I take Maddie out of school for half a day as a reward for straight A’s. We go hiking in the wettest trails ever, and see some cool sights.
I take Maddie out of school for half a day as a reward for straight A’s. We go hiking in the wettest trails ever, and see some cool sights.
So, to be fair, I do realize that other folks have kicked courses asses bigger then this and in a bigger way….I am referring only to how Cortny and I did compared to our past. Here’s the story of the Bushwacker Adventure-O 4-hour course…
We awoke at 6 and started loading the jeep. None of our gear was ready, but the list looked easy enough and I figured it would be a simple task to hit the road by 7 and be there by 8. I was wrong. Lost gear, slow movement, struggles with getting the bikes on the jeep, and needing gas pushed us far behind.
Long story short, we pull into the registration at 8:25. The Bushwacker team told us we need to get our bikes to the bike drop ASAP, and that it was a 20 minute trip to do so. So, I told Cortny wait for starting instructions, and I broke many laws as I busted butt to get back in time to start.
[Cortny speaking in italics] By the way, I am NOWHERE near the navigator that Chad is. Actually, I can’t nav my way out of a paper bag. So, Chad took the map and passport with him to drop the bikes. I was pretty much dead weight at the prerace meeting. I had no map to check, no checkpoints to study, no gear. I looked and felt a little bit like an idiot.
As I pull back in, I see David Huntley walking along and I roll down the window to ask him where he’s going. He said, “To the start. We’re starting in just a couple minutes.” I’m not sure I replied with anything other then a press of the gas.
I parked the car, and in a huge hurry start tossing everything into our packs. Food, water, compass, sunglasses, pin the number on, etc. etc. (MISTAKE ONE WAS MADE HERE. MORE ON THIS LATER) I check my clock and I have 4 minutes till start, and about a 1/4 mile to get to there. So, I start running for the start with both packs and our map case.
Chad did an amazing job throwing our packs together. Not once did I say, “OH! I wish I had (blank)” and not have Chad deliver. As we started the race, I said, “Man, I forgot my sunglasses!”
”In your pack,” Chad replied as we were starting.
”Man!” I exclaimed again. ”You didn’t grab my pink gator, did you? I need it for a headband.”
“Also in you pack,” says Chad.
End of questions.
As I arrive at the start, everyone is getting canoes out and beginning to put them in the water. Cortny and I grab one, 2 paddles, the very last two lifejackets and we start for the water. All of the boats are in the water, but us, and Team Bushwacker says “60 SECONDS!”
I see that we will not be able to put in our canoe unless we carry this heavy sucker another 50 yards, or we help this struggling team that is trying to side mount the canoe basically on shore and put in here behind them.
Now, when I tell this story in the future, and remember this part, I will remember how nice I was and how helpful I was being….reality, I was like “Get in NOW! I will push you out!” They were like “Er, um are you sure, sir?”…and I responded with “GET IN!!” I shoved them out into the lake and said, “Have fun!”
He actually was nice. I was shocked that he was helping them. I kept asking Chad, “Are you sure you don’t just want to put in over THERE?”
At some point during that, the race had begun, and ALL the boats were paddling for an island…except us. We weren’t even in the water yet.
We hit the water and we fly…literally fly. Passing team after team. I should note here that this is THE FIRST TIME I EVEN LOOKED AT THE MAP. We hit the island in 6th.
Bounding from the boat, we run for the first checkpoint. I make it about 20 feet and am like “OUCH!” A huge…no exaggeration…HUGE thorn has pierced my shoe, through the vibram sole, and is 1/2 inch in my foot. I go to pull it out, and it breaks off. So, now I hold 2 inches of thorn in my hand and have 1/2 an inch stuck in my foot. I painfully rip the shoe off.
Really strange, but the thorn was wedged in my shoe perfectly. It was a 3 minute ordeal to get it out of the sole and out of my foot….but we did it.
I offered to beat it out with an empty beer bottle nearby. Chad said no.
