Confession: My Motivation Just Isn't What It Used to Be

2SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/24/2012 6:00 PM   :  46 comments   :  14,510 Views

I used to feel like running was a big part of who I was.  I was always looking forward to the next race and training for something.  Even though I had days where the run was rough, I didn’t feel good or I was tired and didn’t want to go, I always felt good when it was over.  That feeling is what kept me going and what kept me motivated to continue challenging myself through the sport.
 
Recently, I’ve been struggling to remember what it was like to love running.  I’m still a regular runner, but going out for a run just isn’t what it used to be.  I’m currently training for a half-marathon so I feel like I need to stick to the schedule.  But most of the time I don’t really want to go, which is unusual for me.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m so busy, I’m tired (3 young kids will do that to you), or because I miss training for events with a group (which I just haven’t had time to do since baby #3 arrived.)  Maybe it’s a combination of those things. 
 
I planned to run a marathon in the Fall, which means I’ll have to start training this Summer.    I like challenging myself.  I like being an example to my kids of a strong, physically fit woman.  But when I think about the training right now, I almost have a feeling of dread, and that’s not how I want exercise to feel.  I’ve always enjoyed being active and will find the time to exercise, no matter how hectic life gets.   I don’t want to lose that feeling because I’m forcing myself to do something I no longer enjoy.
 
Part of me feels like this is just a phase that will pass.  Perhaps I need to make an effort to join a training group, find new places to run or do something else to mix it up and make the workouts interesting again.  If it’s not just a phase, maybe it’s time for me to find new activities to challenge myself.  My local martial arts studio has a kickboxing class I’ve been wanting to try, so maybe now is the time. 
 
Whether your goal is to adopt new healthy habits or just maintain your current healthy living routine, have you had times where your motivation has waned?   It’s easy to be full of motivation when you first start eating healthier and exercising regularly.  The real challenge comes in establishing a routine you can live with long-term, and even feel like you’re enjoying these new habits instead of dreading them.
 
Want to read more about this topic?  Check out Talk Yourself into Reaching Your Goals and Mastering the Mysteries of Motivation.  

What do you think?


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Comments

  • 46
    My motivation took a nose-dive over the winter (extra cold and snowy here). I was still struggling to get back to running regularly in the spring. Then I saw that Runners World magazine was doing a run streak - you would run at least 1 mile every day from Memorial Day through the fourth of July. I decided to give it a shot - and it was just the kick I needed! I was determined not to break my streak, so even on days when I didn't feel that great I started a short run. Most times I found that after about half a mile, I was feeling good and wanted to go past the 1 mile minimum. On some of those days, the best I felt ALL day was mid-run. My motivation to run is definitely back! The official streak ended on July 4th but I'm still going and feeling good. I think I might be addicted to running right now. :) Of course, the true challenge will be sticking to it when the cold weather returns, but I think I can do that. I'm certainly determined to try! - 7/8/2014   9:02:17 AM
  • 45
    I have two dogs, one of which needs mulitple walks a day due to anxiety. Some days I really don't want to walk them at all, let alone multiple times in a day. I have to remind myself that my dogs need the walk and my one dog will be really hyper if I don't. - 7/2/2012   9:41:58 PM
  • 44
    It's not uncommon to get in a work out rut, even if you love a particular exercise. After running five half marathons in five months (Florida race season is November-April), I am in burn out mode, too. I find that if I cut back on running and do other activities, I don't lose much of my running fitness, and after a few weeks I am ready to start training again. I think the kickboxing class may be just what you need! - 5/8/2012   8:00:02 AM
  • 43
    I've been struggling for the past week too. Thanks for letting me know I am normal. - 4/29/2012   7:06:48 PM
  • MANILUS
    42
    Zumba is my passion, for this exercise, I will grab the water bottle and rush out the door! It is intense and I feel so great after. My advice would be to try the kickboxing you desired! - 4/28/2012   11:09:39 PM
  • 41
    I personally believe you can be a great example to your children without being a runner! Find something new to do and see how that goes...doing some kind of exercise every day is a challenge for me, as I've never come to like it. I do know, however, that if I don't find something new to keep my interest, I will do nothing! Good luck...and don't be so hard on yourself. I know what it was like to have 3 (actually 4 for me) young children, to work outside the home and feel like there wasn't enough time for all the things that needed to be done. Our bodies need plenty of rest in order to recover just from daily routine and work. I don't know how you or anyone, for that matter, can find time to train for marathons with a family to take care of. Good luck in finding a great workout routine for yourself and balance in your life. - 4/26/2012   2:51:16 PM
  • 40
    No doubt 3 kids will slow anyone down & Age is a factor as well. While Running does feel great, it is also hard on the body. Jen, I think you should become a hiker! If you bag peaks, it is as exhilarating as running, it is challenging, fun & you can hike in a pack! - 4/26/2012   8:16:11 AM
  • 39
    I have several severe medical conditions that make every day difficult. My motivation to fight against insurance companies, deal with doctors, and constantly be looking to find aid now that I can't work and can hardly leave my house. After a hospital stay two weeks ago depression hit me hard and I started questioning why I should keep fighting so hard when even the treatments to keep me going backfire and could've done permanent damage or kill me. I spent over a week wallowing, barely able to find the energy to get off the couch (which is currently also my bed). To find my motivation took several days of me remembering why I fight, being supported by a few friends who reminded me that I promised to keep fighting, and then I chose to do better and start taking small steps forward to get back in the fight. A few hours ago I talked to someone who pointed out to me that I'm inspiring her and others to keep trying to do better in their lives.

