Motivation For Running: Find Out How I Got Mine Back And How You Can Too

The truth about life is that it will always give us what we need. Plain and simple. It’s only a matter of whether we embrace what we are given and learn or carry on grumbling about how difficult it all is that determines our ultimate success or failure. It’s in my relationship with running and in particular my motivation for running where this truth really lights the way.

I know how difficult it can be as a runner to keep motivated.

When you enter a search into Google for the word ‘motivation’ you will find no less than 43,900 000 results – it seems the whole world is looking for motivation! If you are reading this article you want to know about motivation – right? Where and how to find it and how to keep it. This article is about how I found my motivation for running again after a slump of note. And I want to share it with you because I know how difficult it can be as a runner to keep motivated. Bear with me through to the end and you will be happy you did…

A Short Introduction

Coming back from an Achilles’ injury that had me side-lined for 12 weeks was not easy to say the least. It’s not because I didn’t want to, it was just that I had been out of action for some time, during which even walking was painful and a proper cross-training regime was not always possible, because my day job takes me away from home a lot and entails spending a week or two in different cities so a gym membership was impossible. Needless to say; I felt like a fat slob.

I found myself in a slump with no motivation for running and a mountain before me.

So after the OK from my physiotherapist, it was all systems go – except I had no ‘go’. I found myself in a slump with no motivation for running and a mountain before me. I mean my average run was 10km I did two speed sessions and one long run per week. How was I going to get back to that level? All the hard work, the sweat and the grind – grumble, grumble, grumble…

An Unusual Life Line

I had heard of Leo Babauta before, and during my ‘fat slob’ period a fellow blogger recommended his book; Zen Habits Handbook for Life as a good read. Well what I found in Leo’s book was so much more than a ‘good read’. Although Leo himself writes that his handbook for life is a ‘…poor substitute…’ I’m telling you now it’s the best handbook for life you will ever find, and what Leo explores in the book can easily be applied to any part of life. Leo has achieved milestones like; becoming a runner, completing a marathon and a triathlon to name just a few and that takes a lot of work, commitment and sacrifice and being a runner I understood and identified with that.

A Serving Of Motivation With A Side-Dish Of Inspiration

Leo’s book; Zen Habits Handbook for Life is not a ‘read-cover-to-cover’ kind of book. It is filled with hundreds of tips for simplicity, happiness and productivity served up in bite size articles making it easy to find the inspirational light you need. Tried and tested by someone just like you and I – I mean the guy went from being a smoker to being 13 kg lighter and a triathlete!

Celebrate a milestone you have achieved – no matter how small it is.

You still with me? Great! So now you want to know what all that has to do with my running motivation. Ok obviously I can’t reproduce the articles here but Leo reminded me that;

  • Having one goal in mind is the place to start – so getting out there is more important than worrying about where I could have been if I wasn’t injured.
  • Small steps add up to great leaps in the end – concentrating on one small thing at a time like running for 10 minutes every day will end up being my usual 10 km run in three months time.
  • No man or woman is an island – we all need support especially when we are down or in a slump and not motivated.
  • We all have ups and downs – motivation, like everything else in life works in cycles and it’s so important that when the chips are down that we never give up, never, ever.
  • Celebrate a milestone you have achieved – no matter how small it is.
  • Motivation is everywhere and Leo shows you places you will find motivation that you never even thought of!
  • The power to take charge of my thoughts rests with me – Leo explains quick and easy ways to wield this power with success.

Seriously, I could go on and on here but that would just spoil it for you because I’m not nearly as good as Leo at getting people excited and motivated so do yourself a favour and buy his book buy his book Zen Habits Handbook for Life – you won’t regret it!

Share Your Experience

I’d love to hear what your experience as a runner has been when dealing with your running and motivation, your comments, thoughts and ideas on motivation for running is important for this blog and its community – please leave a them below.

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Top 10 Running Songs To Spice Up Your Playlist

What is it about music that’s so powerful it can instantly change any situation? The right song at the right time can really get you psyched on a run and sometimes all you need is ‘that song’ to get you out pounding the pavements when all you wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and watch the telly.