Bang…CP. Bang…CP. We perfectly nail 2 checkpoints and are back in the boats in no time. It appears we are in third now by counting canoes.
As we cross the lake, we see everyone ahead of us decide to head south. They are all wrong. I smile a big big smile as I see them all veer off in the total wrong direction. From what I could tell, we were now in first and putting distance on the boats following us.
Darn it, as we pull into the boat drop, we see two canoes…we are in third. This is where we jump on our bikes quickly and tear off out of there, across a bridge and onto some single-track. (NOTE FOR NON-BIKERS: Single-track is a narrow trail through the woods for bikes. It is often muddy, hilly, and treacherous.) MISTAKE TWO WAS MADE HERE. MORE ON THIS LATER.
After about a mile of the single-track I was cursing Bushwacker’s name. Seriously?!? Single-track like this in this race?!? It seemed absurd.
See, Cortny and I could take it on our bikes, but this 4-hour was a ‘beginner’ course, and many did not have the bikes for this. Cortny and I had chosen the 4-hour options only because we had time constraints on the day. ”Oh well,” I thought. “This will put us ahead.”
HA! HA! HA! Silly me. I was so wrong on this. We shouldn’t have been on the single-track. Because of my zero prep time and a quick fold in the map, I had chosen a long stretch of single-track over a simple road. That’s right, MISTAKE TWO was choosing a much harder route that added substantial time.
Bike drop. We see it. There it is. I finally know where the heck we are. YAY! Now, we just need to ride back and get the CP we missed…and we do so quickly.
So, we pull back into the bike drop, and the lady says “I need to see your whistles!” My heart sinks. It bottoms out. I’m so mad at myself. Remember MISTAKE ONE? Yep, no whistles. Actually, one whistle…but not two. We are informed we will be docked the CP.
I’m pretty much pissed. I admit it. It felt like we had just lost a race we were winning. I had to try and stay quiet for a few minutes, and just let this pass.
Did I mention that since we took the single-track, the bike drop is full of teams. People are everywhere. They had all taken the road.
However, what was to follow is amazing. Cortny and I tear the course up. He finish the trek section in 50 minutes passing team after team. We hit the bikes again, and pass team after team.
We pull into the finish with a time of 3 hours 15 minutes. SECOND!
Now, Cortny had told me that each 5 minutes after cut-off would result in a loss of a CP. So, I was hopeful our lead would hold till 1:05pm, the 4:05 mark and we’d keep second place even with the whistle issue.
I can’t actually say for sure whether I heard this or not, but I‘m almost positive that was part of the prerace info. Which is why the information to follow stinks.
So, we change our clothes and get some food. As we eat, Rachel from Bushwhacker tells us that we missed another one. It was a dumb mistake. We actually passed it. It was very close to the finish, and flat out a boneheaded move I would not have made with even 5 minutes of prep time before the race.
OK. So the 4 hours is up now and I am hoping for nobody till 4:10. 5 minutes a CP after cut-off would make up for our 2 misses.
At precisely 1:10pm there are no other teams in yet, as I finished my brat, I asked if we had taken second? However, I am informed the 4-hour cut-off is actually at 8 hours.
So, as I write this, at home. drinking a celebration beer of the most amazing finish Cortny and I have ever had…some team is still out there…beating us by getting all the CPs.
You know what, I don’t even care. Cortny and I had an amazing time. Thanks, Bushwhacker for an awesome event.
I agree, it was an amazing morning. But a trophy would be nice
Another Half Marathon is in the books. This one ended pretty much like the last one, with me cramping and in pain in the final miles. Just like in the last one, I flew through 10 miles at a pace that would shatter my goals, and then I started cramping and experiencing pain like never felt in training. This time it was far more extreme then last time.
Before I start in on the leg cramps and pain though, I do want to point out that I chose not to take ibuprofen like I had before. As a result, I have had none of the bleeding and abdominal pain of before.
