It’s All Mental

Getting to the top of the mountain or getting out for a run--it's all mental.

Getting to the top of the mountain or getting out for a run--it's all mental.

You know that feeling when you’d rather do anything but put on your running shoes? You’re tired, you’re busy, it’s drizzly, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, you have to write thank-you cards, the excuses you can come up with are endless. And yet, you love running. You know you won’t skip this run, because you have to do this run, you need to do this run for one reason or another, but you still have to get motivated.

This feeling has hit me on days when all I’m doing is an easy 3 mile run, on my favorite 5-mile days, and on the long run training days. I imagine it’s inevitable that at some point we all have to muster up the motivation to get out there and run. Part of my motivation is having a training schedule and a race in sight. If I’m not signed up for something, I’m much more likely to talk myself into staying put instead of putting on my running shoes. What is it that motivates you?

On some days, I credit my running shoes with magical powers that give me a second wind of energy when I’m running at the end of the day. Other days it’s the outfit and I find that certain tops and bottoms are more encouraging to wear when I’m dragging myself out the door. On early morning runs, I tell myself “if those kids can be at the bus stop at this hour, surely I can be out here running.” There are days when I don’t feel like running and I remind myself that not everyone can run and that I am lucky to be able to, so I should be out there every chance I have.

Whatever the hurdle is that you’re trying to get over, unless you’re injured, it’s all mental. Just as you have the power not to go running today, you have the power to go running. Go get your shoes, they might work some magic.

6 thoughts on “It’s All Mental

  1. rocio

    Thanks for your motivational story on “It’s all mental”. I am doing a triathlon in 2 weeks and the last couple of weeks I have had this negative mentality about swimming and have had no energy to continue with my swimming training. Swimming in not my strength, and so to me it’s just something I have to do to get thru to the next event. I have been getting very frustrated when I go swimming because I cant relax and enjoy it, and my swimming suffers. Any advice?

  2. Natalie Post author

    I completely understand! I too am triathlon training and I struggle with enjoying the biking. I find it somewhat boring and not as challenging as running or swimming but I think that’s partly because I’m not on the right bike and also because I just don’t know enough yet about the sport. But I digress…

    Do you have comfortable goggles that you use? A comfortable suit? I find that the first step to enjoying and then focusing on the work-out is being “dressed” appropriately. At this stage in training I’m sure you do. The other question I’d ask is whether you have a specific set of swimming drills/work-outs you’re doing or if you’re just trying to swim a certain distance. I think having a specific work-out to accomplish helps bring focus to the swim and you might even start to like it. I am using the Runner’s World tri training ( and they have great work-outs you could try. You can also find a TON of swimming drills, advice, articles and forums on

    Since the swimming is the first event in the tri you might consider thinking of it as something you have to power through. You don’t have to like it. If you enjoy the biking and running, maybe you can think of those as your rewards for getting through swimming. And as frustrated as you are, your body is still probably thanking you for the low-impact work-out of swimming, so think of it as a “rest” work-out that you need to help repair muscles.

    With two weeks to go, I wouldn’t back off the swimming now. This is your chance to really focus and there is still time to fine tune your swimming strength and form. Long response but I hope it helps. And good luck in your triathlon!

    1. Cassie

      Recovering half iron athlete on a three times repaired knee (broken tibial plateau). I run in Newtons but keep my mileage severely down. Was looking at FF so I can up my mileage, and sized and got a pair. Having tons of problems getting the pinky in; are there any sugtgseions to get the pinky in the right place? Thanks in advance.

  3. rocio


    Thanks for your great advice. After reading your response, I knew I needed to get motivated again and bring back that passion for the race that I had at the beginning. I searched the internet and found, this website has so much great advice on swim training and you can blog with advanced swimmers regarding any questions and comments. It’s great. I also found a webiste that has many triathlton race images and this too has relighted my fire. I am ready to go and do it. Thanks for believing that I can do it.

  4. Natalie Post author

    Hi Rocio,
    Glad you have the spark back! Good call on looking at triathlon pictures to get motivated. I’m a super visual person and often if I can picture myself doing something it helps a lot with motivation. You have the goal, you have the training, and now it sounds like you have the vision! Thanks for referring the swim website. Good luck with your tri and let me know how it goes!

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