Motivation is an integral part in achieving success, reaching further than you thought possible, and making your dreams a reality. So why is it that sometimes we struggle to get motivated to complete even the most menial tasks when we know that it is motivation that is the key to that starting the engine of achievement? Simple. We’re humans. Sometimes tasks or goals seem too daunting or lofty and we just can’t seem to get fired up for them. Or we really just don’t feel like getting after it.

Ryan Wilson is a class act and an excellent example of remaining motivated.

I just finished watching the final day of the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships and a guy by the name of Ryan Wilson won the 110 hurdles and a spot on the team that goes to Moscow in August to compete at the World Track & Field Championships. The reason this guy sticks out in my mind is not because he’s a big name in the track world or has won multiple US track titles. In fact, I can’t recall when I may have heard his name before, but Ryan is 32 years old, does not have a shoe contract (and therefore no salary from a big brand in the game), was on one World Athletics Final team in 2008 and graduated from the cushy, comfortable world of collegiate track & field an entire decade ago, and yet he just won his first USA track title. His interview after the race was simply awesome because he couldn’t stop smiling, bouncing around and laughing. You feel that joy coming through the camera and when he was asked what his title and spot on the team meant to him, his response was simply, “It means that 10 years of hard work is finally paying off.”

If Ryan’s continued efforts through inevitable hard times and moments of self-doubt don’t exemplify what it means to be dedicated to something you love, motivated by something intangible, and sometimes volatile, and persevere through whatever obstacles were tossed his way, I really don’t know what does.

motivation sourceWhat is it that gets your out of bed? What motivates you to lace up your trainers and hit the trails? What motivates you to push through that seemingly impossible last interval?

This kind of support from your teammates and friends can do wonders for levels of motivation. When you compete for more than just yourself, great things can happen!

For me, it’s love. For a long time I tried to deny that I loved running and training and simply did it “because I was good at it” but my perspective shifted in college around my junior or senior year when I started to really connect with my training, feel the support of my teammates and become more goal oriented with my seasons. I took things more seriously because that’s what you do when you love something—you don’t mess around. I found greater success after I came to the realization that I was meant for the sport instead of just being a passive participant (you follow that one?). It’s that love that brought me back to running after I graduated, moved out to Oregon and started working 65-70 hour weeks doing PR and marketing for Nike. I didn’t feel right when I couldn’t run and that missing part of my heart was just not going to do, so I moved back to Michigan, started grad school and started my post-collegiate training at a much higher level than ever before.

motivation running

All alone in a road race, but motivated enough to PR!

Runners are a special breed of people who find immense intrinsic reward and motivation from simply doing what comes naturally to them. Sometimes motivation arises from goals of new PRs, destination races, losing a few inches off a waistline or running further than ever before. Sometimes motivation comes from something as simple as a beautiful day that mustn’t go wasted. For me, I find motivation through my connection with the sport. Running clears my head, it feeds my soul and it works my body like nothing else can, so for that, I am grateful. But it’s those small, personal rewards that I crave and the unknown of where this is all headed, that keeps me- and likely Ryan Wilson- lacing up day after day.