Motivation mind games

This week I’ve mostly been in negotiations….with myself!

I’ve always been a morning exerciser. I like to get my run or workout in first thing, while I’m feeling alert – before the day takes it’s toll on my energy and I give myself the chance to wriggle out of training. Unfortunately, a new job means that this week I’ve had no option but to reverse my day and exercise in the evenings. To make matters worse, the work is pretty physical and exhausting, so the last thing I feel like doing afterwards is tiring myself even further.

It would be too easy to start skipping my workout and let my training suffer, but instead I’ve started to develop ways to silence the demons of laziness in my head. To do this, I seem to have taken on a split running personality – good coach/bad lazy runner. Lucky for me, the good coach side of my brain is armed with some great motivational tactics, including bribery, denial, persuasion and trickery, and most of the time they work! For example; when faced with the prospect of going for a run on my own after a long tiring day I considered bailing. But instead, bribed myself out of the door with the reward of a post-run treat. The next day, instead of my usual morning spin class, I had to wait until the evening, when my belly was rumbling and my body was craving the sofa. To make sure I didn’t pass it up I took my spin gear to work and went straight to class, thus avoiding the lure of the sofa completely. I’ve also found that tricking myself into thinking I’m running a short distance, then near the end of the run talking myself into tagging on a bit extra, then a bit more and so on, works for me too. Because once I get running and the ‘runners-high’ kicks in, I’ve always got more energy stored up than I thought.

I guess there are plenty of runners who have already adopted their own motivational tactics to get themselves going; from simply committing to a plan or goal, to tough internal voices and mantras.  For me and my new routine it’ll be a battle with some harsh negotiation. But at the end of the day, if a little mental bribery and tough-love is what it takes to stick to my training, then so be it!

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