Is motivation something that we are born with a certain amount of? Does will power run out after you've used all of yours up, or does it recharge? What enables some people to charge on at full speed for months on end while some of us can't seem to even get started?
I like to think that inertia has something to do with this. Once we make that heroic effort to get up off the couch and put on our running shoes every subsequent effort becomes a little easier until it becomes a habit and something to look forward to rather than a chore.
I have a habit of seeing things in black and white, it is all or nothing. I don't think I'm alone in tending towards this absolutist view. If I've missed one workout it's easy for me to get discouraged and start thinking negative thoughts. Despite having worked out at least five times a week since February and successfully running a marathon I still feel like a sedentary lifestyle is just one missed workout away. I feel that motivation also works in reverse. If I miss that one workout it gets a little harder to push myself towards the next one.
I called my dad and told him I was feeling bad for not having run since Sunday. He quoted one of my favorite motivational books, Scott Jurek's Eat & Run and said, "Do you want to be somebody?" Well, yeah. I just don't want to have to go running today. Let future me deal with this. Also, I should divulge that I harbor aspirations of becoming an elite ultrarunner. A weird, niche, offbeat dream, I know, but it's mine.
Luckily, I have backup. Bemoaning my several attempts at getting in a workout yesterday I was curled up on the futon and my body felt like lead. I had a bunch of food (mostly healthy, but still) right when I got home and couldn't convince myself to get up. I had tried all day and it just wasn't happening, sometimes life gets in the way of working out.
Enter my loving boyfriend. "Get up, or I'll sit on you." Me, "No, I don't want to. Be nice to me." This went on for several minutes until he literally pushed me off of the futon, made me stand up and told me to go run. I felt awful. After those walking lunges the day before I couldn't sit down without my butt hurting. The thought of running just sounded exceptionally painful. But I put my running shoes on and shuffled out the door, too full of food with my butt hurting on every stride. I was crawling along at a 12:30 pace for half a mile, feeling like a first time, severly obese jogger. I picked up a little bit and stretched out. Then I did 6 miles is 49:25, just over an 8 minute mile. It didn't feel good, it didn't feel easy, but I did it. The good news is, now I know that even if I feel awful I can still run, and fast. This is the bad news as well.
So I guess my motivation comes from a lot of places:
Paul pushing me up off the futon and encouraging me to workout more in the first place.
My dad (an LTC Orthopedic Trauma Army Surgeon and an ultramarathoner)
Thinking about how whenever I'm thinking about running, Scott Jurek and Dean Karnazes have probably been running for hours and still have hours to go.