One step at a time: My journey to marathon number 2 (Part 6)

Some things don’t always go to plan and that’s ok!

I have been trying to write this post since the weekend. In fact this is the fourth time I’ve sat down to attempt it. Firstly, I had an idea for a post but I could not get the words to flow so I left it for a couple of days and thought a bit more on what I wanted to say. Then I came back to it and wrote a really good post about finding motivation and what gets me out on the road most days, even when I don’t feel like it. So this morning I sat down to ‘polish’ the post with a few pictures and found out it’s GONE!! I don’t know what happened and I’ve spent about half an hour trying to retrieve it, but it has just disappeared. All I can say is, luckily I just got back from a run and am feeling happy and high on endorphins, or this post would not be happening! So let’s try again…

hard things

How do you stay motivated? What gets you out the door day after day? How do you get yourself to keep running even when it gets hard? What can I do to make myself learn to love running?

These are just a few of the questions that I get asked on pretty much a daily basis, and to be honest I don’t have all the answers. There are many things that keep me on track and keep getting me out of bed at 6am (or earlier) to get out the door for a run.

Initially, when I first taught myself to run it was a weight loss tool. I found running extremely hard, but the cheapest, quickest way to burn a high amount of calories. I didn’t feel confident in going to a gym, nor could I afford it at the time. I was also time poor, with having a pre-schooler at home, so each morning before my husband went to work I set off for a half hour walk/run around the local area, in which I gradually increased my running intervals up to the point where I could run the whole distance without stopping. I had started with a number on the scales as my motivator, but day by day it became less about the scales and more about how running a bit further each day made me feel. Realising that I could do hard things when I put my mind to it was a game changer for me.

Once I’d discovered the use of goal setting as a motivator, I chose different races and distances to accomplish and set about ticking them off and this is still one of my main motivators in keeping me running, especially on my ‘can’t be bothered days’. When I have a goal and I follow a plan to get me there, it takes all the thinking out of it for me. ‘Trust the plan’ is one of my favourite sayings and one that keeps me running when I feel tired and lazy.

Today in Australia it is ‘R U OK?’ day. This organisation’s mission “…is to encourage and equip everyone to regularly and meaningfully ask “are you ok?” (R U OK website, 2014),  in an attempt to help prevent suicide and raise awareness of mental health and the power of conversations. One of my other motivators is this particular issue – improving mental health, both mine and that of others. As you may know I have suffered with anxiety in the past, but I have found that running is one of the things that helps me to keep calm and quieten the voices. It has also given me the position to start many mental health conversations with others and find out if they are ok. I often find myself talking to people about depression and anxiety and how I use running as a way of relieving them. As long as even one person has improved mental health as a result of seeing my achievements, running with me, talking about things, or even thinking a positive thought for the day, then this will continue to be a reason that I lace up.

Then of course there’s my running family – Rachel’s Runners. Without this bunch of super stars I don’t even know if I would keep pushing through the hard days of excuses. This group sees me rise early every Saturday and many Sundays to go for a run, so they keep me accountable and on track too. Without these lovely ladies I may well have slipped back into the old “it’s too cold”, “I’m too tired”, or “it’s the weekend and I’m resting” excuses, so I have to credit them for a lot of my motivation. Their encouragement and support of me and each other is second to none.

Rachel's Runners

Rachel’s Runners

A couple of weeks ago I was chosen as a Sweat Pink Ambassador for Fit Aproach. Fit Approach is an online community promoting fitness and healthy lifestyle amongst people all over the world. They choose people to be their ambassadors, people who “…are a fun-loving, healthy-living group of inspirational people from all walks of life.” (Fit Approach online, 2014). I feel very privileged to have been selected as one of only a few Sweat Pink Ambassadors in Australia and hope that this new role can inspire others to get out and live life to its fullest, and of course in return, it’s another of my motivators.

Last, but certainly not least, my boys (including hubby) keep me motivated. I hope that I am giving them something to aspire to and a display of a great role model for being fit and healthy. I know my husband has rediscovered a love of running again and my boys see it now as a normal part of life. Hopefully they will grow and develop into adults who embrace a similar lifestyle to enable them to live long and healthy lives of their own.

Me and my boys

Me and my boys

In short, this week of marathon training has been a week of reflection and answering questions. I’m not sure I have answered all of the questions, but for now my two main bits of advice for people looking for motivation to get out there and keep going are –

  1. Set a goal and make a plan. Day by day, follow the plan and don’t stop until you get to the goal, but remember when things don’t go to plan, don’t stress out, just pick it back up the next day. We are all human!
  2. Make yourself accountable and put yourself out there. Tell someone what you are doing or even better plan to meet someone to get you out the door. Having other people around for support is much easier than going solo.

I hope this post helps some of you get out the door and realise that we can all do hard things. Good luck and happy running!

Stay tuned next week for my final post before the marathon, when hopefully I don’t have the ‘tapering blues’ 🙂

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