Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I get asked fairly often from a lot of people where I get my motivation from. It's not an easy thing to answer in a sentence or two, standing in the grocery store (or church, or the post office....)

I have always been a driven person. School, hobbies, activities, jobs... if I was going to do something, I wanted to do it well. I rarely did anything half-way. I was committed and determined, I worked hard, and I was rewarded with progress, success, and satisfaction. So part of my motivation is in my personality.

Running is a different beast though. It is not just another hobby or activity for me. It is more than just an interest I enjoy or a passing passion. Running is different because I get back all that I put in to it and more. Yes, it was amazing to lose 80lbs and change my body. Yes, it is rewarding to put in the work and see progress. 13 minute miles turned into 12 minute miles, then into 10, then faster and faster. PR's drop. Goals are set and achieved.  But it is much, much more than that.

I have said many times that on that very first run, I found a part of myself that had just been waiting to be discovered for 32 years. I found I was an athlete. I found strength (physical, mental, and emotional). I found dreams. I found confidence. I found balance. I found a part of myself.

I love to run. Truly. Even on the days when it is HARD and humbling, I love it. I love how it makes me feel, inside and out. I love being a runner.

And yet even with that, I don't wake up super motivated every day. Truth be told, when I crawl out of bed in the morning just before 4:30am, usually the very last thing I feel is motivated. I am tired. The idea of heading down to the treadmill or heading out the door into the dark alone isn't exciting at that point, and what I really want to do is crawl back in to the bed, snuggle up between Josh and Penny (my Boston Terrier) with my blanket, and go back to sleep for two more hours until the kids get up.

So I don't think about it. I get up, I get ready, I put on my shoes and I get going without putting much thought into it. I have everything ready the night before, and I get up and just start going through the motions. As my body starts to wake up, my brain starts to wake up, and my motivation wakes up. I warm up, I loosen up, I run. Some days I run slowly. Some days I run fast. Some days I run really fast. Some days I run long. Some days I run twice. Some days I run in cold, or dark, or snow, or wind, or rain. Some days I run on the treadmill. Some days I feel awesome. Some days I feel tired. Some days kick my butt. But I almost always run. And I have never once regretted it.

Some of my motivation comes from truly WANTING the dreams and goals I have set and being willing to put in the work to make them happen. Some of my motivation comes from my faith. Some of my motivation comes from my pure love of running. Some of my motivation comes from knowing how good I will feel after I run. Some of my motivation comes from my determination and commitment. Some of my motivation comes from other runners and athletes - of all abilities - who do awesome things every day. Some of my motivation comes from that part of me that loves being an athlete. Some of my motivation comes from the people I love, who believe in me and support me so unconditionally.

And sometimes my motivation is lacking, and I just get up and do the work anyway - out of habit, out of routine, and because of the knowledge that my day will be better, and I will be better, after a run.

When your motivation is lacking you can always choose to just get started anyway, trusting that the motivation will come.  Sometimes motivation is a choice. If you can't find it, make it. :)

What motivates you?

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek." - Mario Andretti

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." - Lou Holtz

"Motivation will almost always beat mere talent." - Norman Ralph Augustine
"You can look for external sources of motivation and that can catalyze a change, but it won't sustain one. It has to be from an internal desire." - Jillian Michaels


Amy N. said...

It's like you reached into my brain and pulled this out. I love this post. Thanks for putting words to something that is so hard to express!

fancy nancy said...

Awesome awesome post Erin!!! You said it best! The run gets into us and makes us better people!!

Christie said...

You always have the best way of putting into words what I am thinking. Love this post :)

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Very interesting and always a great post! Funny thing...and not something you and I have discussed lately - but I was just previewing a book YESTERDAY that speaks to how we can behave our way into feeling certain ways...your daily ritual of acting motivated can actually make you FEEL motivated. It is called "The As If Principle" by Richard Wiseman and in a nutshell presents research that suggests that by acting like you have a particular quality (or feeling or emotion), you can actually produce that quality (or feeling or emotion). "if you want a quality, act as if you already have it."

Annie Crow said...

Very inspiring, thank you!

Christina Williams said...

I got through my 19 miles today and I read this before I set out. I honestly tried remembering your encouraging words when the hard miles set in, I did a "what would Erin do when it gets hard". Thank you and for all your guidance for me personally :) <3

Diana Martinez said...

Love this post!

Holly Parker said...

Being injured and not being able to run has really been hard. I worry I won't be able to meet my goals this summer. And I am losing my drive to work out; it seems pointless when I can't do the "main event". I will take this to heart and just keep plodding along!

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