Saturday, March 5, 2011

Staying Focused,Staying Motivated

The following pertains to everyone who lives for the run but it should be of particular interest to those who have competitive aspirations.
To one degree or another the athlete has to deal with staying motivated and/or focused. A sage once said: "it is so sad when one gives up his dreams and aspirations for a life of familiarity and comfort."
There is no doubt that when we were young most of us had some pretty wild aspirations. As we got older and "matured," for most, these hopes just sort of faded away. Why? Many say it is part of the aging process that supposedly includes the belief that we become wiser and more practical as each year passes. In reality,the reason for abandoning our dreams is due in large part to a cynicism that seems to accompany getting older, a cynicism that leads us to think that our dreams are impractical and foolish.What is also inferred or said directly is that if you're not making money from what you do or preparing for a "secure" future, then you are wasting your time. The irony of such thinking is how in recent years many peoples' investments and 401k's have been lost to an unstable economy.But I digress. Here are some rules to follow if you want to stay focused and motivated. Rule #1. Set a goal or goals. Pay no mind to those who scoff at, or dismiss what you dream. Those who truly love and care about you will be supportive even if they don't totally understand why you are doing what you do. Make your goals short-term and long-term. Few of us can hang in there for a goal that is 2,3 or 4 years down the line. Performance goals and mileage goals are good for the short-term. Being ready for certain big races and qualifying for teams are good for the long-term. An example of this is when the Stotans planned to race in a trail triennial relay,we practiced periodically over sections of the course 2 years prior to the event with each member attempting to run certain times for each leg. #2. I probably don't have to say this but make the daily preparation towards your goal a priority.We all have times when we don't feel like getting a run in. If you have difficulty doing a workout at least once a day put yourself in a situation where you can't blow it off. Example,say to yourself, I don't go to work or I don't eat dinner or drink that beer till I run.The funny thing about it is,is how often have you reluctantly started a run only to say to yourself after how glad you are that you did? As Ralph Zimmerman used to say,sometimes you have to play these little tricks with yourself to get things done. #3. Surround yourself verbally and physically with those of like mind.Many years ago I recall reading how the Kenyans,Italians,Brits,and Aussies all trained together and had great success because of it. Interestingly,the elite American runners as a rule didn't train this way. Also,talking with others about their running and their goals as well as yours keeps you psyched. #4.Resist becoming a creature of comfort. What is it about getting older and having less tolerance for discomfort? Avoid saying: "I can't go out because it's too hot,or too cold,or.....". Don't succumb to the temptation to live vicariously through the lives of sports "stars" and sports teams. There's nothing sadder than seeing an old running friend now fat and obsessed with watching pro sports.Stay hungry,don't satiate every desire and lust each time it arises.Rewarding yourself is best enjoyed when it's earned and not too frequent.#5.Keep reminders of goals and what you need and want to do all around you. Post notes,pictures,etc. all over. Read inspiring,motivating and educational materials daily,share what you feel with those who care. Learn the thoughts and secrets of champions.#6. Be thankful for your ability to physically pursue your goals,take a look around,so many people don't have the mental or physical capability to go for it. Don't take anything in this life for granted,tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. And finally,as you dedicate time to yourself to achieve your goals,do not neglect those who love and support you. Part of being the complete athlete is not becoming so absorbed with yourself that you don't care or are oblivious to the needs of others.
I honestly believe that most of us can accomplish much more than we think we can.

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