So, over the past few years, especially with running, I’ve come to find that my drive and passion evolves from many different forms of motivation. Often times, what motivates me are completely different than what motivates my teammates, friends, family, etc. It’s funny too because certain things that used to motivate me in high school, no longer motivate me in the same way now! I suppose as you grow older, (I’d like to think wiser and more knowledgeable as well☺), your sources of motivation change. In high school, my motivations were mostly driven through competition within my team, my coach, college goals, status, and unfortunately through social media and the desire to be thin, rather than healthy and strong. These motivations I feel were almost more selfish and vain, rather than positive and aspirational. Yes competition IS a good thing within the sport of track and cross-country, however it shouldn’t be against your teammates in the same sense. It was always fighting for that ONE spot on the top seven spot or striving for the 4×800 relay, often times letting it come down to a practice time trial where one girl’s in and the other’s out just like that. Regardless of what the motivation was, I’m certainly glad college opened up a new light for me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly wasn’t perfect going into my freshman year of college. My motivation was still relatively similar to high school. However, as soon as I was introduced to parties, college food, and late night study sessions, my performance in XC and track quickly diminished. I somehow created other priorities and lost my motivation to compete. Eventually, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I quit XC the following year. However, this only lasted for that one season and with just a few months, I was begging my new coach to be on the track team. Thankfully, I was granted back a spot on the team and my drive and determination were completely altered. As much as I didn’t enjoy that one season off, I don’t regret the decision I made to not compete in XC that fall. Honestly, realizing how real my love and passion for running was, made me appreciate the sport that much more during the few months of no competition.
Just like that, my motivation completely changed from competition within the team and through social media, to really focusing on my own self-development. I focused on taking care of myself first, knowing that the running part would follow suit. This meant eating healthy, committing to the proper workouts (aka not going over mileage or overtraining), strength training, using the ice baths, wearing compression sleeves, getting proper rest, cutting back on the partying, and so on. This self-motivation was also driven by looking back at POSITIVE and monumental points in my running career. Since I didn’t have much to be proud of from my freshman year, I often looked back at old pictures and track results from high school that I could certainly be proud of. Looking back at prior accomplishments and successes and seeing the impact I made on my teammates, was the biggest motivator for me at that point in my college running career. I knew that I wanted to be back to that point of feeling joyful and accomplished after a workout or race, I just needed to hold myself 100% accountable for that and drive that inner motivation.
Now, fast forward a year and a half to the beginning of my senior year. I had just spent the summer getting back into shape and training after being abroad in Spain from January to May of my junior year. I had a good few months of summer base training under my belt, but I still felt that I needed another kick. Hence where my blog comes into play. While I was abroad, my healthy eating habits fell apart a bit and my training was not consistent. I felt that this blog would be A) a great way to help other college students avoid the pitfalls I fell into and hopefully inspire people to make healthy choices and B) I wanted to use it as my own form of incentive in order to hold myself accountable to the public eye. I was able to express my own personal experiences, cross country/track successes, fitness related posts, and finally, discover a new passion of mine, healthy cooking. This blog was a constant reminder to me on why I committed such a huge chunk of my day-to-day activities to being healthy and training hard.
Personally, I think this blog is what got me through my final few seasons of college XC and track. For one, I finished my XC season without any injury (this was a HUGE accomplishment for me seeing as I’m typically injured at least once every season). Secondly, I actually finished XC on a high note, making the top seven and competing at Regionals for my first time EVER. And finally, I was able to run consistently throughout my winter track season. Although I didn’t see my best times during track, the fact that I was able to compete all three seasons without taking any time off due to an injury or a negative mental drive was BIG for me! For those reasons, I really do contribute my blog to my motivation and successes.
Though the previous are more “deeper” drivers of motivation, other simple forms that anyone can use can be seen through many different platforms. Personally, other influences of mine include:
•Instagram (Just a few months after I created my blog, I decided to start up an instagram account to reflect my blog. This was another great way to hold myself accountable to working out and eating right, while posting to the rest of the “fitfam”! Not to mention, there’s also some AMAZING fitness inspiring accounts out there to follow as well!)
•Tumblr (Okay, so none of you know yet, BUT here ya go! (link to my page) I’ve started a tumblr as part of another form of motivation! Sometimes, just a simple picture or a quote can motivate you enough to get you up early in the morning to start out with a workout! Try starting one for yourself! It’s also a great place to collect all the quotes and pictures that motivate YOU the most. Like I said before, everyone’s different and your tumblr reflects YOU! The best part? It’s completely anonymous if you’d like for it to be that way!)
•A rockin’ playlist (Sounds so simple, yet for me, the second I put ‘Warrior’ on, I’m dying to get out and bang out a hard run. Mostly because that song used to by our high school XC “theme” song and ever since, has always reminded me of racing.)
•New Workout Clothes (umm…self-explanatory! Refer to a post from last fall to read more ☺)
•A Motivating Movie or Book (My friend Margaret and I always had TWO go-to movies when we needed a good pick-me-up! “Stick it” and “Never Back Down” have always worked as great motivators for us when we’re feeling a little down in the dumps before a big race! A few other favorites include “Million Dollar Baby”, “Prefontaine”, “St. Ralph”, and “Rocky”.
If you haven’t caught on yet…GO FIND something that motivates you! There are so many inspirations out there! Who knows, your motivator could be a significant other, a family member, a new dog, a new job, it literally could be anything! Once you do find that motivator, take it, love it, and RUN with it (no pun intended☺)! Of course, as I’ve shown over the years, your motivator can change constantly, so if you’re beginning to feel a lack of drive, find a new motivator, test it out, and if it works for you, just go with it! Finally, if reading this motivates you, then YAHOOO I’ve done my job!
Be sure to check out my instagram account as well @Eatrunandallinbetween or my Tumblr for extra motivation 🙂