A survey, done each year before the London Marathon by, asks the marathon runners to name the most motivational tune on their running playlist while training for the 42.195km race. For the past 2 years running, there have been a few perennials that have proven to have staying power; with Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ from the Rocky films firmly in first place, the Spencer Davis Group holding onto the number two spot and Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ finishing comfortably in the top four. While Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire moved up three places from number six to number three.

Refreshingly; there were four surprise new entries sneaking into the top ten for 2010s ultimate playlist for running. In the number five spot we have Journey with ‘Don’t Stop Believing’; at number six we have Bill Conti’s ‘Gonna Fly Now’ – proving that the classic Rocky series has been a big motivator as runners trained for the world famous marathon. The Black Eyed Peas danced in at number seven with ‘I Got a Feeling’ and Ron Goodwin slid in at number nine with ‘The Trap’.

With the flood of new tunes; tracks like ‘Mr. Brightside’ from The Killers and Lady Gaga’s ‘Pokerface’ dropped out of the top ten along with ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless and ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen. And although ‘Sex on Fire’ by Kings of Leon and ‘Proud’ by Heather Small dropped to numbers eight and ten respectively both tunes managed to grab a place in the top ten.

These tunes are ideal for running, with their beats and rhythm runners are easily able to maintain a steady running pace. If you want to find out more about using music to help you train, what the benefits are of training with music and how you can easily put together your own personalized running playlist based on your bpm then check back here soon, or you might miss out!

4 Psychological Benefits Of Running To Get You Psyched

It’s pretty obvious, if you look at a runner’s body or read some of the amazing stories online, that hitting the pavements or treadmill has a phenomenal impact on the body and looking at the physical benefits there are plenty of reasons to start running. Running is as much psychological as it is physical and understanding these psychological benefits of running is an important step to keep motivated.

In a European study conducted by Asics recently, the physical benefits proved to be the driving factor behind our decision to start running.

When Asics compared the reasons to start running versus reasons to keep on running the results were interesting in that the psychological benefits such as; mental reward increased by 78%, stress-release was up by 66% and the fun factor shot up 54% all in favour of keeping up the habit.

These results are interesting because they seem to point to – body first then mind – we start off wanting physical results and end up also reaping the mental benefits of running, and it’s mainly the mental benefits that motivate us to keep on running.

Here are four mental perks that get me psyched to tie my laces and head out the door… Almost without fail! 

The Legal High

significant increase in the euphoria and happiness ratings

The folk lore of the ‘runner’s high’ has been like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow for the better part of 30 years. Well, it is a myth no more, nuclear medical scientists have once and for all put the myth of the ‘runner’s high’ to rest.

Ten athletes were scanned before and after a two hour long run and the findings were published in ‘Cerebral Cortex’. What the scientists found was a significant increase in the euphoria and happiness ratings compared with ratings before the exercise. Through PET scanning they also found that endorphins produced during the running exercise attached themselves to areas of the brain associated with emotions, creating feelings of well-being and exhilaration clearly proving the existence of the ‘runner’s high’.

Combat Stress with Running

In a study published in Health Psychology scientists found that regular exercise acts as a buffer against the stresses of daily life. Ok granted the study was performed on a group of seven and eighth graders but experts agree that one of the best ways to manage stress is through regular exercise. Coming back from a run, relieved of the stress I had when I headed out is proof enough for me. As a runner I am better equipped to deal with the inevitable stress of daily life and work. I often use a run specifically to bring perspective into a situation or to leave a stressful day behind with a really intense workout or a long slow run.

Improving Self-Esteem

Running also makes you sexier – burning fat and building muscle

Running requires you to constantly set and achieve goals – first you run 1km and then you run 2km and so on, eventually you’re running a distance of 10km as a regular run. This gives any runner a sense of accomplishment and confidence and over time this will develop into a healthy self-esteem. Running also makes you sexier – burning fat and building muscle is a natural part of running and runners are as proud of what their bodies can do as they are of how their bodies look.

Anyone for freshly squeezed creativity?

