Minute 1: Can motivation be improved?
Against our better instincts, we sometimes indulge in deep self-analysis through a Buzzfeed quiz like this one: “Your Food Preferences Will Reveal Which TV Character You Are.” They’re silly, shallow, and overgeneralizing, but they’re still a guilty pleasure. Everyone likes to learn more about themselves, even if it’s from an unreliable source. When you add scientific research into the mix, however, these silly articles become exceptionally useful tools. That’s why we recommend -- whether you're a trail runner or not -- this new article: “What type of trail runner are you? (according to science).” Researchers studied a group of trail runners and determined that they belonged to 1 of 3 categories. The first is resilients, who attain satisfaction by overcoming life’s challenges. They had the lowest perceived effort, but experienced the least pleasure during the race compared to the other groups. Next are the hedonists, who participate in trail running for their love of nature and scenery. They had a moderate perceived effort level, and a moderate amount of pleasure gained from running. Last are the competitors, who are motivated by a good performance and overtaking opponents. They had the highest level of perceived effort, but also the highest perceived pleasure. Interestingly, runners within this category are most likely to give up during a race. Unfortunately, figuring out what category you belong to isn’t as easy as taking a Buzzfeed quiz. For that, you’re going to have to use your intuition on your next run to uncover your motivating factors and perceived exertion. You should probably check out “What Does RPE Tell You About Your Workouts” to learn how the scale works, and what it means. Much of your perceived success and happiness from sports is derived from your underlying motivation, as Training Peaks explains in this helpful piece: “What Motivates Successful Athletes.” It explains the fundamental difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Ideally, we would all be driven by an intrinsic drive to work hard and excel at our sport. In reality, however, most athletes fall somewhere between the poles of the intrinsic/extrinsic continuum. Motivation levels can be altered and improved as described in this story from earlier this year: “4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out.”