Program yourself for success…
When I told her I was writing a book on motivation, my wife Barbara asked “for what do you want to be motivated?” At first, most runners tend to answer with specifics: to finish a long run in the upright position, to run faster at a given distance, to finish ahead of a sister, neighbor, age group competitor, to qualify for Boston, or, my favorite, to enjoy every run. The specific goal helps the runner maintain cognitive focus at the beginning of a goal-oriented program.
[…] the major challenge in maintaining motivation is maintaining focus as the workouts become more routine and the stress increases. A successful mental training program will reduce stress to a manageable level so that almost every run can bring joy and personal empowerment. The stage is then set for planning a realistic approach to your goal.
Have a goal for each run. This cognitive mental action can activate the executive brain as the warm-up switches on the good attitude circuit. As you think about each aspect of the workout, you can keep the human brain in charge. Without such focus, mental action will often drift under the control of the monkey brain which turns negative under stress and releases hormones that stimulate negative messages, such as “I’m too busy to run,” “I’ll get too tired,” “It’s not my day,” and “Why am I doing this?”
[…] So by acknowledging the stress, maintaining mental focus, and using mantras when needed, you’ll produce positive peptides each step of the workout. The next step is to set up an ongoing mental training program that will “run you through” the anticipated challenges each day through a series of doable steps. This will desensitize you to the negative messages, while also giving you a plan with thoughts and words that will help you stay in the frontal lobe during that workout. As you refine and repeat the plan, you reprogram the brain to continue under adversity. This improves your sense of belief in the system, which will stimulate positive attitude circuits and hormones.
Jeff Galloway was an average teenage runner who kept learning and working harder, until he became an Olympian. He is the author of the best selling running book, Galloway’s Book on Running, and is a Runners World columnist, in addition to being an inspirational speaker. Jeff is the creator of the Run Walk Run® method and has authored over 20 books on running, on of which is The Run Walk Run Method.