By Michael Lauro
"Running is the best thing ever!"....said no one...ever. Ok, perhaps this has been said by a few die-hards out there (you know who you are), but for most, running conjures up feelings of pain and misery. Let's face it, when you see someone running how often are they smiling?
So why do I it? I won't list all the health benefits that come with running but I do want to talk about two overlooked aspects, most notably goal-setting and self-motivation.
My personal experience with running now allows me to view things differently both in running and in life. I was never a runner growing up. I played sports but didn't participate in track. I ran on occasion for health and wellness but wasn't exactly breaking any land speed records.
When I moved to Little Silver 10 years ago, I saw a flyer for the Little Silver 5k. At that point I had never run an organized 'race' of any kind, but decided to leave my comfort zone and give it a shot. My goal was simply to finish the race feeling good and maybe get a cool shirt.
I had no idea what to expect when I showed up at the start line that morning. What I experienced was an enthusiastic team of volunteers and runners that were welcoming to everyone.
For me personally, this day was a game-changer that allowed me to perceive challenges in a new light. After the race, I started looking for another 5k to beat my time from the previous race. This led to setting my sites on a 10k race and eventually several half marathons. The Little Silver 5K, my very first race, lit a fire to push myself and continually strive for self-improvement.
As I trained for longer races, I found it helpful to set smaller attainable goals to keep me motivated and free of injury. The race distance may have changed, but the goal-setting process remained the same. Personally, breaking things into small chunks was, and continues to be the best way for me to train, and quite frankly, accomplish any goal in life. Just as important is consistency. There will be good days and bad days in your training, but my advice is to do the very best you can on "that" day. Sometimes just moving is all it takes to break out of a rut.
The process of goal-setting and self-motivation proved helpful over the years. I've completed several marathons and most recently my first Ironman triathlon. Breaking the task down into smaller components was the key to a successful outcome. As far as motivation goes, I've found that everyone differs in what motivates them.
What motivates me is being grateful that I'm healthy enough to run. I'll be the first to admit that running at 42-years-old is not as easy as when I was 22. With a busy work schedule, family, and just managing life in general, time is even more scarce than ever. I'm thankful that I'm healthy enough to run and stay active and will never take that for granted.
Whatever your goals and motivation might be, I encourage you on October 1st to leave your comfort zone and register for the Little Silver 5K.
Hopefully you'll find your spark, your fire. If you're not feeling very motivated that day then show up. Just show up. Do what you can. I promise you'll be glad you did. Worst case is that you make some new friends and get a cool t-shirt. See you on the course!