Every runner knows that a good chunk of running is mental. Even the most joyous and most dedicated runners don’t find it easy to get going every single time. This can be for any number of different reasons, from mental stress and feeling overwhelmed by life, to physical fatigue; from pull factors such as a nice warm bed, to push factors like a cold rain coupled with a bitter wind. Whatever the reason, every runner looks for a little boost in motivation from time to time.
One thing that can work, and also be fun, is to surround yourself with physical reminders of your favourite sport. This can be anything: trinkets, posters, quotes, books – whatever works for you.
Personally, I find this works on a number of levels. It can be as simple as to provide the mental stimulus to remind me to run. But on a deeper level, I think it works for me because these things are a reminder of my identity as a runner. Owning a coffee mug that says “Addicted to Running” on it does not actually motivate me to run, but rather reinforces to me that I am a runner, and for a million different reasons, that is a part of me, and it is good.
Of course, I find that not every piece of running paraphernalia makes me feel that way, and I can’t relate to every advertisement or quote that was uttered by a famous runner; and of course, not everything that I like will work for every runner. Whatever I use in this manner was usually chosen because it evokes something inside of me, be it a powerful memory, a good laugh, or some sentiment I can relate to. It has to tickle one or more of my intrinsic motivators in order to be effective.
For example, when I see t-shirts that use “Trample the weak, hurdle the dead” as a running quote, it doesn’t do anything for me, probably because competition is not one of my main intrinsic motivators. Yet I love my t-shirt that says “Find your happy pace” on it, because joy is among my primary motivators.
I would love to hear what things you have kicking around, and, if you know, why you relate to them. Is it an ad torn out of a magazine, a quote, a book, a key chain? Jump in and comment below!