Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Great Match: Goals & Motivation

Are working out and training the same thing? For me, I need to be training for something and have goals to stay focused and to give my workouts a propose.
After I graduated from college I felt lost for many reasons. One of the reasons, was I was used to structured practices from being a pole vaulter on the track and field team. Practicing (working out) was easy to make myself go to because I was working towards something. And the something was more or less goals that I had set for myself at track meets. Once I joined the real world and was no longer part of a team, I really didn't know who I was if I wasn't an athlete.
Shortly after taking my first job, I joined a gym and worked out about 2 hours a day 5 x a week. That was my life: work, workout, eat, sleep then repeat. I was happy to be working out, but there was just something that was missing. I was going through the motions of running on the tread mill and using the stationary bike, but I wasn't happy. It was a struggle to get myself to the gym every day and the thoughts of skipping it crossed my mind all the time. And even though I got myself there most days, I just felt like I was doing this for nothing. Well, nothing other than the fact to stay in shape, but it was hard to make myself go to gym just to go to the gym without any goals in mind.
About a year later, I did something crazy and signed up for my very first running race. It wasn't a 5k or a 10k, it was a marathon. What is that saying.. go big or go home... well that's what I was attempting to do! And with registering for this one little race, I all of a sudden felt like an athlete again and I had propose to my running ... I was training for a race and  I was no longer just working out to work out. Having a goal in mind motivated me in a way that just going to go gym to stay in shape couldn't. It was easier to get myself out the door to run 3, 5, 13, 20 whatever miles because if I skipped them, I might have a really bad time or worse yet, not be able to the finish the race at all.
After finishing my first marathon I never looked back and continued to sign up for a hand full of races each year. By registering for the races, I was committing myself to a goal and having a goal for me gives me a reason to why I do crazy things like waking up at 5am to run 13 miles before going into work. I am not sure how people go to gym every day to just go to the gym. I give people a ton of credit because it takes a lot of motivation to get yourself there, especially if you aren't working towards a race in my option. If I didn't continue to race through out the years I would have allowed myself to skip oh I don't know how many days at gym because who would really know if I didn't go? Sure I would know and feel bad about myself, but... 
Now I realize not everyone's motivation comes from racing like mine does. We are different and therefore have different motivation factors like losing weight or staying heathy. Either way I think the best way to stick to something is having a goal in mind. Without goals or bench marks I feel like it's hard to stay on track.
What motivates you to workout?
Happy Tuesday All :)


  1. I definitely do better when I have races on the schedule. It's hard to train without anything to focus on.

  2. I'm the same as you. I have been so unmotivated the last two weeks without future big races, especially when winter weather comes in. So being an impulsive, bad planner I solved the problem by signing up for 4 shorter races.