Day 18: Staying Motivated

The opposite of eager is more like foot dragging. There are some mornings, before a run when I feel myself dragging out the door. In fact, on those days, I feel a little slower, off pace, and dreading the run ahead. It’s almost as if I have quit before I even got started.

Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz put in all of her hard work as an elite runner with weekly long runs, tempo runs and intervals all at altitude in Boulder, Colorado in preparation for the 2009 Chicago marathon. Despite arriving at the starting line in peak form, she told writers at Runner’s World the she didn’t believe in herself. She placed, what she calls, a disappointing 17th in 2:48:40. Eleven minutes slower than she’d hoped. She continued by saying that she had so much doubt going into the race that she realized she’d defeated herself mentally before she even started.

We have all been there where we really don’t want to do something and we are weary with battle fatigue, or we are simply lazy about our spiritual race. In any race, the reluctant athlete is at a distinct disadvantage when compared to an enthusiastic one.

It was the legendary Green Bay Packers’ coach, Vince Lombard, who said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Remember this during the race. Sometimes we just need to adjust our attitude in the contest if we are to have maximum advantage in the race.

Before you make the glib commitment to be a Christian (and a runner), think it through. Are you willing to put out the effort, the sweat, the endurance, and the pain of going the distance? If not, don’t start the race, because you are going to look pretty silly when you drop out early.

The key to running the whole distance is motivation, but where do you get the motivation to run the Christian marathon? Just as a runner who is not in excellent condition gradually slows down and finally collapses, so the believer who does not keep looking with faith to Jesus will eventually collapse. We call it “burn out” today, and it seems that there are many who are weary in their souls in the Christian marathon. The remedy is to fix our eyes on Jesus.

“Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

Tips on Staying Motivated:

Motivation doesn’t happen on its own. Just like you schedule your runs, you also have to plan to get (and keep) yourself motivated to run. Here are ways to improve your running motivation:
  1. Run with Buddies – The social aspect is one of the reasons people start running.
  2. Write it Down – Keep a training log to track your progress.
  3. Find a Mantra – Find a short phrase that you play over in your mind while running that can help your stay focused and centered.
  4. Talk to Other Runners – Talk to friends and exchange ideas and support for staying motivated.
  5. Reward Yourself
  6. Don’t Think “All or Nothing” – If you don’t have much time, go for a quick 2-mile run instead or get in 20 minutes of strength training. You will feel better you did.
  7. Remember the Health Benefits –  Think about how much more energy you have, and how you now have a healthy way to relieve stress.
  8. Give Yourself Some Slack – Sometimes you get stuck at work, or you’re really tired, or you need to deal with another life issue and you just don’t have time to run. It’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up just because you don’t stick to the exact schedule.

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