Exercise is THE perfect example of this. You WILL reap what you sow.
So, decide first... What do you want Out of it?
Probably to each individual it seems like an easy answer, because you have thought about what Your motivation is, but understanding that that motivation is different for everyone is an integral part of learning about yourself:
Your source of motivation may change as you progress, and you may find that what you thought your motivation was in the first place was... not.
Here are some examples (good, bad, indifferent):
- To get in shape (about as lame and generic as you can get, but there you have it)
- To lose weight
- To fit into a small pair of jeans
- To look better in your bathing suit for the upcoming summer
- To make your body more healthy (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.)
- To have something to do with a loved one
- To have something to do to go pick up a new 'loved' one
- To blow off steam
- To be able to run faster
- To be able to run farther
- To be stronger
- To get myself ready to compete in x (a new distance: a 5k, 10k, half, full, ultra, etc.)
- To beat my previous time
- To win x race(s)
- To de-stress
- To run...away
Depending on which category(ies) you fall in dictates what you do to train and how. If you want to run faster, than your training will look different than someone wanting to run ultras, if you're wanting to run ultras your training will look very different than someone wanting to lose weight, etc.
For me, running is not competitive. Understand that I am a very competitive person, in most all aspects, but running is Not competitive for me, it never has been, and I truly Hope it never will. For me, running is de-tox. It's stress relief, it's joy, it's (as I've said many times) meditation in motion.
So, with knowing that, how I run is very different than how most people do who are training for most of the things in that list.
Again, what's important is that you recognize WHY you are running, and then plot your input accordingly.