After I ran my first half-marathon this year, I went through a bit of a dry spell with running. Short runs felt anticlimactic (to be honest, they still do) and I didn’t see much reason to get out and run.
Habit is not my strong suit, so just telling myself that I should run twice a week wasn’t all that motivating.
I needed a kick in the pants – one like the half-marathon had been. For me, that usually looks like registering for races. I’ve had a few I’ve registered for this year, but the big ones have been a half-marathon trail race this fall and my first full (road) marathon this coming January.
With a tangible goal toward which to train, I feel more urgency to train, I make more effort to push myself further, and every run has become more meaningful as a means to an end.
This may seem stupidly obvious, but it’s key to have a clear end goal for any repeated work, or that repeated work is going to feel less justifiable. At least for me, it’s not enough to set the goal of building a good habit like working out. I want to have an adventurous and interesting life, and habit is not that.
But there are adventures that require good habits, and I keep discovering more. In order to have X adventure, I need to save X amount of money. In order to compete in X competition, I need to train X often. In order to have X lifestyle, I need to complete X courses.
When I solve for X, that’s when the work starts getting exciting.