    So I believe that by trying to do better, make a healthier choice, and supporting others on their journey, we can find the motivation we're lacking and can recommit ourselves to our goals. Every day is a chance to do a little better! - 4/26/2012   4:02:14 AM
  • 38
    I have gone through this too. Sometimes it was just a phase, but it might be a call to a new sport :-). I ran regularly, including marathons, for 14-15 years. I remember when the fire went out and I started enjoying other sports. Hiking and biking dominated my interests for years. I currently only walk and love it. I don't always want to go, but I feel good.
    - 4/25/2012   8:14:04 PM
  • JGGSGIRL
    37
    Maybe you are bored, but make sure it's nothing physical or depression setting in. It might worth getting some blood work done or a check up with your doctor. For me signing up for a race motivates me to get out there and train. - 4/25/2012   7:50:17 PM
  • 36
    Thank you for sharing. I feel as if my motivation is waning as well. I wonder if it is because of the heat, because I've gotten older or because I am just plain lazy. I do have to agree that it not a good idea to listen to the negative voice in your head.
    Good job for still getting out there!
    Sending you a spark to get you excited again!!! - 4/25/2012   7:41:32 PM
  • 35
    Don't listen to that negative voice in your head, that Roger Gould, M.D. calls "Harriet" as he says she is always a liar. His book "Shrink Yourself" is well worth reading to learn how to keep motivated and avoid stress. - 4/25/2012   5:40:21 PM
  • GRNBTL
    34
    I think its good to try new things too. - 4/25/2012   3:31:38 PM
  • 33
    Are you missing the social aspects of running? Are you doing interactive ADULT things? Maybe it's not the running that's causing the ennui, but the lack of adult socialization. Our grandmothers (mothers in my case) had regular coffee klatches, volunteer opportunities, and women's support groups that gave them a chance to interact with someone who could talk in full sentences, reason, and offer advice. I sense that you are missing that now. It isn't the running that doesn't feel right, it's the lack of female companionship. - 4/25/2012   2:34:47 PM
  • 32
    I used to think I always had to be pushing myself. Then last year I started feeling exhausted a lot of the time. I pushed through it, like I always did, but it didn't let up. I ended up finding out I'm developing an autoimmune disorder (Hashimoto's). I've started taking thyroid medication and am taking adrenal support supplements for the adrenal fatigue. I was pushing too hard, draining my body. Now, I still exercise regularly, but I've lowered the intensity and pressure on myself to do it. I'm much happier and more relaxed. I used to think I had to exercise for my mental health, but I was actually damaging it and my body.

