Tag Archives: running motivation

10 Ways to Stay Motivated for your First UltraMarathon


  1.    Write Out a Schedule–As soon as you decide you’re going to run an ultra write out a plan. Take your time and have fun writing the plan. Be reasonable with your schedule and limitations. Throughout the plan add rewards for completing significant long training runs. Your plan should also include enough leeway for unplanned obstacles and rest days.
  2.     Talk About It, A Bunch–The more people you tell your running an ultra, the more people that will be asking you how your training is going. The more people you tell, the more support you will have. And your possibility of finding training partners increases.
  3.      Challenge a Friend–Having a friend that is training for the same race is a terrific way to keep you motivated. You won’t want to let them down, and your competitive side will prod you to get out on those early morning runs. It’s also nice to have a friend to accompany you on those long training runs.
  4.      Follow Ultra Bloggers–There are a lot of ultrarunning bloggers out there, and if reading about their adventures doesn’t motivate you, not much will. Check out: A Trail Runner’s Blog, An ultrarunner’s blog, ultrarunner’s insight blog.
  5.      Build Your Own–Start your own blog. Right from day one you can share your ultrarunning experiences. You won’t want to let your followers down and writing about your running will keep you running.
  6.       Listen Up–When I’m out on a long run, nothing gets me pumped more than listening to a fellow ultrarunner talking about their training and racing stories. Here are a few podcasts to get you started: ultrarunnerpodcast, running podcasts.
  7.      Be Well Read–If you haven’t read Born to Run by Chris McDougall, do it. Even if you are not going to run long it’s a great read. Dean Karnazes book, Ultramarathon Man will also get you rearing to run long.
  8.      Write Out Your Race–Before your ultra, write out on paper your perfect race. Get as detailed as you like, be sure to include your lows and highs. By doing this you will see you can finish, all you need is positive thinking. And, of course, some training.
  9.      Sign On the Dotted Line–If you haven’t signed up for an ultramarathon yet, what’s holding you back? Once you register and pay you will be even more determined you will run it.
  10.   Love to Run–No matter how the training, racing and aftermath go, just love the run. Every run you go on, remember, loving to run is the original and strongest motivator.

What motivates you to run ultramarathons?


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Day 38–Stoke your Writing & Running Furnace

Why is it that so many would be runners and writers flames die out after only a short time?


Many runners and writers are sparked by desire. But the spark belongs to somebody else. They are writing or running because someone else thinks they should do it.

To succeed in running and writing the first word we need to toss into the fire is, should.

Replace the word should, with WANT.

We will not find the motivation to run and write everyday if we are only influenced by outside sources. These sources are called extrinsic. These forces may get us out the door the first day or week, but they won’t keep our flames blazing strong.

To fan our flames of motivation and devotion we need to be motivated intrinsically.

Our motivation must come from within ourselves.

Start with one of these motivators and stoke your fire.

Types of Intrinsic Motivation


With running and writing we need to be challenged. Once we meet and surpass these challenges we are motivated even more.


Discovery is always available. It’s up to us to put forth the effort to accept the adventure and learn. Running and writing have endless facets that we can study.


If we are bored by something we will soon give up on it. If we are not interested in writing, there really is no reason to do it. Ask yourself, what draws me to running and writing? Get interested by reading and learning about running and writing.


We can’t just think about the superficial attraction of running and writing. We need to find meaning. How can our running  help ourselves and others?


Why do we write? Why do we run? We need to answer these questions honestly before  our fire starts burning hotter and hotter.

What is your intrinsic motivator?

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Day 31–The Quoteables

Having a good quote or saying can get us moving. We can relate. There are times when the perfect words or thoughts can help us push through our final miles of a run, or last words of our writing session.

Here are some quotes to get you started, finished and motivated:

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

Any runner or writer knows that they can’t always wait for the motivation. To be successful we need to get into good habits. Some say that after doing something for 3 weeks straight, it is a habit.

If you have been following this blog since Day 1, you’ve started a habit. If not go to Day 1 and start running and writing now.

The habit will keep you going.

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
–William Faulkner

If you only run to win, you won’t last because winning isn’t enough to keep going. If you only write to be published and read, your steam will soon run out.

To keep your running and writing habits, do it to better yourself, not show others up.

Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.
-Lowell Thomas

Or do a little more than you did yesterday. You already know you can do what you did yesterday, so try to go one step further today. Chances are, you can.

