People often ask me how I motivate myself for the heavy training in the ultra marathon preparation, for the discipline necessary to sustain the high intensity, for the regularity. Am I a masochist? Do I like to waste myself completely? Do I find satisfaction in overloading my body?
None of it! I am actually a very lazy person like everybody else. I don’t like tiring, I don’t like forcing myself to physical effort, in fact I don’t even like running too much.
So how come I am able to do all of this? Is it stern disciplin or iron, unshakable will?
Not at all! After the event I have a hard time trying to motivate myself to go out and run even a fraction of the disctance I was doing before an ultra on a regular basis. I avoid running and I even put on weight since I am no longer training, for months!
The secret, I found, is the high, outrageous goal you set yourself.
Set yourself a great, incredible challenge, commit to it and look what happens.
When you imagine how great it will be if you achieve this, if you cross another limit, if you prove to yourself you are capable of doing it, if you manage to astound yourself doing it. Imagine how it will feel to see the respect and admiration in the eyes of people you care for, or in the eyes of your anemies or competitors, their confounded, asking looks.
Imagine to do something so unbelievable, people ask for the second time to check if they have heard you right, something so extraordinary they can’t imagine it is possible, something so outrageous they even doubt it is true.
Imagine how it would be to be a person doing it, to enclose this in the range of things you are capable of doing, to be perceived as a person who can do it.
You can also visualize yourself achieving this goal with all the feelings connected to it.
Make a plan, start executing it and see the magic happen.
What I found out is: you discover a vast motivation you were not aware of. Suddenly there is no problem going out and taking on even the hardest training. There is absolutely no problem with that. I am amazed how I can run for hours after setting myself an outrageous goal, even if I was too lazy to even leave my sofa before. The bigger your goal the easier it is to discipline yourself. In fact you don’t need to force yourself at all, it all comes naturally. If it is your own goal, a goal you yourself set, the motivation comes from inside you. You will find it easy to execute your plan (f.e. the training plan).
It sounds either trivial (if you have already experienced it) or implausible (if you haven’t), but believe me, that’s where magic is hidden. Try it and you will be surprised what you are capable of.