Where do you go to find inspiration?

Be it 5am on a Monday morning and it's 20 degrees and windy out.

Be it a lazy Sunday and all you want is chocolate croissants and eclairs.

Be it 6am on a Tuesday morning track workout day and the track is covered with 18" of snow.

Be it 6:30 on a Thursday after the most ungodliest longest day at work and your friend just text-bailed on you for the Body Pump Class. 

You pass on the extra slice of carrot cake because you're already stuffed and undoing the top pants button. 

Be it 8am on a Sunday morning and your swim partner awaits you at the pool in 20 minutes while your warm, cozy bed calls your name.

Be it a dark 4:30 am and you've got 140.6 miles of racing ahead of you. 

Where do you draw inspiration? What motivates you when all you want to do is say "No thanks. Not today. Another day.

How do you get out of bed, lace up the sneakers and layer on just the right amount of clothes?

How do you pull back the covers and put on a swimsuit for hours of laps in the pool?

Sometimes all it takes is a quick pep talk and the experience of knowing that I will regret it if I don't get my ass out of bed. 

Sometimes it takes knowing that someone is waiting for me to motivate me to move. 

Sometimes it takes remembering how far I've come to press on with progress.

What deep, dark place do you go to when you really need to draw down into the well of motivation?

Here are five ways that you can find inspiration when it's left you high and dry : 

1. Get a mantra and put it on repeat. 

Here's what's worked for me in the past (and is on heavy rotation.)

  • I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can. Just like the little engine that could, I tell that to myself. If nothing else, it distracts me while I keep running. 
  • Just do it. (Usually said with a choice word in there.)
  • You'll get home quicker if you run (perhaps not a mantra, but it keeps me moving.)

2. Get a running buddy.

Many people have seen the images of Amy Cragg catching Shalane Flanagan at the finish line on Saturday of the 2016 Olympic Marathon trials. Training buddies, best friends and teammates, they kept each other going throughout the 26.2 miles. In fact Shalane said,

"I started getting chills and I didn’t say anything to Amy because I didn’t want to scare her, but I could just feel I was starting to get in trouble. I just tried to stay calm, but once we got the Coliseum, I told Amy, “I may be in trouble. You may need to just take off. If I start to falter and fall off, you just have to go.”

I wasn’t going to hinder her race. I think she was tentative to take off because it’s scary to run it in the last four miles by yourself. It’s a long last four miles.

She said, “No, I’m going to stay right with you, one mile at a time. We’ll get to the next fluid station and you’ll feel better.”

You can always borrow some inspiration from your running partner. If Olympic athletes can do it, so can we.

3. Think big. 

Think of people who can't be there with you. Who can't or don't do the exercise that you're doing. Channel the memory of people who have fought hard battles and lost. Recall friends, family and strangers who share how you inspire them and use that to buoy you.

4. Think small. 

Instead of focusing on the finish line 10 miles away, focus on getting to the next street, the next traffic light, the end of the song. 

5. Use the temperature and weather to inspire you.

If it's really hot out, go slower. Nothing feels as discouraging as it does when you're trying to run hard and it's hella hot out. If it's cold out, use that to motivate you to run faster to warm up or get home to a hot shower soon!

And if you think you've done races where you've had to dig deep for inspiration, imagine running a FULL IRONMAN  - 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. 

Join me on February 23rd @ 6pm MT / 8pm Eastern when I interview Professional Triathlete Amber Cullen. 

She'll share many things, including how she motivates to swim, bike and run 140.6 miles AND spend over 5 hours training every single Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (on top of holding down a career, life and friends.)

[Click on the image below to register]

WHO : Johanna Voss, a nutrition coach and professional triathlete, Amber Cullen Ferreira

WHAT : A Live Q&A between Amber and I during which we'll talk motivation, food and training.


WHEN : February 23rd @ 6pm MT / 8pm EST

WHY : ....when was the last time you got to ask a professional athlete questions? Hope you can join us. "See you then"!