A great race experience starts far before the race begins. It doesn’t start in your legs, your lungs, or even in your heart. It starts in your head. It starts with right perspective going in. Indeed, it starts with how you inspire yourself to keep going when you don’t think you can. It starts not with what you want to accomplish, or how you’re going to do it, it starts with WHY you’re doing it in the first place.

Find Your Why
So many runners start by focusing on the wrong thing. They start with a time goal, or a goal to finish, or a goal to PR. Maybe they start with a plan, or a schedule. Goals are great. Without a doubt, a plan is important. But a goal is just the “what;” it’s nothing more than the outcome. A plan is simply the “how” to achieve the “what.” Again, both are very important, but they are not inspiring. People give up on goals, or the “what,” all the time (running faster, losing weight, lifting more); what is not inspiring. People veer from plans without even thinking twice. As it turns out, the “how” isn’t very inspiring either. However, if can find your WHY, the deeper reason you’re running, you will be inspired by a higher purpose.

Don’t Run Fast. Run Inspired.
It’s easy to lose motivation and give up on the “what,” like setting a PR, for example. You might think, “Who cares if I run faster?” You might cut some mileage on your plan because “no one will ever know.” However giving up on your WHY, your inspiration for running is far less likely. Maybe your WHY is to be healthier, and live longer. Maybe it’s to be more fit, to play with your kids. It could even be to run fast enough to keep up with that cute guy (or girl). This is your WHY, so it’s personal and it should be. Your WHY will inspire you every second of every run until you cross that finish line. A WHY is a higher purpose; it’s not a plan or an outcome.

How to Find your WHY
This is less difficult then you might think. Just sit quietly and start to think. Ask yourself, “WHY am I doing this race?” The first answer will be superficial (like I want to be fit). Ask yourself again, “WHY am I doing this race?” The next answer will be better (maybe like I want to be healthier). Don’t let yourself off that easy, ask yourself one last time, “WHY am I doing this race?” This third answer is typically your WHY, or very close to it (in our example: I want to run this race to be healthier, to live longer, to see my kids graduate college). Once you find that WHY, write it down. Write it on your running shoes, your gym bag, or a sticky note on your alarm clock. Put your WHY front and center, and run with inspiration.