“Every day is a good day when you run.”
-Kevin Nelson

Nobody can argue this, and if they try, tell them to go on a run.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin

And that is why words have endless placement possibilities. Everything has not already been said. Not every story has already been told.

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener

If you don’t know how to rewrite, you don’t know how to write, so Embrace the Rewrite.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

Remember to keep nuances in your writing. Say something like it has never been said.

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.  ~John Cheever

Never forget to use your senses and help others to notice their own. A story falls flat where senses are forgotten.

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Day 29–Twenty Things you can learn from this Blog

    1. How to commit to Running & Writing today
    2. How to find time to Run & Write
    3. Ten ways to keep Running everyday
    4. Why you should be Proud to Run & Write
    5. Ten Reasons to start Running Today
    6. How reading will help you Run more
    7. Seven steps to beat Procrastination
    8. 12 reasons I love Running Hills
    9. Fuel for Running & Writing
    10. Why you should pay yourself first
    11. Good Running & Writing Forums
    12. The importance of Variety
    13. The Perfect Writer’s Boost
    14. The value of a Musical Muse
    15. Five Great Running Pod casts
    16. Saving money with Running & Writing
    17. How reach your Goals
    18. How Running fights Negativity
    19. The Write Run Write formula
    20. Does Technology help you Run & Write?

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Filed under running, running and writing, writing

Day 18–Running & Writing Progression

The late Ron Pickering, former national athletics coach for Wales, once said, “If you wake up every morning and go for a 2 mile run around the park in 15 minutes, you will become very good at running 2 miles in 15 minutes. But, if you wish to progress, some of your runs will have to be 4 miles around the park, and some, just one mile around the park much faster.”

The above quote by Ron Pickering is true, but at the same time we can still be proud if we are the person waking up every morning and running 2 miles. In a sense we progressed. We ran 2 more miles for the week, month and year.

As runners and writers we want progression. It’s obvious with any run that we start at point A and progress to point B. The same with writing, we begin with one word and end up with a page or 400 pages.

In writing and running progression is key.

With writing this is extremely true. If you wake up every day and write 200 words, you have progressed. You could write 200 words every morning for the rest of your life, and you will be further ahead than most people and a lot of other writers.

The point being start out with consistency. Wake up and write. Wake up and run.

Start small and aim big.

Write  one sentence today, 2 tomorrow,  3 the next day and so on. After 2 months you will be writing 60 sentences a day, a pretty hefty word count.

If you run 1 minute today, 2 tomorrow, and 3 the next. After 2 months you will be able to run for an hour straight.

Once you have a program, than start thinking about progression in other terms, such as writing more and publishing or running faster and winning a race.

Everybody has their own signs of progression. For one writer progression may be finishing a short story, for another it’s publishing the short story. One runner wants to run a mile without stopping and the runner down the block wants to run a mile under 6 minutes.

Progression is relative.

So how do you measure your progression? You need to look to the past. How much and what were you writing one week ago, a month ago or last year? More or less?

How much and how fast did you run last week, month or year?

The only way to really get a grasp of our progression is if we have some sort of running log or writing journal. Then, we can look back and see what we were doing last month or year. By looking back we will usually find that we have progressed, even though we didn’t realize it.

It’s like growing hair. You don’t wake up and notice your hair grew overnight. But, if you look at a picture from six months ago, you will see progression. That’s why some sort of running/writing journal is a must.

So look back. You will be pleasantly surprised that you have progressed. And if not, you will be motivated to start progressing.

How do you measure running and writing progression?

Writing Prompt–Write a poem about where you want your writing to be in 6 months.

Running Prompt–Look back in your records and try to run your fastest mile today. Then write it down and try again in 2 weeks.

For an awesome article on progression read- Progression – the key to increasing fitness.


Filed under running and writing

Day 9–Running Podcasts

I find that at times to help me get off the couch and running I need to have a podcast to look forward to.

While running I mostly listen to running podcasts. Listening to a running podcast while you run can motivate you, helping you see you’re not alone. You realize there are other runners out there, trying  just as hard or harder than you. Running podcasts also provide a lot of training and nutritional advice, and ideas for every runner, no matter where you are in your running life.

Here’s a list of some Running podcasts I’ve found entertaining and helpful:

These podcasts have pulled me through some long runs and motivated me to get going on a tough day. I don’t listen to podcasts everyday, but while in the middle of  a running streak it helps break the monotony.

How about you, what are you listening to?

Running Prompt-Download a never listened to podcast and take it on the run.

