Searching For Motivation: Finding Your “Grand Final”

I have mostly lead a very active life, playing multiple sports during my teens and then playing senior football for 17 years. During this time I would train 2 or 3 times a week and play a game on the weekends. The beauty of playing team sport for such a long period is that there is never a need to find “motivation” to exercise, as I always had other people relying on me to perform and I would never want to let my team down. Now that I am a few years retired from playing football, I find myself in a totally new stage of exercise, I need “Self Motivation”. No one is relying on me to “perform” and the only person I will let down if I don’t exercise is myself. Let me say, I have struggled to find the motivation to exercise over the last few years.

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I work in the health field and advise my patients on a daily basis about the need to maintain regular exercise, I help patient’s modify activities/exercises to work for them, to fit into their routines. But, I was finding myself not practising what I was preaching and I was doing less and less exercise whilst slowly putting on more weight and becoming less healthy overall.

I reached a point toward the end of 2018 when I felt I reached a fork in the road, I was the heaviest I have ever been and was not feeling energetic or healthy at all. I decided that running was a good way to get me back exercising as I have done a lot of it in the past through football, and my body was in a decent enough condition to tolerate it. I started with a small 3km run to test the waters…..those waters were rough and nearly drowned me. I could not believe how hard it was to do something that I had done 100’s of times previously. I was a bit down on myself about how “unfit” I was. However, I decided to practice what I tell my patients, don’t compare yourself to what has been, you are here now and this is your reality, so focus on the now, not the what used to be. I decided that I would just stick to 3 km runs and try not to worry about time, but more on trying to enjoy just running. Over the next month or so I tried to commit to at least 3 runs a week, and as I got into a rhythm of this the runs became easier and I started to increase the runs to roughly 5km. I was still huffing and puffing but starting to find the running easier each session.

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Then I hit the wall of lacking motivation. For so many years I always had a goal to train toward, winning a premiership. Now though I found myself just running because I felt I “needed to be healthier”. This in itself is a great goal that we all should focus on, but I found it was not enough to sustain me on some early mornings when I was tired, it became easy to just “do it tomorrow”. Before I knew it, I had not run for over a week and could easily just not run.

That’s when I decided to bite the bullet and set myself a tangible goal, I needed a new “grand final” to train toward. I decided that I would enter the Great Ocean Road Half Marathon, a 23km run on a very hilly coastal road. I have never run further than 10km in my life and this seemed like a hard but hopefully achievable goal. My wife actually provided the motivation, as she had  previously completed the race and described a great sense of accomplishment when she finished.


So now I have my grand final date set I am feeling excited to get out and run, even though it is challenging and hard at times. In my coming blogs I will share my training approach and tips for preparing for a distance running event. Keep an eye out on Instagram and Facebook for updates and feel free to yell out if you see my out on the roads.

Book an appointment with Mark online at or contact our friendly team on 5255 5040 (OG) or 4202 0446 (L) to discuss how Mark can help you achieve your health goals!