I start the run, and I feel great. I’m busting it out and easily maintaining a position in what I call “The gap”. “The Gap”, although also a fine clothing store, is the position I always end up in. It’s top 3rd-ish part of the field. It’s clearly and unchallengingly behind everyone that’s going to win, but still a good deal ahead of the average. For instance, in St. Louis, I was 2500-ish of a field of around 10,000. In Princeton, I actually saw a time when I was a full 1/4 mile behind the next runners, but the runners behind me were easily a full 1/4 mile back and I was running alone…hence, “The Gap”.
OK, I would like to get out of the gap and move up to the group in front of me. The cramps are holding me back.
The answer is not, I think, hydration. I had prepared by drinking so much water that I peed three times in the 20 minutes before the race. It was about 4 water bottles in the 2 hours leading up to the race. I’m not ruling out hydration…but I don’t think that’s it.
That would lead me to electrolytes, but I wonder if that’s it, because my final water bottle which I finished just before the race was loaded with The Right Stuff. Plus, I drank Gatorade at the stops at mile 8 and 10….although only a few gulps (3-4 ounces) on the run.
So, I wonder if I am just going out too fast? I doubt that too, because I blow up so fast. It’s not like I slowly start to feel pain, it’s like I hit a wall of pain and cramps. I know…I know…I just said wall…and that’s a marathon thing that I should hit around mile 18-22. This however is a 1/2 marathon.
Finally, have I trained hard enough? I think so. I regularly have done the distance or more, albeit at slower speeds.
Before I ask your advice, I will say I still set a personal record. I still finished 3 minutes faster then I had ever done before. My concern is mostly that I also experienced pain like never before, and pretty much limped in the final 2 miles…literally limping on a cramping leg.
Oh, and one more thing, food. Yes, I ate that morning. I like to keep it light, and I ate a banana and a bagel. The night before I had pasta.
Additionally, I have never had any of these issues with 10ks or 5ks…even in the beginning when I started running. Plus, I do not usually have these issues with long Adventure races or bike rides unless it’s extremely hot (or unseasonably hot…like 72 in November).
Above is the story. Here is a bit more evidence to go on:
1) It was 50 at race start and 60 at the end. This was warmer then I had run in in a while, but not by any means hot.
2) My shirt was drenched by mile 7, and I took it off at mile 8. At the end of the race it was drenched to the point I could ring it out.
3) My hat had so much sweat salt on it, that it was visible white with it at the end of the race.
4) I was starving for something at the end of the race. I literally could not stop eating while trying to get whatever it was I needed. I’m not kidding. I ate 3 nutrigrain bars, 2 bananas, a gatorade, 2 water bottles, a granola bar, and 1/2 an orange after the race…and still felt like I needed something.
5) I was exhausted after the race (as I had been in St.Louis). I literally went home and took a two hour nap. I never need naps after runs.
I am no dummy. I have a pretty good idea where most of your advice is going to go to. My main reason in asking is because sometimes the answers aren’t the obvious ones. Sometimes someone else has great insight and it sets off my own lightbulb.
I figure before I become “Fuel Belt Guy”, I’d ask all of you for advice. It seems to me, I never see the winners wearing a fuel belt. In fact, I hardly see the winners even wearing shirts…and I am considering forgoing one entirely next time I run a 1/2. I also hardly see winners wearing hats, and I am considering replacing it with a small sweat band and 2 hour sunscreen (I’m bald).
Alright, go at it. Give me your advice. Let me have it. Pour some knowledge on me (Did you just sing that last sentence to a Def Leopard tune?..shame on you).
What do you think?
“Screw You, Science!” I say. It’s come time to start throwing caution to the wind. I have made an amazing discovering and I thought I should share it with you.
Here it is…..
I AM MUCH FASTER THEN MY PLAN!
Yes, it’s true. I have all these plans and strategies to slowly move myself up in time (er…down in time) and do longer and longer distances…well, those plans are all horse sh*t. They have been holding me back.
