Since I’ve started commuting to work from Long Island, as part of my marathon training, three days a week I’ve been waking up to run at 5 a.m. Exercising in the morning: it isn’t always easy to get out of bed, but I never regret it when I do.
Everyone asks me, “How do you do it?” and sometimes I don’t really know the answer to that question. Sometimes it’s a simple as, I just do. There are a few ways to look at it that help motivate me, though:
- My performance on race day will suffer if I don’t do this. Not that I’m gunning for any world records or anything, but I do want to finish the marathon in one piece, and preferably in under 5 hours.
- I know myself; I’m much more likely to say “Screw it, I’ll watch Netflix instead” when I get home from work and I’m exhausted from writing and riding the train all day.
- After working out I’ll feel more energized for the morning and I’ll be more productive at work.
- It’s one less thing I’ll have to worry about checking off my To Do list later in the day. This is not so much a “let me just get it over with” mindset as it is a strategy for making the flow and productivity of my day easier.
- “Your alarm just went off and you’re awake already, so just get the hell out of bed.” (This only works about 10% of the time.)
Anyway, the point is that these are the strategies I use to motivate myself, but even with me being a morning person, sometimes they fail. Sometimes my bed and my brain win the battle.
In fact, it almost happened on Thursday morning. My alarm went off and I hit snooze, which for most, hitting it at least once is probably the norm. No big deal, right? Well for me, one snooze basically means “I’m not running.” My commute is nearly two hours. I have to leave my house at 6:55 a.m, so when I have four, five or six miles to cover every minute is precious. (I’m also really slow at getting ready and have to factor in time for breakfast!)
So I hit snooze, but after about four minutes I couldn’t fall back asleep. I looked at the clock and realized I still had enough time to get ready and cover the four or five miles I was planning on running. But even then I still hesitated. I just really didn’t want to do it.
I felt sick of being up at such an ungodly hour, sick of running in the dark and just sick of training in general. “I can’t wait for this to be over” is a recurring negative thought for me lately. But as much as I think that, I know that I really don’t mean it. Because what I REALLY can’t wait for is to cross that marathon finish line.
A recap of today’s long run.
And that’s the thing (even though I couldn’t articulate it at 4:45 this morning) that got me out of bed and that (hopefully) will keep me going through these final weeks of training. (Six more to go! And today’s long run was a good one, by the way. No debilitating pain in my left leg!)
So that’s how I’ve been staying motivated during marathon training, but now I want to hear from you.
Whether you’re training for a race or just working towards a personal fitness goal, how do you maintain your motivation and crush those negative voices in your head when they tell you to skip a workout?