Continuous Self-Motivation

Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Motivation, Running, Triathlon | 8 Comments

For some, motivating oneself during training comes relatively easy, but for others, it may seem difficult or non-existent. There are a few different tricks I have learned over the past few years that allow me to override negative thoughts such as, “I really don’t feel like working out today.”

1. Motivational quotes by present and past athletes – I post these quotes to Facebook and Twitter throughout the week, and if you have noticed from my recent blog posts, at the end of each article. Constantly motivating yourself on a day-to-day basis makes you “buy” into the system of never giving up. For example, when I was running the Chicago Marathon last October, I was on pace for a 3:30 marathon until mile 18, where I felt an unbearable pain in my right hamstring. I finished the remaining 8 miles, but then later found out I had torn my hamstring. The only thing that ran through my head during that time was the quotes I had posted in the past, which motivated me to keep going and ultimately not quit. I was not going to let myself down.  Starting this year, I started coming up with my own motivational quotes, that way when my body is telling me to stop, I say, “Not a chance. I am finishing this thing.”

2. Self made poster - Put a poster on your wall that states, “Your competition is training right now. What have you done to improve yourself today?” If you have not completed a workout prior to seeing that, your competitive side takes over. When I see this on my wall I always think, “My competitor is going out there right now to train and will be better prepared than me come race day and it will be that one day that makes the difference between winning and losing.” If that doesn’t set a fire under you, I don’t know what will!

3. Visualize yourself dominating a race from start to finish -  Do this 2-3 days per week for 15-30 minutes during training, ideally before you go to sleep.  Analyze every scenario you may face during an event. That way when a situation arises, you will have the tools to dominate a potential setback.  After these exercises, I feel as if I can conquer any race at any moment in time.  Negative thoughts never creep into my head on race day, because I shut them down months before it even starts. This technique will help motivate you to keep your legs churning and most of all, to stay positive.

4. Music – If you are feeling down one day, and absolutely nothing else is working, try this. Choose a song that gets you pumped up the most and listen to it until you feel like you could run through a brick wall. “Ready For War” instrumental version is one that puts me into a focused and determined mindset.


This is a motivational video I made to help kickstart others into a successful marathon adventure. Whether you are trying to qualify for Boston or seeking to conquer your first 26.2 miles, YOU are a champion!! The person’s voice in the background is from Muscle Prodigy TV.

“Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.” – Lance Armstrong

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  1. Travis Owens
    May 21, 2012

    Great tips to keep motivated! I especially like the one about your competition is training. One of my favorite quotes is: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Steve Prefontaine

    • Mikeal Ball
      May 21, 2012

      Thank you! And that is actually one of my favorite quotes also!

  2. Chris Hayes
    May 21, 2012

    Great post. This is definitely the biggest problem with most athletes. It’s easy to get off track and as you said, say “I really don’t feel like working out today”. I’ve had those days myself. Love the “Your competition is training right now. What have you done to improve yourself today?” quote.

    • Mikeal Ball
      May 21, 2012

      Thank you! When you skip a workout due to lack of motivation, you are essentially losing ground on your opponent in my mind. If you want to be the best athlete you can be, you have to be willing to put forth 100% effort physically, but most of all 100% effort mentally. Your mind is the biggest asset you have while training. You must develop ways to train your mind to be great, and I think these ways could give everyone a great start!

  3. Nicholas L. Norfolk
    May 24, 2012

    Another great post. It is a daily struggle and as you stated we have to be mentally strong. I use quotes and mantras that help me along the way. Two of my favorites are

    “A good day is when I get to run. A great day is when I inspire others to run!” – Saucony

    “I AM A RUNNER because I know that despite my best efforts, I will always want more from myself. I will always want to know my limits so that I can exceed them.”

    I love the motivational video. I’ve watched the “I am a champion” video before and it makes you want to workout immediately. The voiceover was good and I also heard the Inception film score in the background. I’m a film score geek, so that’s the only reason I picked up on it. Keep it up, bro! #BeYourOwnSuperhero #GOGETIT

    • Mikeal Ball
      May 29, 2012

      Thanks Nicholas! And I Love the “I am a runner” quote!

    August 12, 2013

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  5. Jaret Grossma
    September 6, 2013

    This is Jaret Grossman from Muscle Prodigy. I recently just came out with an iTunes album containing motivational speeches with pump up music behind it. This is the only one of its kind, and thus, within one week of launching we are already #1 on all of iTunes albums for the “Fitness & Workout” genre out of hundreds of albums. To give you an analogy – it’s like Tony Robbins mixed with Eminem. If you can contact me about doing a feature about it on your site, it would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for posting the video on this blog. Search “Muscle Prodigy” on the iTunes store or check it out here: