Motivation


I haven’t done any blogging in two months, and this, unfortunately, has paralleled a similar lackadaisical approach to my training. Odd, since I managed to set a PR in my last race, The Runnin’ of the Green Island four miler on March 16th. I had a good race, but I also experienced the feeling that I usually get around the middle of November that I have gone about as far as I can go on my current training. That’s when my motivation, rather than being stimulated, seems to have taken a nosedive. I think that part of it is the realization that to get to the next level, I will need to make some significant changes that; perhaps, subconsciously (OK, and consciously, for that matter) I am reluctant to make. First, I need to be a lighter runner. It’s easy to talk about losing weight. Unfortunately, it can be hard to do. I think this is probably one source of motivational issues. Next, I think the weather has been playing havoc with my motivation. For some reason, I can run in the cold during winter, but I rebel when it should be spring and I am still bundled up in sweatpants and a windbreaker. I think this is even worse when one weekend you go out in shorts for an effortless eight miles and the next weekend it snows and you are in danger of getting blown off the sidewalk from the wind gusts. I desperately need some spring. Finally, I have gotten into the habit of taking long slow runs followed by days off. The long run goes well, but then events conspire to prevent me from doing anything for days. A problem that I have found easy to justify by telling myself that the rest is a good thing. It might well be. My right tibia, which has become chronic over the last several years, feels a whole lot better. So, I feel like the next week will determine whether the last month of on-and-off again training and a lack of motivation was merely a necessary lull before a new cycle of training on another level, or whether it is something else.

The good thing is that in blogging about this, I have managed to get over my motivation issues regarding writing. I think that part of the problem here was the fact that I had chosen a subject for my next blog that once I had started researching and writing, I realized that I didn’t have much to say.

Last fall, I read a blurb from Nike that appeared on my Facebook page.  I now wished I had saved it, because the following will read a bit like hearsay. Anyway, the tone was emphatic and alarming: running on treadmills leads to stress fractures. This was followed by no evidence, no science, and no links.  I was alarmed by the matter-of-factness of it all, indicating that everyone knew this common wisdom and that I was an idiot for being unaware of the connection between stress fractures and treadmill running.  The assumption that everyone knew this got my historian hackles up and I did some nosing around.

What I found, I realized, would make for a short blog entry: there is no correlation between running on treadmills and stress fractures. In fact, there seems to be some evidence that the treadmill is a more forgiving surface and helps runners recover from stress fractures. Well, now you know.

The Boston Marathon is tomorrow. I do have a goal of someday running in Boston, but first I have to run a marathon.  I think this is probably several years down the road.  My prediction: Shalane Flanagan for the win. On the men’s side, I have no idea, although I hope that Jason Hartmann has the race of a lifetime, gets on the podium, and decides not to retire.

Finally, I would love to hear about how everyone deals with motivational issues in your running.

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3 comments on “Motivation

  1. Getting ready for a marathon is a long process. It does take a lot of work, committment and dedication. You may suprise yourself when you dig deep and do it.
    I know it’s a cliche, but running a marathon will change your life. If you can run 26.2 miles, you will begin to wonder what other impossible things you can do. It was a way of liberating the mind and enabling you imagination.

  2. bridgett says:

    Welcome back. Here’s one study that finds “On the basis of lower in vivo strains and strain rates, treadmill runners are at lower risk of developing tibial stress fractures, but less likely to achieve tibial bone strengthening, than overground runners.” So I guess it depends on what you want out of your run. http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/2/160.full

  3. Drew says:

    My prescription for your training motivation: a big goal. I think you need to act on the Boston Marathon goal and quit putting it out into the future. You are healthy right now and your race times keep getting better (I keep seeing “PR’s” pop up in your posts). While marathon training is a huge commitment, you already run over 40 miles a week. Look at the race calendar and get that Boston Qualifier race set up for November. You’ve got seven months to build up to a 3:25 marathon. The pace predictors show that is within your grasp.

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