Thursday, January 31, 2008


Today Runner's Lounge is having another "Take it and Run Thursday." The topic? Motivation. I was going to skip out on it this week. I could talk about the 'hurricane' that hit Kentucky Tuesday night, or the very much related death and rebirth of my cell phone. I could talk about how I'm enjoying the changes to my workout schedule, or perhaps the bike-swim workout I'm doing tonight with Team in Training.

But wouldn't you rather know what makes this oh-so Relentless Runner tick? I know I would.

Most people are motivated by things that don't really effect me. I do not workout to lose weight. I am not trying to fit into a new pair of pants. In fact, I'm not even motivated by appearance at all. I don't do it to add days to my life, although that is a definite bonus of my lifestyle! You could say I run to add life to my days; however, thats not the whole story.

Something else drives me.

I'm trying to live up to someone's expectations. Not friends. Not colleagues. Not professors. Not even my parents. Not my TNT coach. Nor other runners. I strive to live up to my own expectations.

What are those expectations? I want to be the best I can be.

I'm a decent runner, but I could be better. I can see I am getting better every week. I can feel it, and I can quantify it by looking at my training log. Seeing this progress feeds the engine, my drive gets stronger. I am making progress towards being the best I can be.

I'm a bad swimmer. I know this. But I'm persistent as hell. I swim three days a week and can usually see improvement from one swim to the next. I know my problem areas: I need to 'swim downhill' better to decrease drag, I need to kick less, and I also need to work on my breathing. But again, progress is being made. I can feel it and quantify it. This feeds the engine.

I'm an okay cyclist. I still see improvement every week. I learn to utilize my clipless pedals more every time out. I learn to shift gears better. I constantly learn better balance. Progress. Progress feeds the engine.

This engine drives me. It drives me through intense tempo runs, frustrating swims, into adverse weather conditions, and pulls me through gut clenching ab workouts.

The tricky part? Getting it started. If progress motivates you, something needs to cause the first step. Find something trivial to motivate you, be it health, appearance, weight, or for a significant other. Once its going, theres no stopping it!

The magical part? It feeds itself. I see progress, it drives me even more. This causes more progress. Round and round we go. Its a never ending cycle that I'm hoping never halts. Even during my break due to injury, I had enough momentum to carry me through. As soon as I started again the progress was overwhelming; the engine is going full steam again!

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Observe your progress, and give the engine some gas. It will drive you to be the best you can be!


Jess said...

So, when will you start touring the country with your motivational speeches? I think you could have something here with your "Doug-ness."

nwgdc said...

hilarious comment, doug! I was thinking the same thing! 12:01 AM I want to sign up...ellie may have other ideas though...

kara said...

Insightful post.
Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

This is exactly how i work as well.YAYYYYYYY for race weekend!!

Bob A said...

Reading through all the blog postings on Motivation, I'm struck by how different we all are yet our differences get each one of us out on the road or the treadmill. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your quest for a sub-3:00 marathon.