Friday, October 10, 2014

Fantastically Scientific and Shockingly Accurate Running Goal Ego-Joy-o-meter

If the goal is to start following a plant-based diet the majority of people will state one of the following 3 motivations for initially shifting towards a diet free of animal products:
  • Animal welfare
  • Health benefits
  • The reduced impact on the planet
My personal motivation to be plant-based really is a combination of the three, although I would probably rank them in the order above if I had to. 

Whole Foods to Thrive by Brendan Brazier is a great source of information about the ethical, environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet, while Forks Over Knives is an awesome movie on the benefits and healing capacities of a whole food plant-based diet. Also check out for more information on the health benefits of a plant-based diet without having to leave your computer or whatever device you are reading this on.

Similarly there are a number of good motivations to run or generally be active. Some of them are:
  • Weight loss
  • Health benefits
  • Stress reduction
  • Fitness gains
  • Connecting with nature
  • Socializing
  • Improved mental clarity and sleep and so on and so on
Need more motivation? Try reading Finding Ultra by Rich Roll, Eat & Run by Scott Jurek or Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

On the surface there are many different reasons for the different runs I do, actually. At times I will run to commute or run errands, sometimes I need to unwind, or I run because I want to do well in an upcoming event. Other times I will run to reconnect with friends, have an adventure, explore new trails or cities and sometimes I run because I feel like I should, or I am running scared of the slob I will surely turn into if I miss a workout. To this day I have without fail felt better for getting my butt out the door and breaking a sweat. My "no treadmill resolution" that I implemented about 3 years ago has yet to be violated even on the wettest, nastiest of days. It's safe to say that I don't have a problem with being motivated at least not in terms of getting out the door for a run or a ride.

Ideally all I ever need to stay motivated are a few of those beautiful moments of running with effortless speed (or what passes for speed in my mind) or  heading out for an adventure with friends to explore awesome places. There are other times though when I need to set more specific goals in the form of races. They strengthen my resolve and help me get out the door and push hard when otherwise I wouldn't. Signing up for a spring Ultra this year really helped me to stay committed throughout the dark and wet days for example. Overall though the main thing that I'm after is this joy of being in motion that a dog chasing a stick with its ears flopping in the wind must feel. I'd choose that joy over competing in a race any day. Unless I can have both at the same time of course.

Instead of going into detail and boring you with writing in length about different running goals and to what degree they stem from the ego or simply promote the joy of movement and camaraderie, I designed a nifty chart summarizing just that (click to magnify):

Keep pushing,