Finding Your Motivation to Keep Running
Everyone has a different reason for running. Some do it for love of the exercise, while others do it to feed their competitive nature. Everyone has a motivator, whether they realise it or not. Here are some of the top reasons that many have caught the running bug and never looked back!
Intrinsic Motivation: Striving to Better Yourself
Intrinsic motivation is a drive within you that aims to continually improve. This can take many shapes, including the desire to have a healthier body, a daily routine that helps clear your mind and focus your thoughts, the desire to push yourself to a new personal best and more.
If you are more likely to run with friends or as part of a running club, you may be more intrinsically motivated as you get personal satisfaction out of the interactions that running gives you. Whether it is taking in the sights with your friends, or enjoying dinner together post-run, you enjoy the pleasant memories, and this encourages you to keep running.
Another great way to reward your intrinsic motivation mind-set is to document your progress. Don't limit these journal entries to
"I was exhausted; it was a difficult run."
Whether you're running to lose weight, reach a personal best time, extend your distance or some other goal which provides you internal motivation, documenting your process along the way can help keep you on track.
Creating a level of commitment, whether it is to a cause (like running for charity) or to yourself (like training for your first ultra-marathon) also increases the likelihood you'll follow through!
Extrinsic Motivation: Collecting Achievements and Memories
Extrinsic motivations come from outside you. These are rewards which act as motivators because of your desire to experience them. Extrinsic motivators can include travelling the world for exotic races, collecting race medals, and more.
Some runners want to run in the most beautiful or exotic places in the world. They train hard, save up for months and months, and finally reward themselves with an unforgettable experience.
Imagine qualifying, traveling and running in a world-famous race such as the Tokyo Marathon. With tens of thousands of spectators cheering you on, such an unforgettable experience will be worth every penny. Enjoying a vacation after the race is an added bonus too!
Other people might enjoy joining races for their rewards, like exclusive race shirts and unique race medals. If you are motivated by external rewards, consider providing an incentive to yourself. Every time you stick to your training schedule, set aside a small amount of money. The cash will eventually add up, and you can use it to reward yourself with something like new earphones or running shoes.
Motivation is 2 Sides to the Same Coin
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators are not mutually exclusive, and most runners will have a combination of both.
If you decide to run further than usual today, because you’re heading for a buffet dinner with your friends, it is a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Treating yourself to some good food is an extrinsic, physical reward for your running; however, your overall goal of running to stay physically fit is an intrinsic motivator of personal health.
What is Your Motivation?
By learning your top motivators, you can continue to keep racking up those miles. It’s also important to realise that persistence and dedication to running has all sorts of added benefits.
Running has amazing health benefits, helps you relieve stress, provides you with opportunities to explore your surroundings (or new surroundings), and make new friends. Continue to seek out ways to motivate yourself to keep reaching goals and pushing forward to new ones.
What is your top motivator that gets you out the door to run?