Sunday, July 13, 2008

Motivation : Are you losing motivation in running?

Recently, i have been losing the desire to run. Am i getting lazy or tired or stressful?

Motivation is a reason or set of reasons for engaging in a particular behavior, especially human behavior as studied in psychology and neuropsychology. The reasons may include basic needs (e.g., food, water, shelter) or an object, goal, state of being, or ideal that is desirable, which may or may not be viewed as "positive," such as seeking a state of being in which pain is absent. The motivation for a behavior may also be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism or morality. - Wikipedia

I recalled reading one of the books which gives interesting tips on staying motivated in running. The book states that consistency is the most important part of conditioning and fitness. And motivation is the most important factor in being consistent. It also discuss our brain as the source of staying motivated.

Our brain is divided into 2 different hemispheres namely the right and left brain (see picture). Dr Roger Wolcott Sperry noted that the left and the rig hemispheres are connected by an incredibly complex network of p to 300 million nerve fibers called the Corpus Callosum. He was also able to show that the two halves of the brain tend to have different functions.

Dr Sperry's left/right brain model

As noted from the picture, the left brain tends to be logical and the right brain is creative and intuitive. Stress activate the left brain and the left brain will start to sends us a stream of logical messages that tell us "to stop" or "take it easy". All these negative messages tend to decrease our motivation.

In order for us to stay motivated, there are ways to keep us going. For example going back to our memories and pull out instances when you started to lose motivation, but finished and overcome that particular challenge. Another way is to distract our left brain by activating our creative right brain.(How?)

There are always signs of low motivation. Lack of desire to train is one of the symptom. Less than 100 percent effort in training, not running as hard as you normally do, shortening the running distances and finding excuses like "because of hot weather" to skip training are some of the signs and symptoms of low motivation. If any of the symptoms occur, it will be difficult to achieve your goals.

How to develop motivation?

Set long term goals like to run under 2 hours for half marathon by certain date, etc. The sense of achievement of the effort inspires and motivates you to strive higher. Have a regular running partner as its difficult to be consistently motivated by training alone. Vary workouts as running the same route and distance tend to get monotonous and boring. Use motivational cues like inspirational quotes or photographs. Look at it periodically and experience the emotions it generates. Develop the heart of motivation by involving your passion. Run because of your passion. And once you truly love running, the motivation will be there to pursue your goals.

I managed to get motivated in running because of my passion....

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