Are you stuck in a rut? Are you stumped with a project that needs a creative boost? Lace up your running shoes and head out for a run. It was always thought that the enhanced mood from exercise was the reason for an increase in creativity, but a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found differently.

In the study scientists used psychological testing of the mood and creativity of participants who watched a video and those who took part in physical exercise. What researchers found was that exercise boosts creativity independently of its effect on mood. So the next time you need some inspiration or have a problem to solve tap into this mental perk of running – who knows what wonderful ideas you might conjure up.

I’m quite sure there are many other mental perks that we get from running and each one of us will be motivated by those mental benefits of running that have the greatest effect on us. You might be motivated to run because of the creative boost it injects into your work projects whereas my motivation to run could come from my need to de-stress. The point is that there are so many wonderful mental perks we get from running – finding the ones that are important to you and that have the greatest impact on you will help you to cultivate motivation and keep you going.

Source of graphs: Asics – Why Do We Run.

Motivation: Simple Steps To Get It And Keep It

So if you’ve spent some time reading this blog you’d have noticed that a lot of what goes on here is centred on how to cultivate motivation for running. Without motivation – even in its waning state – there won’t be much running going on. So I’ll give you three guesses to figure out what today’s post is about – but the first two don’t count! :)

Ok, so let’s get to it…

Rule number one: there will be highs and lows in your training, accepting it right off the bat makes the ebb and flow easier to manage, and it’s the first step in ensuring that you still toe the line and reach your goals.

Rule number two: proacitvely planning for when you become despondent and your enthusiasm has waned, will ensure that your lapse in motivation is only temporary and nothing more serious.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach so I’m putting my advice for motivation into practice right here on I have an entry into the Asics Fleet Half Marathon on the 20th of March 2011. This is a very special race for me because I’m committed to running this race for a wonderful charity to raise funds for groundbreaking research that saved my life. The charity is Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and I’m proud to be running with The Banana Army! To Find out more visit the Go Bananas page.

The great thing is these steps can be applied no mater what your ultimate goal is; losing weight, building fitness, training for a race or simply making running a part of your regular routine. I cultivate my motivation for running by using these three steps during my goal setting stage, it’s an essential part of my planning and execution.

Verbalize My Commitment

Making a commitment is one of the best ways to cultivate motivation over time. In his ebook Zen Habits, Leo Babauta discusses motivation and tells about how he committed to running his first marathon by writing about it in his local daily paper. Committing to achieve a goal publicly, whether it’s to your family and friends or your work colleagues, makes you accountable. You’ve put it out there and that will automatically make you go the extra mile to achieve it.

Visualize My Progress

Make a visual map of how you are getting along – so much of our motivation is based on us seeing results. Keeping a running diary is an excellent way to cultivate motivation because it makes your progress and results tangible. Whatever your goal – there’s nothing like watching those miles clock up or those calories burn.

I’ll be using this blog but there are loads of online resources you can use to keep a running diary;,, and are a few good places to start but you could just as easily start a blog or – if you like doing it old skool style – keep a hand written diary.

Rally Support

It’s such a simple thing but most of us struggle to ask for support – for some reason we percieve it as a sign of weakness. Well the last time I checked; I was a capable and independent woman – I know I’m not weak! I still need support and I ask for it – that’s one reason for this post! Asking for and getting support is a great way to build up stores of motivation for when the going gets tough, we all need support and the more we have the better. So don’t be shy – ask for support on your journey to reaching your goal, I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

So that’s it! I hope that you have found this useful and that you will find ways to apply these steps to improve your motivation for running and training to reach your goals no matter what they are. If you need support – I’m always here; just leave a comment or send me an email. You can expect a weekly update of my progress here on I would so appreciate your support during this journey to reaching my goal so drop by and leave comments, in return I will do my best to entertain you and mabey we can all learn something new!

Here’s to Happy Running:)

Cure Blood Cancer: 5 Ways To Support The High 5 Campaign

Those of you who read this blog often will know that my running is not only a way for me to keep myself fit, healthy and happy. I use running in a big way to give back to society through running in organised races for charity.

