Running motivation – how to motivate yourself?

Sometimes we all struggle with lack of motivation. Especially now as the many marathons are cancelled or postponed because of Covid-19. Many countries have total lockdown and some runners don’t have the opportunity to exercise like normally.

Also, sometimes people lost their motivation after the marathon. While others, say never again and still start to look next races, others lost their whole motivation. This can be explained with different motivation types and how they work.

Motivation types

There are external regulation, introjected regulation, intrinsic motivation, integrated regulation and identified regulation types. Before, I open which each of these types means, think if you are a more intrinsic or extrinsic motivated person. If you motivated by pain, pleasure, praise, reward or fear, that’s mean your motivation comes from external sources (extrinsic motivation). Whereas, fun, pride, sense of progress, achievement, curiosity, fulfilment and social contact are internal motivation sources (intrinsic motivation).

Extrinsic motivation may help you towards the goal. But if you are only motivated getting rewards, you probably will find yourself struggling with motivation sooner or later. But, if enjoy what you are going, want to see progress, feeling good about yourself, your motivation would probably be stronger. This doesn’t rule out external motivation, of course, marathon runners want those medals and it’s nice to hear how good a job you have done.

As the extrinsic motivation is weaker it should be a secondary motivation source, it includes external and introjected regulation. External regulation means that you are engaging in behaviour to avoid punishment or earn a reward. Introjected regulation means that you are engaging in a certain behaviour to be able to avoid guilt or shame.

Intrinsic motivation includes behaviour where you enjoy your being and doing. Integrated regulation engaging in a behaviour that has become part of your identity. And, identified regulation is when you engage a behaviour that helps you to reach important goals, even if it is hard sometimes.

What you can do?

Think about your motivation types, what motivates you. You can even list them down. If there is been a break of running and training and starting again feels difficult. Try to remember how it usually felt, a sense of success. If your race plan changed and you have a lack of motivation and you feel like you have worked in vain. You are not, think about, now you have even more time to get even better.

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