Sometimes, I find it hard to put my finger on what motivates me to keep running. I’m sure I’m not the only runner that feels that way, too.
In the beginning, every run was a joy. There was adventure, wondering where and how far my legs would carry, making new friends, and seeming to hit a new PB in every race. It felt great to get up on a Sunday morning and head off to a different town or city to run a race, get a t-shirt and medal, and get home in time for lunch.
Within eighteen months, I was on the start line of my first marathon. The training required to get there and the motivation to get round the course was immense. It is something amazing to run for three to four hours or more for the first time.
Naturally, my thoughts turned to getting faster, as well as running further. However, as the years have gone by, my times have got slower, but I have continued to run. There is obviously more to running for me than just going further and faster.
Two seemingly contradictory factors seem to keep me going these days. Firstly, there is the routine and habit of running my club’s mid-week training loop. I know this loop inside out, and can tell you mile markers all the way round the course without GPS, thanks to the many hundreds of miles I have run round it.
On the other hand, I have gone out my way to discover new routes, new trails and new places to run. From running along disused railways lines, to careering down Lakeland fells, I have made many great running memories in recent times.
Sometimes, it’s a case of having to motivate myself through a tough run. On some runs, I just have to get the head down, push on and know that every little helps. It’s purely a case of putting in some hard work. Once in a while, I have to cut my sessions short, though – it’s sometimes a better to live to fight another day.
Overall, there are plenty of factors motivating me to keep heading out that door. I know what I can achieve – I’ve run longer, faster, with less effort and I want to get back to that level. I know I’ll never be world class, but I can keep on going. I’ll still be out there, putting in some miles, making memories and exploring for years to come!