It is easy to be inspired these days.  Between heart warming Olympic stories, incredible videos and movies of people achieving what seemed to be the unachievable, to books documenting the lives of our idols.

In the age of blogs, twitter, and youtube, it is hard to NOT be inspired.

Just the other day I was watching the men’s 10,000 meter at the London Games and couldn’t believe how much it made me want to run.  I had already gone out for my run that day, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I had plans just a few minutes later I would have laced back up and gone back out.  And to think, that was just a 25 minute race I was watching.

We are constantly plugged into our phones and computers, where people’s daily workouts and weekly miles litter our feeds.  You can’t escape it.  People are doing great things and you are hearing about it. It is inspiring.

But once you get inspired, what do you do with that motivation?  If left untouched, it will be forgotten as quickly as it arrived.  You need to take advantage of it, use it, let it feed you, in order to achieve what you feel so inspired to do.

Figure Out Why

Reading a great article or watching a movie might be inspiring, but in order for it to be lasting something has to really resonate with you.  The first step in channeling that inspiration is to figure out exactly why it inspires you. 

I recently read Scott Jurek’s new book Eat and Run.  If you don’t know about Scott, he is a vegan ultrarunner with easily one of the best careers in ultrarunning history.  Everything about that book was inspiring.  From the incredible race reports, to the discussions about eating whole, plant based foods.  Every time I put the book down all I could think about was running my next race.

What resonated with me most was  his goal of finding himself:  physically, mentally, and spiritually through these ultra adventures.

 Knowing exactly why you are inspired will help you know how to keep yourself inspired.


The only way to ensure that that inspiration goes towards something is to actually do something!  Committing to a goal is the first step in achieving a goal.  It is easy to say, “I’ll start trying to lose weight” or “I’ll start running more,” but without setting a goal those sayings rarely take shape.

Commit to training for your first marathon, losing that 10 pounds, or cooking at home 5 nights a week.  Set the goal, with real, tangible rules, and stick to it.

I had run a few marathons when I registered for my first 50k.  It was because of the inspiration I (and so many others) gained from the book Born to Run that the idea first came to mind.  Instead of thinking on it, I just signed up.  I knew that if I just sat back and waited to sign up for an ultra when I was ready, I would have never signed up.  I needed to take that giant first step in order to start taking the baby steps of training.

Pick your goal, commit yourself to it, and just roll with it. 

Remind Yourself

Even if you know exactly why it is something motivates you, and even if you have already committed to a real, tangible goal, achieving that goal can still be extremely difficult.  If it wasn’t difficult, you would have been able to do it long ago.

It is critical to find ways to continue that motivation by getting it from other places.  It may have been an inspiring blog post that made you decide to run a half marathon, but you will probably (definitely) need more just that post to keep you going.  Finding motivation could come from a number of places:

  • Family and friends
  • Blogs and books about your goal
  • A group of like-minded folks
  • Making the goal about more than just yourself through fundraisers
  • An arsenal of inspirational movies

Just to name a few.

After the excitement of training for my first ultra started to wear off and I was faced with the reality of 4 hour training runs, it took a lot more than just the memories of Born to Run.  It was the support from family and friends, numerous inspirational race reports, and the encouragement of others that kept me going.

Being inspired is an amazing feeling.  But achieving the goal you were inspired to do is even better.  As cheesy as it sounds, it really is true that you can do things you never thought possible.  All it takes hard work, commitment, and the inspiration to get yourself started.

Now turn off that computer and get your butt out there.  Go!


Photo Credit

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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