Recently, I have been just airing it out. Going for it. Pushing my limits. Ignoring the Ipod app. Starting ‘too fast’. Trying for paces I thought I couldn’t attain yet. And I discovered I can do it. I can do it all. I HAVE BEEN SHOCKING MYSELF!
You know what the difference is in suffering and pain between a 9 minute mile and a 7 minute mile? You know the difference in pain and suffering between a 10 minute and an 8? The answer: Not much.
That’s right, not much.
“But I can’t run 7 minute miles?” you say!?! To heck with that! Why can’t you be a winner? You’re human. The winner is going to be a human. Why not you?
You know the difference between the guy who wins the race and the guy who doesn’t even come close? The guy who won thought he could and he WENT FOR IT! His plan was simple…run faster then everyone else….or run as fast as you can handle.
Some magazine, or website, or book, or friend, or app, or BLOG (not mine…lol) has been telling you the strategy for winning. Whomever wrote it wasn’t just going to write “Run fast!” …they needed to fill your head with paces, and training schedules, and strides, and blah blah blah.
I should have known this from my daughter. I should have noticed it when she ran her first 5k without me pacing her, and she ran it over a minute faster then her personal record. That’s right, without dear old dad to make sure she kept a good pace…with nothing but her instincts…she rocked a full minute faster personal record.
The number one best thing to tell you how fast you can run is YOUR BODY!…not your head. Oh, heavens, not your head! Your head will tell you lies. It will want to logic the bejeezus out of the run you’re about to do. Your head will want to figure out ways to make you run slower. Your head is lying to you. It’s a dirty rotten liar. Pants on fire and the whole bit!
In fact, your head is the worst kind of liar, because immediately after you finish…after 3-13 miles of it telling you to “Run a bit slower…just a bit slower”…as soon as you’re done… it immediately says “Ah, I could have run faster. I held back some.”
So what if you blow up? There is a race every weekend. Literally, every weekend. Let’s say you go all out and run your first 2 miles in 14 minutes and blow up and hardly jog in a 12 minute finish up (which I doubt would happen…but IF it did), WHO CARES!
Listen to your body, and give it time to acclimate. You’ll be amazed how it easily acclimates to a much faster pace then you ‘planned on’.
Tell yourself the truth. You can win!…and you will.
It’s 4:30pm Monday night and I’m standing under a bit of roof that juts out from the side of the local high school. My oldest daughters track team, the other coaches, a few of the more dedicated parents, and myself have taken shelter there from the pouring rain that has invaded our track meet. We’re on a 30 minute lightning sighting delay. Basically, we’re giving it a standard 30 minutes to get better or we’re going to call the meet off.
Track season weather in Illinois has been harsh this year. We have completed just one meet so far, and cancelled two. The one we did complete, we saw the temperature drop from almost 70 to under 40 during the 3 hour meet, we almost all froze.
So, here I stand, and I’m thinking about “How can I blog about St. Louis Family Fitness Weekend now?”
Just a couple hours before the meet I had sat down to write a glorious post about what will be one of my families great memories. We had had a fantastic time. My wife, Cortny, and my youngest daughter, Madeline, had run the 5K on Saturday (April 6th). I had run the Half-marathon the following day. My mother, sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces had all come up from Tennessee for some much needed family time, and to see us all run. We had all been to the zoo and had spent an entire evening climbing and playing at the amazing City Museum (highly recommend it). It was, quite frankly, an awesome weekend.
If I’d been less of a procrastinator, that would have been the blog. You’d be reading now of a family adventure. I did procrastinate though, and as I had sat down to write…literally as I sat down…texts started coming in. Facebook lit up on my phone. I quickly turned on my TV.
There, on my TV, had been the exact images from our weekend before. Oh, it was a different city, and different folks, but it was the same. The finish line and spectators were set as mine had been the weekend before. The signs were raised to cheer on Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, etc. My family had been standing right there, right by the finish line, to see me come in.