    Listen to your body, listen to your mind. You may be pushing yourself to run when you need to rest (exercising when not getting enough sleep is really bad for your adrenals). Not feeling as energized or motivated may be a sign you need to take a step back and redetermine your priorities. - 4/25/2012   1:37:53 PM
  • 31
    I am struggling myself, so this was a good blog for me to read today. I think that what has helped me in the past is to not let myself get into a rut. And that is what I have done. I need to change this up. Finding a new route for my walks helps. Hang in there!
    Having small children takes a lot out of you. Give yourself some grace and just change it up. Finding some other women to exercise with might help you. When you are caged up with small children, adult conversation and activities should help to reinvigorate you and motivate you. Thanks for sharing.


    - 4/25/2012   1:25:23 PM
  • EALFARO10
    30
    I have 4 kids and work full time, and by the time I get home I still need to cook and clean. At the end of dinner I just want to sit down and watch TV and relax. But I hate the way I look and how much weight I have gain since my last child. I started to go to the gym during lunch but by the second week something always comes up where I don't make it in anymore.....so I have started to atleast once a week take the kids to the park and play kickball...soccer or basketball...and that makes me sweat!!!
    - 4/25/2012   1:08:13 PM
  • 29
    Motivation is lacking in my life also. I really want to start doing something, but I just can't get myself going. I know if I just start and keep going it will become a habit and get easier. I guess I need a partner to keep me on track. Maybe that would help you also - a partner to run with. It could be left-over winter blahs too. Good luck - 4/25/2012   12:32:04 PM
  • PAYDAY10
    28
    Thank you for sharing your feelings. A lot of people feel the same. Perhaps you need to find something that you are passionate about and can do that will involve your family. Perhaps biking or hiking. You could even take your baby with you and you would have the rest of the family to support and help you. Please find families around you with the same interest and will offer help and encouragment. It may just be a short-term change and you will feel more like running later. You are a winner in so many ways. Do not lose sight of that! Just find other interest that will provide the same results. There are many alternatives and it may be mini types of activities that result in the same results. i.e. bowling, volunteering, gardening, trail walking, walking through aboretiums, zoos, museums, exploring parks & lakes and the list goes on...... Best wishes for what you decide. We are pulling for you and cheering you on. - 4/25/2012   12:23:56 PM
  • STEPFANIER
    27
    Jen, you need to Google the song "Gillian" by the Waifs. It reminds me of you. You do SO much, usually by the time most people get out of bed in the morning. Your motivation will return, and when it does, watch out, world! - 4/25/2012   11:50:30 AM
  • 26
    I relate. I've been searching for motivation too, coming back to exercise after three years off, and your blog reminded me of something I had not thought of. I forgot how much I loved training with a group and how I gained inspiration and competitive spirit from them. So thank you, your writing was a big help! - 4/25/2012   11:28:58 AM
  • 25
    I can relate. I don't run marathons, but I'm a 57 year old who was walking quite decent 1/2 marathons for the last few years and going to the gym, attending WW's, aerobics class. When I turned 50 I went from an obese couch potato worker to a retired fitness nut, lost 60 + lbs and felt great. But over the past year or so my life has taken a turn. I'm a care giver for an increasining difficult mother with alzheimer's and added to that a couple of deaths. Somehow, the stress has taken it's toll. I keep trying to get back into my grove. I did a 10k on the weekend and am registered for a 1/2 marathon in May, I try going to the gym. What I notice is that it is possible to do but you have to push yourself. When I've had a particularly bad day with my mom, I just want to curl up on the couch and cry because of what's happening to her. Or I don't want to leave the house in case something will happen and she needs me.
    The last couple of weeks, I've tried to use those couch sitting times as opportunities to go to the gym or train. I'm still stressed and not eating right, although I've started back at WW's. I've gained over 20 lbs and though I'm not having much luck taking it off, at least for the past 4 months it's helped me stop gaining more weight. Sometimes, we have to be thankful for just standing still rather than going backwards. - 4/25/2012   9:30:30 AM
  • 24
    I've lost my motivation and enjoyment of running many times. I think training for the longer races is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. I hit my lowest depths during marathon training. It's nice to be in such good company. I've had injuries where I've had to take breaks from running. Those injuries turned out to be blessings--when I could run again, I found the joy of running had come back. Take a short break from running and get as much rest as a mom with 3 kids can get. I'm sure your spirits will lift soon. - 4/25/2012   9:25:14 AM
  • 23
    I'm usually a pretty motivated person, but I'm at week 4 of the 28-day bootcamp for the second month in a row and I AM TIRED. It is so hard to make myself go do it, but it's almost over and when it is I'm going to try something else for a while. Sounds like you should too... Best wishes on whatever is your next healthy habit! - 4/25/2012   9:24:51 AM
  • JMB369
    22
    I definitely need variety to keep my motivation going. Right now I am in a transition phase, and it's a little tricky to patch together a program that will keep me exercising enough, but not bore me. I am currently doing 4 yoga classes a week and swimming laps (at home) 3x/week. Plus my SO and I go dancing once a week for two to three hours. I have stopped weight-lifting, which I did for two years, and hiking, which lost it's appeal after I broke my ankle three years ago. I am thinking of a zumba class, which everyone seems to enjoy, and which will give me the cardio workout I need. And then there is belly-dancing.... - 4/25/2012   8:58:08 AM
  • 21
    Don't be too hard on yourself Jen. Little ones don't stay little for very long (trust me on this one). They are demanding of your time and energy, and that can cut into other activities. But before you can blink, they are out of the house and you have oodles of spare time to work on other things.

