“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” -Jim Rohn
This quote is painted above the stage at my kids’ school. I didn’t pay much attention to this quote until a few months ago, and now it has become sort of like a mantra.
I have been training for my first half-marathon for the past several months, and I am just not that into it anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I like that I am doing it. I know I will feel proud of myself when I cross that finish line. But the training. It’s getting hard. Since school started about a month ago, I no longer have the option to begin my runs when the sun is already up. I have to wake up at 5am for my weekday shorter runs and at 4 or 4:30am for my Saturday long runs. I feel like I am sleep running much of the time. Getting up that early is hard for me, especially since I don’t drink coffee. Or get enough sleep. Ever.
Needless to say, I am beyond unmotivated to run. The idea of running at least 5 miles is not what gets me out of bed. It’s been a habit for awhile now. I’ve also had to “pick my hard” each time I am scheduled for a training run. It doesn’t matter what I decide, I will have to do something hard. Either I will have to wake up early and run at least 5 miles that day OR I will have to be disappointed with myself that I didn’t do it and have to deal with my own brain for the rest of the day. Maybe even longer. Those are my choices. So far, I’ve picked the easier hard. The easier hard is to just get my behind out of bed, lace up my shoes, and do the run.
I keep going back and forth on which is harder: giving birth or training for a half-marathon. This morning, half-marathon training was DEFINITELY harder. I feel like I have to exert myself so much more during half-marathon training. Childbirth is a normal bodily function and I don’t really have to DO anything except stay out of my body’s way. Childbirth just kinda happens. I have to MAKE myself run.
Once I have managed to peel myself out of bed and get out there, there has never been a time where I thought, “Man! I really regret doing this. I should have decided to just stay in bed today.” Not once. I am always glad I made the decision to go for a run. It may suck during the run, but I am so proud of myself once it is over. Tired, but proud. I’m not sure I would feel so proud of myself it was an easy thing to do. Like Jimmy Dugan said in A League of Their Own, “The hard is what makes it great.”
So this morning, as I was out there in the wee hours listening to one of my favorite podcasts and letting my mind wander, I thought, “I am really not motivated to do this. But I am doing it anyway. Motivation is not required.”