Category Archives: Motivation

Kick New Year’s Resolutions in the Butt

We may not be Olympic calibre athletes, but we all have accomplishments for 2016 we can be proud of. Many of us tend to focus on the times we fell short of our objectives and forget our achievements.

Our preoccupation with negative events or outcomes is human nature. In their excellent book “Switch; How to Change Things When Change is Hard”, authors Chip and Dan Heath examine relevant psychological research. They conclude in almost all areas of life, “we seem wired to focus on the negative”.  We dwell on the negative, ignoring the positive.

Unfortunately, running is no exception.

The Depressive Edge? Going Downhill After the Race

Aren’t You Supposed to Feel Happy, Not Depressed, After Running a Race?!

(Published on September 8, 2014 by Kate F. Hays, Ph.D. in The Edge: Peak Performance Psychology. Republished with permission)

A few days ago, Susan completed a marathon. Her hard training paid off: she did well. Now, along with the expected body stiffness, why, she wonders, is she feeling so out of sorts? She’s cranky, snapping at people, has no appetite, can’t find a comfortable position for sleeping, can’t focus at work. If she didn’t know better, she’d say she was depressed.

Then there’s her good friend, Sharon, who also ran this same race. Coming back from injury, Sharon wasn’t even sure she could complete the race. She did, but had been miserable—and achieved a miserable time. She too is moody, unfocused, and irritable. She keeps re-playing the race in her head, thinking “If only…” and “I should have….”

Top Seven Tips for Staying Motivated To Run and Train

Exhaustion2snThe preparation period for an event or performance several months in duration (e.g. a race or theatrical show) can be divided into three segments: Honeymoon, Serious Business and Light at the End of the Tunnel.  (Bennett was in a production of Grease.  That’s a different issue altogether).

Runners training now for a fall race (or spring race if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) are into the Serious Business.  The initial excitement has long worn off.  But you can’t yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.  You’re into some tough physical and mental slogging.  It is at this point where motivation frequently wanes.

Here are seven tips to rally the mental troops, kick your drive up a notch and stay on track (#3 is our fave):

Running for Hope

by Annabelle DeGouveia

My marathon story began in 2003.  As a mother of two boys under 4, I was a casual runner.  I would run for fitness, run when I was stressed and sometimes when I really just felt like running away!  In 2002, my husband who was also a casual runner told me he was going to run a half-marathon.  “Damn, I’m jealous “, I thought.  But later changed that to, “Why can’t I do that?  Before I knew it, we had both completed two half-marathons that year, Toronto and Scotiabank.

By spring 2003, I was ready to try again and ran the Burlington Half.  Despite my love of running and of the excitement of race day, I remember looking at the marathoners, still running long after I had finished my post race bagel and thought, “Damn, they’re crazy!.   But, that soon changed.

At my local running store, I found myself perusing the brochures and flyers of upcoming races when a young staff member asked if I needed help.  “Oh, not me, these marathons aren’t for me.”  He looked at me and simply asked the right question, “Why can’t you do that?” And before I knew it, (and after a few glasses of red wine), I was registering for the Scotiabank Marathon that September.

Take Pride in Your 2014 Accomplishments

We may not be Olympic calibre athletes, but we all have accomplishments for 2014 we can be proud of. Many of us tend to focus on the times we fell short of our objectives and forget our achievements.

Our preoccupation with negative events or outcomes is human nature. In their excellent book “Switch; How to Change Things When Change is Hard”, authors Chip and Dan Heath examine relevant psychological research. They conclude in almost all areas of life, “we seem wired to focus on the negative”.  We dwell on the negative, ignoring the positive.

Unfortunately, running is no exception.

The Depressive Edge? Going Downhill After the Race

Sad middle aged woman suffering from headacheAren’t You Supposed to Feel Happy, Not Depressed, After Running a Race?!

(Published on September 8, 2014 by Kate F. Hays, Ph.D. in The Edge: Peak Performance Psychology. Republished with permission)

A few days ago, Susan completed a marathon. Her hard training paid off: she did well. Now, along with the expected body stiffness, why, she wonders, is she feeling so out of sorts? She’s cranky, snapping at people, has no appetite, can’t find a comfortable position for sleeping, can’t focus at work. If she didn’t know better, she’d say she was depressed.

Then there’s her good friend, Sharon, who also ran this same race. Coming back from injury, Sharon wasn’t even sure she could complete the race. She did, but had been miserable—and achieved a miserable time. She too is moody, unfocused, and irritable. She keeps re-playing the race in her head, thinking “If only…” and “I should have….”

Motivation on Tap

FieldRunnersm“Running is the chance to become a hero in your own life”- Kathrine Switzer

“Strive for continuous improvement, not perfection.” – Kim Collins

“It doesn’t get easier – you get stronger!”

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit which fortunately functions independently of logic.” – Tim Noakes

How To Defeat Negative Self-Talk

WalkingAwayRunning and racing long distances can be as much a mental challenge as a physical one.  At critical junctures of a tough workout or race, many runners experience negative self-defeating thoughts.  They begin to doubt themselves, telling themselves that the endeavour is too difficult. They compare themselves to other runners who look fitter or are running faster.  They begin to question if they will achieve their goal.  Their self-confidence becomes eroded.  Effectively managing these counterproductive thoughts is as critical to your success in running as is proper physical preparation.

In our coaching experience, we’ve witnessed runners that consistently race well are those whose mental game is in order.  Conversely, runners that continually fall short of reaching their racing goals usually haven’t yet developed an effective strategy to defeat negative self-talk.

You Let a Girl Beat You?

LetaGirlBeatYouby Dr. George Sheehan
(reprinted with permission)

(Ed note: Dr. George Sheehan was running’s first and foremost philosopher.  Until he started writing in the 1970’s, running’s writers focused on either elite runners or running as effective means to get in shape.  Sheehan wrote about running as a way of life, the road to self-improvement.  Reading Sheehan’s seminal book “Running & Being” cemented Bennett’s lifelong commitment to running.

Although Dr. Sheehan was a traditional and religious man (he had 12 children, all with the same wife), his views on women runners were extremely progressive. His 1976 essay “You Let a Girl Beat You?” contains many nuggets of wisdom, most of which are still applicable today).

As soon as the race results appear in the paper, I hear the same old comments in the hospital where I work: “I see you let a girl beat you.” The statement is wrong on all counts; wrong in what it says; wrong in what it implies.

For one thing, these runners are not girls but women. Anyone who has had their consciousness raised knows better than to call a woman a girl, and it is about time everyone learned that.

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