This is a very special post and so for a while I have decided to make this one sticky…

Anyone who has read my story on the Go Bananas page will know that I am a Cancer slayer and that the fundraising I do is for The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity, whose dedication and groundbreaking research has saved the lives of many like me.

The High 5 Campaign

Whenever I have a problem that I need to solve I like to break it down into smaller bite size pieces, it’s something I had to learn from my experience with Cancer.

The High 5 Campaign is a way of breaking down my fundraising target of £1000 for my first race in March 2011 The Asics Fleet Half Marathon.

If 200 186 182 176 people kindly donate £5, then I will reach my target.

I realise that times are tough right now so giving £5 won’t cost the earth but it’s enough to make a BIG difference to the lives of others.

Join the High 5 Campaign by clicking through to my justgiving page and pledging your support. Leave your Twitter name and I’ll give you a special shout out to say thank you!

5 Ways To Get Involved

Donate a fiver on my justgiving page If you’re a business owner – buy advertising space on my running tights for £50 per spot AND get a link to your site on this blog (see below)Tweet this post to your followersLeave a comment to this post or link back to this post from your blog or websiteTell your friends, family and Facebook Fans about the High 5 Campaign and what it means

The Ultimate Running Motivation: 3 Resources To Mix Your Playlist

Let’s face it; no one is motivated all the time – no matter what they tell you. Our motivation is largely based on our previous successes and as a beginner to running it’s easy to give up when you’ve only just started because you haven’t seen any results yet.

So what can you do to find motivation for running? How do you keep motivated on runs when all you want to do is cut it short, turn around and go home?

Music Motivates

Music motivates at all levels of exercise; from high intensity aerobic workouts to boxers just before entering the ring for a fight and runners in gyms and on pavements the world over. Studies have proven that the type and tempo of music has the power to make you workout longer and harder because it is an ergogenic aid meaning that it enhances physical activity.

Multiple Studies have shown that it’s music’s dual capabilities to distract attention away from feelings of fatigue while exercising, as well as egging on the muscles and heart rate that makes it such an effective aid during exercise.

Music not only lowers your Perceived Exertion Level or PEL making your workout seem lighter but it also acts as a motivator – mentally and physically. This may not be the case at higher intensity sessions – roughly 90% of VO2 Max – at this level the perception of fatigue will override the effect of the music.

Finding What Works For You

All of us are individuals; what works for me might not work for you but my advice to you as a beginner runner is to experiment with different aids that will support you through the early stages of your running and find what works for you.

I’m not suggesting that you should never set-off for a workout leaving your playlist behind – there are at least two running sessions per week where I go without my music. Variety is the spice of a runner’s life – varying the kinds of music you use on your running playlist and matching up the music with your ultimate goal in a particular session will greatly enhance your experience.

Valuable Resources

There are fantastic resources on the internet and also some really crappy ones. I’ve tried a whole bunch of them and have come up with two really good paid ones and one DIY method for those of you who would like to put together your own running playlist for free.

MP3 Running

This website is a gem and a great resource to use, I was sceptical in the beginning because there is no option to listen to a sample of the tracks but – take my word for it – any sample track would not have done the experience of running with the tracks any justice. I immediately noticed that these guys really thought this through.

The sessions are well organised and there is a distinctive warm-up, main and cool-down section although the track is continuous. They have 30, 45 and 60 minute tracks with or without mind and body coaching. The coaching (with male or female voices) is subtle and doesn’t interfere with the experience at all, in fact if you are a beginner the coaching is perfect and will support you in finding your step and breathing rhythm, and if you are an intermediate or experienced runner the tracks with or without coaching will help you build on your current capabilities.

They have also cleverly added ‘Run Free Zones’ where you have the option to run or walk for a few minutes, I find this particularly useful for clocking mileage and for increasing distance and for beginners to running this will be the perfect time to do some walking if you feel it’s necessary.

I love a good deal and what these guys offer is good quality at really reasonable prices. Check out MP3 Running, and just take your running to a new level!