    I find that motivation is like a roller coaster, and we are in the seats going along for the ride. Sometimes my motivation is high, and sometimes I have to work on it, but the high part comes again. You are just in the "work on it" part.

    Keep your head up! - 4/25/2012   8:51:50 AM
  • 20
    It could be that you have just grown past the stage of being a runner. There are many things to consider. What age were you when you started running, and what age are you now? Maybe this is your bodies psychological way of telling you, that it is maybe time to make a change?

    I myself used to feel that passionate about skating. Then one day I woke up, and realized that just the thought of going skating made me feel bored and tired. It no longer was fun. It had become routine and a chore.

    I needed to find something that made me feel like I was having fun again. I did. I started working out in our local recreation complex, lifting weights. And for about 10 years, lifting weights had been "my thing".

    No... as I am starting to get older, and I am in my mid 40's, I have once again moved on. Now I love to go hiking. I find this particularly enjoyable, since it allows me to participate in another hobby of mine at the same time... Photography (at least while I can still see well enough).

    I guess the point is, is that as we age, our desires regarding hobbies and activities often change. This martial arts thing you mention might be what you need? There are many styles to choose from. Tai Chi is not only a very good way to work out, but also highly relaxing, and invigorating. Perhaps that is something your body needs, seeing that you have 3 children?

    What ever you choose... you now have a wonderful opportunity to explore a new direction to take, regarding your physical activity. Rather than thinking of this as a loss of an old passion, think of it as going on a new adventure. An adventure of discovering who you are.
    :) - 4/25/2012   7:49:14 AM
  • 19
    I have found that it can be helpful if I take some time off from running, but since I am a runner, I have to set a date for when I will start again. - 4/25/2012   5:45:57 AM
  • 18
    I would suggest at least for a while changing your routine, trying new exercises. Maybe join other Moms in a dance group. Also I often see moms running WITH a carriage. I am sure that it is harder, but if you have one little one at home in the AM, that just might work for you - 4/25/2012   2:02:58 AM
  • 17
    I would encourage you to think about the idea of "seasons" of things we do. With 3 small children, just getting in exercise at all is a BIG deal! (Been there, and have done that, sans the exercise--which is why I'm where I am right now. I didn't take time for me.)

    I wouldn't push yourself into doing something that your heart just isn't in to right now. Find those things you want to do when you can fit them in midst everything else.

    Little ones won't be young forever, and then your season will shift to something different. -- That constant adjustment can be a challenge. Don't give up! - 4/25/2012   1:22:05 AM
  • AMOTTLEY
    16
    I feel that way right now at this very moment and it's been like that going on a week now. It's quite scary b/c I feel like I'm setting myself up for failure if my mentality doesn't hurry up and change. I tend to lose sight of the BIGGER picture when it seems so so far away and I have HIGH expectations of myself. - 4/24/2012   11:55:30 PM
  • 15
    In May I will have been on my "journey" for four years. I routinely have to change things up so that I don't get bored or in a mental slump. Have you tried Zumba? That burns a lot of calories, keeps your heart rate up and is a blast.