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Day–8 The Writing & Running Spice


If you were to write the same story over and over, each and every day, you would get bored and stop writing. So, why try to write only fiction, or only essays, or only poetry. By limiting yourself to only one form or genre of writing, writing can lose its excitement.

I wake up early to work on my fiction. But, I don’t work on the same novel every morning. I have a rough schedule of:

Monday: Novel-write

Tuesday: Novel-enter novel from notebook into computer

Wednesday: Short Story-write

Thursday: Short Story-enter short story into computer

Friday: Novel-edit

Saturday: Short Story-edit

Sunday: Novel- write or edit

By changing it up everyday I find I’m more excited to get to my writing.

I also do this with my non-fiction freelance work. I block out chunks of time for queries, writing, researching and submitting. And why only write essays? Try your hand at all non-fiction forms. Such as, profiles, interviews, service articles and reviews.

Writing Prompt–Today write in a form you normally would not write in. If you’re stuck in fiction, try writing an essay. If you’re caught up in poetry, write a short story. And, if you’re busy with freelance work, take some time to start that novel.

Running–In the world of running variety plays a huge part in  you sticking with it.

Imagine going to the track every day and running the same quarter mile loop over and over again. Boring. So, why would we choose to run the same 3 mile route at the same time every morning and at the same pace. We are creatures of habit and  that can be our downfall.

How do we pop ourselves out of the running rut?

Running on pavement can  get old fast, so give trail running a try.

If you always run on trail, go to the local track and do speed work.

If your a speed-work specialist, try going on a long slow distance run.

To stay motivated, all you need to do is change it up a bit. Run in new places and at new paces.

Running Prompt–Try to find a trail near to you that you’ve never run on. Go explore.

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Day 6–Fueled to Run & Write

Before the Run

What I eat this morning will hinge on, when I’m running,  how far I’m running and how fast I will be running.

For example, if I’m planning on doing a short run of 3 to 7 miles, I will not eat anything at all, because I have enough stored energy to accomplish the run. But, if I plan on running 8 miles or more I will probably eat some toast, a bagel or bowl of cereal. I usually don’t eat anything before a run, unless I’m going over 10 miles. But, part of fueling for the run is knowing your own needs and catering to them.

If I’m running later in the day, at say lunchtime or late afternoon, my food for the day is affected in a different way.

I know personally, that running with a full stomach or even half-full stomach does not bode well with me. If I run with too much undigested food swimming around inside me, I will face discomfort for my entire run. So, if I plan on running at lunch, I’m careful about how big of a breakfast I eat. If I’m running late afternoon, I eat a very light lunch. I never run after dinner, only because I never feel that my food has digested, this does work well for some though.

I especially need to beware of what I eat if I’m planning on running fast or doing speed-work. Going fast seems to really stir things up, so I’m extra careful to not have too much in me.

No matter how far I’m going, I do like to get some coffee flowing through my veins.

During the Run

What I eat during a run totally depends on how far I’m going. I drink water during any run over 7 miles–this does depend on temperature. And I don’t start eating during a run unless I’m doing a run over 12 miles.

When I do a run over 12 miles, I start fueling at about 5 miles, taking some sort of energy gel shots. I also like drinking an energy drink, my personal favorite is Heed by Hammer Nutrition. Other personal fueling favorites are, nuts such as almonds or cashews, bananas, and Clif bars. I eat these things on runs up to 25 miles. After that fueling becomes a whole different beast, which we will cover in later posts.

After the Run

The crucial time for fueling for me is after the run.  I feel this is not only the most important time, but also the most enjoyable time.

During the run my fueling is utilitarian–all business. After the run, I eat more of what I’m craving, but with nutrients in mind. I try to get a good ratio of carbohydrate to protein. 3 carbohydrate to 1 protein is often suggested. I’m not a stickler on the whole ratio.

Here are some post run favorites of mine.

  • Any cereal, mostly Kashi, with peanut butter, banana and honey.
  • Yogurt with nuts, banana, honey and granola.
  • An after long-run tradition is Whole Grain Pancakes.
  • Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich
  • Shake including, hemp protein or other protein powder, frozen fruit, yogurt, oats
  • Toast and Eggs

When I’ve run an ultra-distance I throw the whole thing in the wind, and eat and drink whatever I need and want.

I find half the fun of running is fueling for and after the run.

The more you run, the more you will note the connection between your eating and running.

Fueling to Write

I already know what you’re thinking how do you fuel to write. This is my personal list.