This is another one of my favourite music resource sites. These guys deal in everything from fitness, racing and training packs, interval training and timed sessions. Their range is divided into three intensities based on heart rate bpm starting with low intensity working up to mid intensity and finally high intensity. Their range is well developed and there is something to suite every level of fitness and goal set. I like to use Rollercoaster for my mid intensity runs and the Gridmix which is a free download for high intensity running.

Their prices are reasonable and their product is top quality and with the wide variety of options there are endless ways you can spice up your runs with what’s on offer.

DIY – Create Your Own Running Playlist

If you don’t want to spend money buying music for your running you can create your own playlist for running for free – here’s how…

On my DIY running playlist you’ll find Guns ‘n Roses, AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and then a little trance like Infected Mushroom to name just a few. Creating your own running playlist full can be a lot of fun and it’s great because you can tailor make it to your current mood, this is especially useful when you need motivation for running when you don’t feel like it – to bite the bullet and get out of the door or push through to the end or your run. And, it’s loads of fun to sing along to your favourite tracks! :)

I like to create my playlist for running based on my heart rate bpm and I’ve found free software that helps me do this. The guys at MixMeister have this nifty software called BPM Analyzer which determines the exact bmp of any song and it’s dead easy to use. Check it out and start creating awesome playlist for yourself!

So, although it’s true that we can’t be motivated all the time it’s great to know that there is an easily accessible aid like music to help us through the lower times in our training. Not only that, music can help our bodies work smarter and not harder when we run so grab your mp3 player and start creating your running playlist for motivation today!

I really hope you have enjoyed this article and that you have found the information useful. If you know of any other resources or you have cool ideas please feel free to leave a comment I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.

5 Things The Big C Taught Me About Setting Goals And Change

Idon’t think I’ve ever achieved a goal I set for myself by chance. In fact just a few years back I was failing at every goal I thought I was setting for myself. I say ‘thought’ because that’s pretty much where it ended. I’d promise myself that I’d ‘start soon’ but never did. No wonder I was always failing.

The worst part about breaking promises to yourself year after year is that you end up believing that you can’t do anything. And besides that, if you can’t keep a promise to yourself then who do you really have to rely on?

We all have moments of clarity where the road forward is clear (can someone tell me why I’m hearing Jonny Nash sing ‘I can see clearly now in my head’?) :)

No seriously, we all have those moments and mine came the moment I was told I had Cancer. But in reality, we have the capability to create a moment of clarity every second of every day. We don’t have to wait for something dramatic to happen before we change.

What Has Having Cancer Got To Do With Setting Goals?

I didn’t know it back then but I started to use powerful tools to create the outcome I desperately wanted – to be healthy again. Obviously I achieved that outcome or you wouldn’t be reading this right now!

Now I can’t prove that if I didn’t do these things I’m about to tell you about that the outcome would have been different but that’s not the point. What counts is that I learned a valuable lesson; I AM the creator of my life, I facilitate change, change will not happen with wishful thinking.

You ARE The Creator Of Your Life, Stop wishful thinking and start facilitating change.

5 Goal Setting Tactics You Can Use Right Now To Change Your Life

Write A List Of Your Values

What are the most important parts of your life – your family, your religion, your health and fitness, your hobbies, your business? Once you have defined your values create and set your goals to include them.

Start Back-To-Front

The founder of IBM; Tom Watson gave three reasons for the success of the company;

  • He first created a clear picture of what he wanted his company to look like when it was done.
  • Then he defined how such a company would act and created a clear image of how IBM would act when it was done.
  • Thirdly; from the beginning stages of building his company, he acted that way.

Project Into The Future

‘What we think, we become’, sage advice from The Buddha. This is a good thing because it gives you complete control. The thoughts that dominate our minds are what we become. This makes goal setting essential to keep our minds focused. A chaotic mind is a lethal blow to achieving what we set out to do.

Don’t underestimate the power of your subconscious mind – to keep focused picture yourself already experiencing the success you seek. This is a great technique to keep the mind focused.

Concentrate Your Focus On One Project At A Time

When a light is switched on in a room, darkness dissipates. The light photons are not aligned and spread out in all directions effectively lighting the room.

