Daily Archives: 02.20.2012

On Motivating: Countdown Post-Its

It’s Monday.  In terms of training, it’s the beginning of Week 17.  Which means that we have such a very long way to go until June.

Yes, I keep a mileage log in the daily section of my planner.  And I have The Grand Plan written in the monthly section of my planner on a by-day basis.

It’s a nice resource to have.  So that I don’t need to wait until I get home to answer The Big Questions of the day.  Or look at my phone.  Or haul around another running book.

How retro, I know.

But those things are really Big Picture.  They tell me how to spend my weeks.  At the end of each month, they show me what I accomplished.  How far I’ve come.

The reality of training for a marathon is that it’s extremely boring.  There is no glamour in running three miles.  And even though there’s far more hype to doing The Long Run, those runs are even less glamorous.

Enter: These.

No, I’m not trying to showcase the space where I hoard my running watches, old bibs, medals and space blankets.

In case you were wondering: It exists.

But last week after some serious workshopping with Ann, I actioned myself a set of Countdown Post-Its.

Race day is Zero.

What this does for me: Every day, I’m able to look at the number on that Post-It and really focus on what that means.

Example: Today’s schedule dictates Yoga and Cross Training (AKA Power-Walking).  Which is to say that today is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

But today is 117.

In my entire marathon training schedule, there is only one Day 117.  That means that I only have one shot at making it the best Day 117 possible.

That scarcity?  Really helps to keep me focused on my Healthy Living Resolutions and what those mean for my running:

  • Some parts of my training plan are going to make me a stronger runner.
  • Some parts of my training plan are going to make me a faster runner.
  • Some parts of my training plan are meant to make me a healthy runner.

So even if it’s boring or I’m just not in the mood that day, it gives me a much-needed dose of perspective.

And that also helps me to pay attention to the food I’m putting in my body as well.  No, I don’t look at everything as a potential fuel-source.  We all know that when I first lay eyes on something edible, my assessment is whether or not it falls into the category of “frosting” or not.

But it’s a lot harder to justify shoveling down empty calories when you look at it from the act of tallying Day 117 in the Paid For column instead of writing it off as something that can be undone over the next 17 weeks.

And this is a game where every little bit of intention counts.

What do you do to stay motivated when you’re working through a long-term goal?