How do I stay motivated? It’s a question I get asked a lot.
How do I get up every week and clock up more and more foot to pavement time? How did someone who used to only run to get away from exercise end up running marathons? How through rain, snow and hangovers I have kept going?
When I first began running it was to deal with everything that was going on in my head. I ran to comprehend. I ran to cope. As the miles and months brightened my outlook I then created my charity challenge. It was my way to pay tribute to two great charities and to the sport that had pieced me back together. This huge task pushed me as I wanted to raise as much as I could for my chosen charities. I pictured my hopeful future; the swell of pride in finishing my first marathon to the excitement of running across the Golden Gate Bridge.
However, now that I am well over halfway my reasons have also become very self-centred. I still run to raise money but I am motivated by beating the past versions of myself. Since I was very unfit at the start of this running malarky I have constantly been bettering myself. When I ran my first half marathon nearly a year ago I struggled, walking almost half of it. I finished with a time of 2 hours and 48 minutes. That was when the first of the constant stream of moving targets was created.
These targets are ever shifting finishing time aims, whenever a one is hit I simply aim ahead. Always a look to the horizon. After that half marathon I aimed for 2:30, then 2:15 and finally under 2 hours. Finishing with a 1 at the start of the time seemed like a unreachable feat. That was until this Sunday when I ran the Cheltenham Half Marathon. As soon as I started I felt the urge and the self belief that it was possible. One of my best friends started with me but he quickly urged me on and with a spring in my step and running along streets I had grown up on, the miles disappeared. With a mile to go I had time but only just, clocking up one of my fastest miles ever I finished in a time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 12 seconds. That medal felt like an olympic gold, not because I had come first (far from it!) but because I had beaten myself once more. 49 minutes faster then the me of eleven months ago.
These targets constantly reinvigorate my motivation, ticking off that time and setting the next goal is incredibly satisfying. Since I am currently injured (story to come) I thought I would put up a board of my times and targets somewhere on the blog in the coming days so you can see my progress. It is also to remind me as I spend the next few weeks recovering what I am aiming for. Maybe it will inspire non-runners or runners who have simply lost their spark to lace up their shoes and get out. Beat the past, your future will thank you.
Miles Left to Run: 286
NEXT RACE: Good question right now!
Three Song Playlist
Austin Plaine – Never Come Back Again
The Young Folk – England
Daniela Andrade – Telegraph Avenue/Sober