The runners had shown up by the thousands. Some for the first time. Some for the 50th time. Some there for a cause. Some there to prove it to themselves. All smiling.
So, I’m standing there a little stunned, and in a daydream, waiting out the weather with the team, and one of the kids says to me “So, Coach, you still gonna run?”
At first I didn’t get it, “What?”
“Now that they bombed the marathon? You still gonna do that kind of stuff?” he asked.
“Dang Right I am!” I said with as big a smile as I could. “If anything, I am going to run further, and faster then before.”
At first he didn’t get it, “What, Coach?”
“Look, runners are the toughest, bravest, most dedicated people I have ever known. We aren’t easily taken down, and should never be counted out. The people I’ve run with will all be running harder, longer, faster. Some bad guys inadvertently made us runners a symbol for our country, and put it on our shoulders. They made a huge mistake. We can haul the load….and we will.”
And as kids do, he responded “Cool.”
The rain eventually subsided, and the track meet went on.
“You have to come out and support a new local race, Chad.” my friend Rod said to me as he saw me leaving my daughters’ school one day last week. I had been well aware of the race, and was really wanting to do it, but I also knew how busy the weekend already was going to be. We had tickets for the family to go to Arena Football on Friday night, I had promised my buddy, Wes, that I would participate in his Disc Golf Tournament at Noon on Saturday, both our daughters had to attend friends birthday parties Saturday night, AND my buddy Chad was having a comedy show on Saturday night.
That’s right I had 4 link-able events in less then 36 hours.
On top of that, I was still in a bit of pain from the weekend before. If you haven’t heard, I stupidly took Ibuprofen prior to a Half-marathon and suffered GI bleeding and severe abdominal pain for days. On the positive side, this time I was able to figure out my cause and it will never happen again (like last time). In summary, never take ibuprofen BEFORE a long grueling race. It can and will mess you up big time…especially in my case. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to take it, since I never took during training runs, but for some reason I was an idiot on this.
So, I decided I would run to the race (about 3/4 of a mile from my house) and see how I felt. If I felt good, I would run. If I didn’t feel good, I would turn around before I got there and walk home.
Now, I really wanted to run it. First, I have determined that 10k is “My Distance”. 6.2 miles is the distance I run from my work to home regularly and I have gotten good at it. My 5k pace is just too slow to medal (24-25 minutes), but my 10k pace is exactly the same and as such I pass a lot of 5k-ers during the 10k. Second, it was a NEW race. Yep, you runners know what that means…fewer runners. Fewer runners = Better chances of doing well. I admit it, it’s a selfish thing. Plus, it means great goodie bags, friendly runners, and much more. There is something about new races I just like. Lastly, it was a LOCAL race. How many races can you run to? Answer: In my case, TWO a year, counting this one. I’d also know most of the runners. Plus, I’d know the course.
I get up, get dressed, kiss Cortny bye, and head out the door for the race. I made it about 10 feet and I said to myself “Who are you kidding? You’d run this even if you were bleeding right now from your eyes.” I did have a little pain, but it didn’t get worse as I ran, and in fact got a little better. I was gonna run this regardless.
As I ran up to the registration, I noticed there were in fact quite a few people there. There was a 1 mile run/walk with the same start, which made it difficult to determine exactly how many people had shown up, but I’d say it was enough. Enough to make this a real race, and a truly competitive one. I recognized quite a few faces from other races that I knew could out do me in 5k’s. Many of my friends from the IV Woman’s Running Group were there, quite a few of the Starved Rock Runners (despite this not being a ‘circuit race’), my friends from Creative Apparel, my boss, Lee (a good friend, and Boston marathoner) and his wife, Melinda, and my friend Rod….and many many more.
Immediately there was pay-off for doing a new race. My opinion is that new races over-do their goody-bags. They want people the next year to remember them. This was true here. I was given a technical running shirt, a work-out bag, a water bottle, a reflective running vest, a shoe wallet, and various other stuff (granola bars, med kits, pens, etc). The value of the goody-bags easily exceeded the $30 entry fee.
