We have a joke at the end of ultimate season that once you play your final game you start "fat" season (or fat week/fat month). It's more of an acknowledgment that you get to take a break from the last several months of working hard, giving up happy hours, and waking up early on Saturday mornings, etc. The end of September was my official start of "fat season" and I indulged it for the first few days. Until I went for a run, and I got hungry for running season. Then I saw this: Leadville 100.
There isn't much time to rest in between ultimate and running season. It's helpful that ultimate season keeps me in well enough shape that I can transition into running a bit easier, but mentally it can be a challenge. I'm basically trading one time consuming hobby for another. Add on the million other fun things to do in Colorado over the winter and the off-season of ultimate can be more of a time drain than the on.
I was lucky though to have a really good run first run so the mental hurdle of starting training wasn't too tall. It did get me thinking and I'd like to revisit a topic I've covered before; how to motivate your self to train when you really just want to sit on your couch, drink a beer, and watch House Hunters International on Hulu.
There are a few things that have helped me get out on a run in the past that I'm hoping to harness over the next few months. With the lessons I learned from the 50miler last summer I know I need to put in some longer hours on the trails and it's a bit daunting to think of the training road ahead. So this post is more of a self motivator, but I hope you can find something that may aid you going forward.
Sign up for a race
A great way to start running again is to sign up for a race. It gives you an end goal in mind, a finish line for training if that's what you need. It also motivates you to run for some higher purpose than just to run. I have a couple races on my docket for next year; Salida Run Through Time Marathon, Quad Rock 25mile. In addition to those I am hoping to get another crack at the North Fork 50miler and of course there's Leadville or another 100mile race. Those are all well and good, but they seem so far away. Even Salida, which is typically in March, seems far enough away that taking training seriously right now is difficult. I am looking into race that fall somewhere in the next few months to get me out and running, but sometimes even signing up for a race isn't quite enough of a push to get out on a Tuesday night.
I've admitted before that podcasts are my guilty pleasure when road running. On days when I'm feeling really sluggish or unmotivated it's an incentive to catch up on episodes of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I typically only allow myself to listen to these podcasts on runs and I've found it to be quite a good motivator. I also recently picked up some great beer from Minnesota (Bells Two Hearted and a selection of Surly) with the caveat that I put in some miles before I can truly enjoy them.
While it might sound counter productive, whenever I'm feeling bad, especially stomach stuff bad, a run usually helps. I'm sure there's some sciencey stuff behind it, but all I know is if I'm feeling bad running it out often works. It's still difficult to go out on a run, but with the potential of feeling better and being able to do more fun things because you're feeling better is a nice perk. True, sometimes you don't feel any better, but I rarely feel any worse.
I read a quote that was posted by Grandma's Marathon on facebook "The days when you least feel like running are usually the days you need it the most". When all else fails I will sometimes, literally, chant "you're going for a run" in my car as I drive home from work. I don't let myself think about anything else and I just repeat, outloud, that I'm going on a run. I am not sure what people in the car next to me think, but it usually gets me focused enough on running that there is no other option when I get home but to put my shoes on. Perhaps by putting it out to the universe it's harder to say no when you unlock your front door?
Truth be told I'm about 50 parts excited and 50 parts terrified for what I'm hoping to accomplish next year so I'm also trying to harness that into a motivation to run. Right now I'm up to 8miles for a long run which means I have a ways to go, but I'll get there. If anything, I've started a google doc for Leadville so hit me up if you want to join my crew and I'll put your name on the list.