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Monday, July 8, 2013

Getting Personal: Madivation (When Motivation Comes from a Bad Place)

What motivates you to go running? I don't mean the long-term goals, like losing weight or running a half-marathon. I mean your day-to-day motivation. The thing that pushes you out the door on any particular day. Had a bad day? Compensating for an unhealthy lunch?

When I started running, my motivation came from negativity. I was living in a very toxic environment in terms of my relationship with a family member with whom I shared a home. I would get home from work every day and immediately run out and seek refuge on the road or at the gym. My sprint out the door accelerated if we were fresh off a shouting match, which was often.

I would go out and just run, and run off all my anger and stress. It worked miraculously. After all, I did lose a lot of weight during the time I spent at home. If the shouting match was particularly spectacular, I'd sometimes do a near sprint for an hour and return home nearer to 9pm so I wouldn't have to spend a lot of time at home in my waking hours.

In March, I bought my own place and moved out. I was living on my own again, and immediately I felt more at peace and less stressed. I was golden, right?

Not quite.

Soon after moving, I felt my motivation waning. I'd force myself out the door to run, but I didn't enjoy it anymore. It didn't give me the same exhilarating stress release that had made running so attractive to me in the first place. They won't even good runs -- I'd usually run a mile, then get winded and stop for a few minutes. I felt so defeated. Where did the adrenaline go? Where did my "dammit, Erika, keep pushing" disappear to?

In moving away and thereby "losing" my biggest motivation, though from a negative place, had I lost my motivation altogether?

It's taken me this long to figure it out. Where the heck was my day-to-day motivation going to come from now?

I'm still trying to find new motivation, but I believe that now I'm on my way. Today, I stepped onto my scale to see a troubling number, though one I'd expected given my less-than-disciplined July 4th weekend. Over the past month or so, I've gained back nearly 10 lbs after losing so much. I thought back to how much self-control I had when I hit my goal. I missed that. Today, my motivation was to get that back.

My eating was spectacularly controlled today, and I capped it off with probably one of my best training runs ever. I feel good, in control, and pumped up.

So maybe that's it. I need to remember this feeling and remember that going out and having a great run will make me feel this good. I still need to find other sources of motivation that don't come from negative emotions, but for now at least, I think I've re-discovered my mojo.

It's never comfortable feeling so out of control. Wherever the motivation comes from, it's time to take back the reins.

1 comment:

  1. my running motivation comes from more of an addiction for me now. I started by hating that i was just a fair weather runner, keep losing my gains, and weight always rebounded up. I started running more to prove to myself I could, then running stopped being exercise and became fun. At that point, I was hooked, i need the high, it makes me feel alive, it lets me eat a little more, and feel like a kid again on some days!