I would like to mention that the registration lady said to me “You said 31, right?” to which I responded “Nope, 41, but I will tell this story all day!”…and I did.
I was struggling (as I always do) as to what to wear. It was about 32 degrees, but was warming up (it seemed). The sun was out sometimes, and others it looked like rain. It was really really windy, but most of the race would be out of the wind (I thought). My decision was to wear my windbreaker over my long-sleeve running shirt, wear my light gloves, running pants, and a stocking cap. This would prove to be way too much…and way too little at the same time.
AND WE’RE OFF! Immediately something new was happening. I was running with the lead pack?!?…and I was doing it while struggling with my Iphone music!?! Was this me? Could I be running so easily with the leaders that I could be resetting my phone music at the same time? Yes, it was true.
A half mile in, and I was still within 100 feet or so of everyone ahead of me, but one crazy fast guy who would eventually win. A half mile in, and I was also getting way too hot. My gloves came off, and went in my pocket. My coat came off. WAIT! My phone (and headphone cord) ran into my coat pocket! What the heck was I going to do with the coat now? At first I shoved the whole coat down my pants (Seriously, I did this. I pray no pictures exist), but quickly I decide that did not work (cause I looked moronic) and I tied it around my waist, taking the now swinging phone pocket and shoving that part in my waist band.
Yep, I did all that while maintaining my position in the race.
I’m a mile into the race, finally comfortable, and able to concentrate. Which is good because here comes the hill! A big one. My phone app tells me it was 700 feet of gain over 3/4 of a mile, but I think that is wrong. There was one glaringly obvious glitch in my phone app during this race (it says ran a 4:00 minute pace in a circle in the middle of the course)…and I’m pretty sure this hill info is incorrect too. Regardless, it was a BIG hill. One of those hills you see in the distance and have far too much time to think about. BUT I WENT RIGHT UP!
I’m feeling like big shit about now…and of course…that’s when you get a reality check. A guy catches up to me, and starts a conversation. “Hey, I heard you say you did a Half last week? Was that Springfield? Were you…..” and so for the next half mile we talked. Never met the guy in my life, and I chat for 4-5 minutes in the middle of a race. He was really nice guy, but when the conversation was over, he dusted me and left me behind. This conversation was pretty much ON that hill too.
Next was another hill, and WIND. The race had led us out of town now, and the wind was significant. For the next mile or so, my pace was slowed by over a minute a mile by over 20 mph winds right in my face, mixed with a spit or two of sleet, and a combined wind chill that took it down to 19 degrees. Regardless, I did NOT put my coat back on.
It was an out and back though, and as soon as I turned around I had that wind at my back, which sped me up by a minute a mile and made it feel like it was suddenly warm.
Down the big hill this time, BUT SOME GUY IS PASSING ME! Where did he come from? How can this happen. This is unacceptable! I will not give up position now! There’s only a mile or two left! PLUS HE LOOKS LIKE HE’S IN MY AGE GROUP!!! This is where the “race” part of 10k race began for me.
I chased that guy for the remaining portion of the race, and literally out sprinted him at the end to beat him by 20-30 feet. We turned and laughed and shook hands. I asked him if he was 40-44 and he was not. He was 45-49.
I would end up in 16th overall and 3rd in my age group. Good enough for my first real medal of 2013.
The weekend ended up as outlined above; Arena Football, Race, Disc Golf, Birthday Party Drop-offs, and Comedy show. PLUS, Cortny and I managed to grill a couple steaks, drink some wine, go out for a night cap, and spend some couple time together.
Sunday…I spent on the couch.
Perfect little weekend.
Here is an advance copy of my article for the Coolibar e-newsletter:
Now that better weather is nearly upon us, I am asked more and more, “I want to get in shape this summer, but I always give up. How do you stay motivated?” I have to admit, when I started getting in shape, what seemed like a good idea just never was enough, and I fell into many ruts myself. Article after article would tell me to keep a calendar or schedule and make sure I had good music on my iPod. It didn’t take me long to realize that a piece of paper on the fridge that said “3 miles” on today’s date wasn’t enough, and “Crazy Train” coming up on my earbuds was only going to work once or twice.
