Running: What Keeps You Going?

I’m a slow runner. I’ve never broken records, I’ve never placed first in my age group, and I don’t run marathons, but I’m a runner and I love it. I won’t pretend that, at 51 years of age, my body doesn’t complain – it does – but I keep running. Why? Because running teaches me to put one foot in front of the other and to keep moving forward, and in times like these, I need that reminder. Every. Day.

Goals and Motivations

Goals are what you want to do or achieve. Motivations are the driving force to get you to your goal.

Running helps me find myself on days that I’m lost. It’s my time alone to process my thoughts. It helps me stay healthy both mentally and physically. I’m the first one to admit though, that I don’t push myself. I stick to what’s comfortable, running just a few miles at a time, UNLESS I have a goal to work toward.

Earning a Medal

My favourite running goal and the one thing that will make me work harder is, of course, earning a medal. Nothing motivates me like the thought of getting up early on race day, making my way through crowds of fellow runners to my corral, and counting off the miles as I work my way to crossing that finish line in the best shape possible. Did you catch that?? IN MY BEST SHAPE. That’s my real motivator.

My husband jokes that I need a Disney vacation booked at all times in order to motivate me to get my butt out the door on a run. He’s not wrong. I think I’ve had a runDisney-themed Walt Disney World vacation booked at any given moment for the last several years now (although cost prevents me from going as often as I’d like). But it’s perfect! Booking a runDisney event weekend means I have a big goal and a big motivator all in one. My goal – to get to Walt Disney World and earn a runDisney medal while I’m there. I’ve already earned a runDisney 5k medal in the past, but now my goal is to go for a challenge (a 10k + the half-marathon in one weekend). And what could be a better motivator than crossing that finish line in a physical condition that allows me to visit a park not only on run day, but also the next day?

Sadly though (but understandably), races are being done virtually right now. As I sit here writing this, I have a runDisney event booked for the fall and I’m waiting to find out if I’ll be able to fly and run or not. I still use it as my main motivation to get out the door every day (just in case I do get there), but I’ve also added a few other smaller goals to keep me going (just in case I don’t get there).

Virtual Running

I love virtual runs! In fact, virtual runs are how I first started out and how I got my kids motivated to run. They liked the idea of being able to run at their own pace without the pressure of other runners passing them by, and then getting home to see their medal (which I never revealed to them until they finished their run). These types of runs are also a great way to test yourself before a bigger run or goal.

As an added bonus, I like to sign up for ones that support one of my favourite charities whenever possible. It’s a win-win all around.

For the Health of It

Perhaps the most rewarding motivator, the health benefits from running are what really keeps me going. I’m a chef and I love food. What a great way to burn off the calories! And it’s not just from the running. To be a runner, you need a strong core and overall muscle and joint strength to maintain proper form, help protect from injuries, and improve your speed. That means, in addition to my runs, I do a little strength training as well as Pilates in order to be at my best as a runner.

Running also has a big impact on my confidence level. Just getting out the door and running, whether it’s a good run or a bad one (are there really any bad runs?), I stand taller for having done it. I’m proud of myself when I finish my daily run. I’m also happier, calmer, and better focused.

It doesn’t get much better than that. Except….

Family Time

…when my family runs with me.

What goals do you set for yourself? Is there something specific that motivates you, that drives you to succeed?

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