioned in a previous post, once I get some appropriate-length spandex/biking shorts, that won’t be an issue. But diving back into swimming might mean rough seas ahead (holy swimming metaphors, batman!). Luckily, I have several friends who swim/do tris and want me to swim/do tris, so I will have company. And really, it’s not so bad once you’re in the water… except for the lack of oxygen… And I should really start doing yoga again, just to get some hip flexibility back – along with the sunshine-blissed-out mental state it gives me.


4 thoughts on “Thoughts on motivation

  1. How is your running form? If you land on your heels at all, it will help to have more of a mid-foot strike. For me, it felt awkward to change my running form, but it really helped my shins. When I get lazy with my form in that regard, they are always sore the next day. In the meantime, doing toe taps might strengthen your tibialis anterior muscles and prevent a real injury there.


    • Hi! Yeah, I switched to midfoot back in 2012. It was only when I failed to take time to transition into a more forefoot strike in zero-drop shoes (Merrell Bare Access 2) that I got the shin issues. It was crazy but predictable (and very stupid of me, especially considering I was actively selling minimalist trail shoes to people and advising my customers to take plenty of time to transition), and it put me out of commission for over a year. So now I’m being pretty cautious with mileage build-up, and I think I’m going to stick with 4mm drop and a little more cushion for now.


      • Nice, I tend to stick to 4mm too. Where I train during the school year has a lot of pavement, so I like the cushion as well. When I switched I got a lot of metatarsal issues, and was always fearing a stress fracture but luckily it went away. How many miles do you typically do a week?


      • Glad you avoided it! It’s a huge bummer, although I did discover lifting during my time off and I intend to continue. Right now I’m still in the early stages of building up mileage, so anywhere from 15-25. (Oh how the kind-of-mighty have fallen. Back in the good ol’ days I was at 70-80 and it was fantastic.)


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