It’s Sunday Runday and I slogged out another solo ten kilometer run this morning as I await the official lifting of a few of those pandemic restrictions later this week.
And though I should have spent yesterday afternoon running twenty-five klicks through some local trails, I found I struggled more than usual this morning just knocking off ten.
All my training, it turns out, is as much about inspiration as it is about the actual mileage.
How to Get Inspired To Run
Set a Race Goal
And even though there is not much left of this racing season save for a long list of virtual competitions, I find myself wondering if I might have been to hasty in declaring my reluctance to enter any of these. In fact, my next door neighbour (someone who is not generally a runner) stuck her nose over my fence last week to let me know that she’d signed up for the our city‘s annual ten kilometer run, and all weekend she has been logging some of her own solo mileage around the neighbourhood. She’s probably logged more than me, to be honest. A race goal marks a very specific X on the calendar with a clear objective. Virtual or not, this gets a lot of people off the couch and onto the paths.
Set a Mega Goal
Back when I wrote a more personal blog I used to try to give some additional context to my readers (mostly friends and family) about the kinds of distances I was clocking. I called these my mega-goals, as in I was going to run from Edmonton to Vancouver, a distance of about eleven hundred and fifty kilometers. I was going to do this “on paper” as in, I would incrementally log my distances day by day and week by week, plotting them out on a map and updating my blog readers with posts, maps, and explanations of how far I’d run. It was also a huge personal inspiration, knowing that I was only twenty klicks away from crossing that border or five klicks away from such and such a town.
Of course, you can combine this with a virtual race such as a couple of my friends did recently competing in the Great Canadian Crossing each logging a mega fourty-eight hundred kilometers over the last twelve months.
Write it Down
Or post it. Or blog it. Or Instagram it. I put all my runs on Strava which is a great big fitness social media network for athletes of all ability. I also previously posted a spreadsheet that I use to track all that stuff. It works. Accountability to a formalized accounting of all those numbers can inspire us to do all sorts of things whether we do it to log a streak, get the virtual badge or not be left out of showing up on the activity feed on a Sunday morning.
Run with Friends
And last, but definitely not least, the one that keeps me most inspired is having others to run with. Just this last week I was sitting at my desk feeling sorry for myself as work was wrapping up for the day. My phone chimed and one of my run crew’s name showed up on my phone with a “I’m working in your neighbourhood. Up for a short run?” I replied in the affirmative and had my gear on ten minutes later. He got off work. I got off work. We ran a solid seven klicks before supper, and probably seven klicks neither of us would have run alone that evening. I often say one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life is take up this running sport, but half the reason I say that is because of the people I’ve met signing up with a running crew. I’ve run a multitude of races, logged thousands or tens of thousands of kilometers, and kept in great shape. A year of solo-ish running has made me realize that’s in no small part to having other people to inspire me onward.