  • A guarantee–Coffee.
  • Healthy food, since your butt is in the chair half the day.
  • Eat breakfast before I start.
  • Don’t skip lunch.
  • Take an afternoon healthy snack break.
  • A little more inspiration–Coffee.
  • A late night session means a little red wine, Ale or vodka. But, in definite moderation.

Running Prompt-Write down what you eat and drink for the entire day, note how you feel.

Writing Prompt-Write about your favorite drink, and what would happen if you couldn’t have it.

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Day 5–Breaking through Running & Writing Obstacles

Obstacle defined–something that impedes progress or achievement

Ask yourself what stops you from running or writing today?

Is it procrastination? The I’ll do it tomorrow syndrome.  According to Psychology Today, “there are many ways to avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be procrastination.”

If so, here’s how to solve this impediment to your progress or achievement.

The first step is realizing you’re procrastinating. So lets define procrastination. It  refers to the putting off of important tasks to a later time or the act of replacing high-priority goals with low-priority tasks.

The next step is deciding what your high-priority goals include, hopefully they include running and writing. If you are putting off running and writing to watch TV, dawdle on the internet or hang out at Mickey-dees then you might be procrastinating.

To beat this obstacle take these 7  simple steps.

1. Make a plan-Run or write every day this week.

2. Meditate on the Benefits- Run to be healthier.

3. Set a deadline-Write before 7 am each morning.

4. Build enthusiasm-Run a new route.

5. Do it-No explanation needed.

6. Reward yourself-After a week straight of running and writing every day you deserve some dessert.

The second obstacle is thinking  you can’t do it. The great thing about this hurdle is that no matter who you are, you can clear it.

Running: Not everyone can run a marathon in their first month, but most can after months of training. And to be a runner you don’t need to run a marathon. Start with a quarter mile, 1 mile or 2 miles. The beauty of running is that progression will be evident. It’s a progressive sport. I started with running a mile at a time. Now I’ve run 50 and 100 mile races. Start small and know you can do it. Start at Day 1. Dedicate yourself to a running streak, this blog will get you there.

Writing: Again, not everyone can sit down and write a novel. Like a marathon, writing requires endurance, and that is why you should start with small bites–short stories, poems and short essays. Then, after getting the feel for it, start that novel. Join our streaking club with Day 1. Stop here everyday for a prompt and some writing motivation.

Running Prompt-Today, run for the reward. Decide on a reward, then run and reward yourself at the end of the run. The only rule is that your reward shouldn’t contain more calories than you’ve burned in the last 2 runs.

Writing Prompt-Write down 5 writing goals. Such as,write 7 days straight, write a short story, publish a short story, get published in a magazine, write a novel or write 15 days this month. Whatever your goals are, make sure at least one of them can be accomplished within the next week, and work on that one first.

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Day–4 Do you want to run more? Then read.

I started running seriously after spending a weekend devouring a book about running. Before this book, I ran, but I ran sporadically. A mile here, a mile there. This book motivated me to get serious about running. I look back over a decade later and I’m grateful I read this book. The sad thing is I read this book at a Bed and Breakfast, and I’ve yet to find out what it was. If I hadn’t read this book, I might still be running a mile here and there.

I can say the same about my writing. Even though I cannot pin it on one specific book, I know that  all the books I checked out from the library played a huge part in my writing motivation. I still rapaciously consume any book I can find that deals with the writing life or craft. I love reading about writers, and their motivations,  schedules and quirks.

It isn’t  a requirement to read books about running and writing to be inspired to run or write.

But, and this is a big but, reading about writing and reading will motivate you to run and write more. For example, read the story about the person who is working 12 hours a day, raising 3 kids, volunteering every weekend and still training for a marathon. That’s enough to get me off the couch and running. Or the person who has sent out 500 short stories and still has not published one. That’s determination. And it’s enough to send me to the pen and paper.

These little vignettes show us we are not alone, and that it’s not that hard. Just get up and run. Sit down and write.

Again, you don’t need to read a whole book to be motivated. Start by reading this blog at DAY 1.

Then move on to other blogs about running and writing.

Pick up a magazine on writing or running.

Surf the web for running websites or writing forums. Read them.

Here are a couple magazine sites to start with:







poets & writers


This is only a beginning to useful links, look for more later.

Writing Prompt-Choose a Poet, buy one of their books,  research and read as much as you can about them. And then write a poem about one of their poems.

Running Prompt-Buy a running magazine, even better, subscribe.

Please share with us your favorite running or writing book.


Filed under reading, running and writing