If you take the same light photons, align them to move on the same wavelength in the same direction, you get a laser light which can be so strong that is will stretch all the way to the moon.

Turn your mind into a laser light by focusing on one project at a time and the sky is literally the limit.

Pray And Meditate

Regardless of what religion you are or what your beliefs are; make time everyday to vividly picture images of yourself after you have achieved your goal. Never forget your values and then ask for these things through prayer and meditation.

Moving Forward – Don’t sell yourself short any longer!

There are so many ways you can set goals for yourself – find one or two or even three ways that work for you and just do it. Take control of the power you have over your life. :)

I really hope this has been useful for you, if you have any techniques you use in your life or experiences you’ve had please share them in the comments below.

Why You Should Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Forever

They say that time flies when you’re having fun and for the most part living life is fun and there’s no doubt this year certainly has rocketed by.

Saying farewell to the year that’s passed and greeting a fresh New Year opens up the perfect opportunity for us to clean out the proverbial closet throwing away the old junk and finding new things that fit in better with our lives.

How many times have you been determined to keep a New Year’s Resolution only to find that it’s fallen by the wayside – until next year? Changing this is not as difficult as you think…

Ditch Your Resolution – Try Evolving Instead

At the start of this year I tried something different – I chose to Evolve rather than Resolve as a way of changing my life around.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of my life so let’s just say that my health, personal relationships, my confidence, my focus, my self-worth and almost every other aspect of my life has improved tenfold.

Why Should You Send Your New Year’s Resolution To Never-Never Land?

The problem with a Resolution is that you are committing to something invisible, once you’ve made it – BANG – that’s where it ends. To Evolve means to develop gradual changes to becoming something better.

Making a New Year’s Evolution means a commitment to gradual changes with your greater goal always in sight. Let me give you an example…

Steps To Making Your New Year’s Evolution

What’s Your Greater Goal?

“I want to make regular running a part of my life.”

Ok, now you have your goal locked in your sights breaking in down into smaller steps will facilitate your gradual change and help to keep your mind’s eye set on your goal.

What’s The Deal?

Think about and write down all the reasons why you have come to this point in your life – what you find here will be your motivation. There really is no right or wrong answer here.

Digging deep and finding concrete and specific reasons for your decision to change will propel you forward and facilitate your Evolution. Here are some examples;

I want to reverse my Type 2 diabetes
I want to be around to see my grandkids grow up
I want to feel confident in myself and my body again
I want to be healthier
I want to stop smoking
I want to welcome my great-grandchild into the world
I want people I love to respect me
I want to feel like I did when I was a kid
I want to be an example for my spouse
I want to be an example for my kids
I want to be an example for my grandchildren
I want to walk my daughter down the aisle
I want to prove something to myself

Plan Your Work And Work Your Plan

The planning and execution of your Evolution are joined at the hip so to speak. Once you start to plan it immediately becomes workable. But that’s if you really sit down and plan – not just say ‘oh I’m going to do this or that’.

Here are some steps that you might use to set out your plan;
Make an appointment with your GP for a medical check up to make sure you and your ticker are ok to start running Read a couple of books about running for beginnersFind and use as many sources of inspiration as you can find starting right here with

Mental Benefits of Running
Motivation: Get It and Keep It Have your foot plant and gait analysed Buy a pair of decent running shoesSpend some time shuffling your schedule around to get an idea of when the best times are for you to run

Get Off Your Butt

Seriously, just get off your butt and out the door, that’s all standing between you and your Evolution. Don’t over think it, in fact, don’t think about it at all just make like Nike and JUST DO IT!

Rome And All That Jazz

Making gradual changes towards reaching your goal and actually making work of your New Year’s Evolution is not as complicated as building Rome, but the concept of taking things step by step is every-bit as important.

A Lesson From The Golfer, Gary Player

“The more I practice the luckier I get.”

This is so true for many things in life and when it comes to forming new habits nothing could be further from the truth.
Forming new habits is exactly what leads to gradual changes and eventually the realisation of your New Year’s Evolution.