    I spent a lot of hours last year running. This year I'm spending more lifting weights and running less. I don't feel like that's a bad thing. Running isn't my main thing, and won't ever be my only thing. Have you considered a triathlon or biathlon? - 4/24/2012   10:45:30 PM
  • 14
    It's easy to get bored if you don't mix it up. - 4/24/2012   10:27:08 PM
  • SP_COACH_NANCY
    13
    I love this blog, Coach Jen! You have always been my running inspiration and I am glad to know that even our heroes struggle from time to time. But I have no doubt that this fog will lift as you and I will do our virtual marathon training together. You got me to run my first, it's only fitting that I will do my 2nd as you run your 6th??? - 4/24/2012   10:26:29 PM
  • 12
    Oh, yes! Whenever I'm more tired, I'm much less motivated to anything but crawling back into bed for a NAP! - 4/24/2012   10:22:27 PM
  • 11
    I feel the same way. I wanted to run a marathon and other races (olympic glory being my dream) but I find that my body doesn't want to run. It loves biking, walking a lot (esp when traveling), and the elliptical. But motivation to run is very short, esp since I usually end of injuring myself. - 4/24/2012   10:04:58 PM
  • 10
    It sounds like it may be time to make some adjustments in your fitness routine. Something that's a challenge and that you enjoy. Make sure to update us on your choices! - 4/24/2012   9:57:16 PM
  • 9
    I found this really interesting - I thought it was just me - I think I'll view all of this differently the next time it happens. - 4/24/2012   9:40:53 PM
  • 8
    Joeyspook: I know the feeling. I try taken walks with the dog and on days I'm not in pain I workout at home with Jillian. Having any type of body pain can definitely change how you see phyisical activity. - 4/24/2012   9:14:26 PM
  • SEBASTIANALADY
    7
    I did kickboxing for a while a few years back. If you find a good school, it is a great feeling. There was a surge of well being and powerfulness just from putting on the wraps and gloves. And what a great workout. - 4/24/2012   8:39:12 PM
  • KMATHIESEN
    6
    I get bored with the same work out after awhile. I have found that switching it up keeps me interested. I used to feel that being a tennis player was part of my identity. Now I enjoy dancing and kickboxing. I still enjoy tennis, but only a few times a year now. One of the things I have learned is that as we mature our leisure interests change also. Just switch it up a little and you may discover something new. Good luck! - 4/24/2012   8:36:02 PM
  • 5
    I really can relate to this feeling. At the beginning, I was in the gym 6 days a week. Now I am lucky if I can make it 3 days a week. My workout motivation is starting to decrease rapidly and it's starting to scare me. I just hope that it's only a slump and things will get back to normal once I get other personal issues in order. - 4/24/2012   8:27:46 PM
  • 4
    My motivation to exercise had waned, big time. I don't know why because once I get going I really enjoy it and I feel great afterwards. But just getting off the couch to get started had gotten really hard lately. I have new motivation now. My hubby and I just got a dog last week and I find that knowing that *he* needs to go for a walk and that *he* needs his exercise is great motivation for me. So even though I can't get motivated enough to exercise for my sake, I find I can do it for his sake. - 4/24/2012   7:35:44 PM
  • 3
    Things that come to mind- Have you "over trained"? I do think a short break for another sport that gets your heart pumping may help.
    Have you read Ryan Hall's book "Running with Joy"? (My son calls it Running with Mom as my name is Joy : ) - 4/24/2012   7:23:16 PM
  • 2
    I agree...I'm training for a half marathon also and my motivation just isn't there anymore either...I miss running for fun and not to make sure my distance is there...I'm hoping that after the half I can go back to my normal running schedule and enjoy it again!!!! - 4/24/2012   6:27:57 PM
  • 1
    I struggle with finding any motivation.... I ache all the time and while my head tells me that a regular work out and the associated weight loss would definitely improve how I feel, the ache makes me want to just lie down and rest.... Trying to find something I CAN do that isn't torture is a challenge - 4/24/2012   6:27:51 PM

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