Eventually, it became abundantly apparent I would need many ways to motivate myself and, really, a new way of thinking about training. So, here you go, some of the things I use to trick, fool, and force myself to get out and train.
Oh, I know. You hate the “Fitness Guy” on your Facebook page that constantly brags about his latest conquest. I do too. In fact, I amuse myself by assuming it’s all exaggerated, especially feats that can not be proven.
What I am talking about is using it constructively. Join some local running, biking, hiking (whatever your passion) groups and talk about what you plan to do. You’ll find they are encouraging, and more times then not, you will find yourself invited to go out with them for some training.
Amazingly, they will actually want to hear about your successes and failures, as you will soon find you will want to hear of theirs.
One of the best ways to get out and accomplish something is to leave yourself with no choice. Have your wife/husband/other drive you out to a distance and make your way back.
When I started, I had my wife, Cortny, drive me to work. I would bring along a bag of workout clothes and tell her I would run home.
Regardless of how I felt when it was time to head home, I had little choice. I either made the 7 mile run/walk home, or I had to make a phone call and verbally wuss-out to my wife. I never made that call. Not once.
I always think of this as a good way to make your ego work for you.
Set Real and Fun Goals:
When I am asked what I am doing for training today, I answer first with my true goal, then with my training goal. For instance, “I’m biking to Starved Rock today for a beer. It’ll be about 32 miles.” (By the way, Starved Rock is a state park about 32 miles round trip from my house, and it has a bar!)
By doing this, you will quickly find out a couple things. First, that others give you a better reaction – “That sounds like fun!” – and second, that you will have a better feeling about it – “It will be fun!” I’m not focusing on the 32. I’m focusing on the destination, reward, and fun.
This one is a big one for me. I never set out without a goal, even if the goal is minor like slapping the population sign of the next town over.
Set Numerous Goals:
Let’s say you have the single goal of running a 5k. That’s not very helpful. That’s a lonely, looming goal.
Set up a string of goals (and make them fun like above). First you might have the goal of running to the local park (1 mile total), then have a goal of being able to run to the pizza place and meet your family for dinner (2 miles), and finally a goal of running to your friend’s house 3 miles way, just so you can walk in and say, “I ran here!”
I personally hate running the same course twice in a row or even twice in the same couple weeks. You are sabotaging yourself if you set out to do the same thing over and over. Seeing the same scenery over and over.
Go a different way every time if you can. Drive to other towns to train. Look up routes on the internet. Ask about fun places to run/bike/hike/etc.
Get excited about what you can and will see. It will make a big difference.
Weather is Fun:
When you were a kid you knew this. You just might have forgotten. Splashing in puddles is fun. Running in snow is fun. Hot days mean you can wear less clothes, and cold ones mean you get to wear that new coat you got.
If you wait for the perfect day, it will come once a year. Once a year is not enough training time for anything. Enjoy everyday for its challenges and excitement.
Ironically, then when that one day does come, you will be ready to enjoy it even more.
Buy Some Stuff:
I am a gear junky. I am addicted to the stuff. I love new shirts, new pants, new shoes, a new helmet, and so on. I admit it. It can have a huge effect on me. A new shirt can get me through many a run.
Obviously, you can’t buy something every time you want to exercise, but you can buy something when you start to get sick of exercising.
New shoes need to be broken in, new shirts tested for fit, etc.
Above all, do not just settle on one way to motivate yourself. Find new ways to make your workouts fun. Find new reasons to get outside and move. On any given day you will need to be flexible, inventive, creative, and iron-willed. There will be days when you will fail, but each new day will offer you new chances to succeed.
I like to mock Yoda when he said, “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” As wise as he seemed to be, he was dead wrong. There is only try.