Posted by: runawaynotes | January 16, 2013

On goals, deadlines, and motivation (or lack thereof)

If you open a dictionary and look up the definition of “procrastinator”, there will be my picture next to it. Yes, I hate to admit it, but I am one of those people who “work better under pressure” (which means that I wait until the very last minute to do whatever it is I have to do, and then almost kill myself trying to finish everything at the eleventh hour. Interestingly enough, the quality of my work doesn’t suffer. It’s as if some kind of switch turns on that makes me super organized, focused, and determined to get things done. Unfortunately, when I don’t have a specific goal and a tight deadline, the switch turns in the opposite direction. This is what’s been happening with me since this latest training season started.

You might have noticed that I currently don’t have a “goal race” countdown on my blog page anymore. That’s because I am currently not training for anything in particular. I kept looking at various half marathons that are coming up this spring, and none of them seemed to be exciting enough to make me want to race in high temperature and high humidity that are pretty much guaranteed in Texas in late spring. Maybe it’s the wrong attitude to have. After all, a half marathon is a half marathon – running the distance is what it’s all about. But I just couldn’t find a spring race that would make me want to say “oh yeah, I’ve GOT to run this one!”. No location seemed cool enough, no swag was enticing enough, and no finisher medal had that “bling” quality to it that would make me go “SHINY!! MUST HAVE!” That’s why I had to settle for training simply for the sake of staying in shape. And so far, this training season has been pretty different from the last one.

Last season, when I was training for White Rock Dallas Marathon, I would get my butt out of bed every morning, rain or shine, and do my required mileage. Yes, occasionally life would interfere, but there was not a single run that I skipped simply because I didn’t really feel like doing it. Right now, I’m not motivated to do anything but our group Tuesday and Saturday runs. I know that it would be enough to keep me in shape. I also know that it would be enough to get me ready for a half marathon should I decide to run one after all. But I am definitely not giving it a 110% right now. Is it a bad thing? Well, on one hand, it probably is. I miss my old sense of dedication, the feeling of exhilaration that I would get every morning after I was done with my run for the day, and the sense of accomplishment that I got when I looked at my weekly and monthly mileage. On the other hand, I really don’t want running to turn into just another chore on my (already long) to-do list. So, maybe it’s ok to switch back to the “casual runner” mode for a while. This way I can start thinking about it as being something that I “want to do” as opposed to being something that I “have to do”.

I have also considered shifting my focus from distance to speed. Right now, I have been placed in the fastest pace group I have ever been in – the 2 hour group. Considering the fact that my previous half marathon training was for 2:20 and my best half time is about 2:13, this is a pretty big jump for me. I am really curious to see how I am going to handle it. So far, my knee has been ok and I have had no problems keeping up with the rest of the pack. So, maybe I’ll just take advantage of the speed work that we do mid training, and try to get a 5K PR this season. This is something that I can definitely get excited about.



  1. I definitely like transitioning from long distance training to short distance training and back. It keeps things fresh and seems to alternately improve endurance and then speed.

  2. It’s good to give yourself a break after a marathon. Training for shorter races and gaining speed is a good thing. And, really, ANY run is a good run. No need to beat yourself up and feel guilty for not being as “dedicated” as you were in the fall. Just keep running!

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