How to stay motivated when the road is long…

My two nieces, ages 10 and 11, ran in the KidsRock marathon. It’s 25 miles of individual running spread out over time and a 1.2 mile race, with the neighboring schools, run on the same course that the 1/2 and full marathon will be run the following morning. Driving to pasta load (for me) after KidsRock, with one of the award winning runners, we discussed how to stay focused when running a long distance and how to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.

Abby: Aunt Sue, what do you do to stay motivated (her words, not mine … yes, she is gifted!) when you run?
Me: Ummm.
I was embarrassed to not have a quick answer.

What do I do? I’ve thought about it and here is my list:

1. I focus on what I’ve accomplished and not on what I still have to go. (Yay! Two miles down; more than 1/7 of the race is finished!)
2. I compete. I remind myself that if all those other (30,000) people can do it, I can do. And at least as fast as most of them.
3. I only allow happy thoughts. Corny, but true. If something that I’m dealing with in my life that isn’t so great enters my mind, I replace it as quickly as possible with something more fun, more interesting, more inspirational.
4. I keep my mind busy. I read the posters that supporters on the side of the course hold up, or runners wear on their backs. One of my favorites from this race was “Life is short. Running only makes it seem long.” Another fav: “You’re not going to win. But you’re all winners.” And another hanging from the balcony of an apartment building: “Believe in yourself, Amy.” And, “I run like a girl. Try to keep up.”
5. I think about the huge, wonderful breakfast I’m going to devour when I’m done (Pancake Pantry in Nashville… worth every mile!)
6. I think about the team. My husband, nieces and nephew were waiting at the finish line. Letting them down wasn’t an option.

If I were a motivational speaker*, here is how I would say it:
•Stay focused on the outcome.
•Feel confident the goal can be accomplished.
•Be positive.
•Have fun.
•Celebrate success.
•Teamwork makes everything easier.

Motivate yourself and others to do the best work by focusing on what you do to stay the course. What do you do? Tell us?!

*Motivational speakers, to me, are folks who have overcome awful odds and survived. Hearing their stories reminds us that we have no excuses. I am grateful beyond measure that I have no story like that to tell.

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