Q: I have read your articles but find it a bit technical to follow at times. I am 45 years old woman and have put my name down for a 10k run (this sunday) and a 5k run in September. I can run the distance but cannot seem to do it any faster, otherwise I feel so tired that I want to give up. What can I use to motivate myself to get better on my speed? I cannot tell how fast that I am running as I have an ordinary watch. Can you give me some training tips and if I have my run on Sunday how many times is it safe for me to run until Sunday. I feel quite tired and want to give up at times but I know that I definitely want to get better but am probably afraid of the hard work. How can I motivate myself? Can you please advise. Hope to hear from you soon.

A: If we're too technical and you are looking for external motivational sources, the best advice I can give you is to start reading the stuff John "The Penguin" Bingham writes. According to Runner's World magazine, he is The New Prophet of Running. He has a regular column in RW. He says "when you're hurting, slow down." He has thousands upon thousands of followers perfectly content with who they are. They have no interest in getting faster. They just want to keep off the couch, that's all. The only motivation they need is the fact that they had "the courage to start."

Bingham is the perfect answer for people who might have difficulty self-motivating. If Bingham were a tennis instructor, his remedy for repeatedly hitting the ball in the net might be to take the nets down. Improvement is nothing but a state of mind. You'd be amazed what an hour of Oprah Winfrey while pounding out some serious reps on the 'ol stair stepper might do for getting yourself pumped up. You don't even need the sound on. Just watching all of the hugging will give you goose bumps. That way, you can still wear your headphones, too. It's not how you do. It's how you convince yourself that you're o.k. too, even if you run like John "The Penguin" Bingham. I'll bet you that if you compare your time in the 5k time you could run right now, it's at least five minutes faster than his and I'll bet it's even more. And he's getting paid. Congratulations. You just beat someone who generates a W-2 from running a 5k in 45 minutes. How much more motivation than that do you need?

Congratulations on dropping the Penguin.

Now, come race time, try to drop him by 10 minutes. There. Motivation has now been accomplished.

Best of luck to you.

The Rage

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10kTruth.com is a place for runners who have the attitude to train harder and smarter, who want to race faster and stronger, to better their race times and lower the chance of injury. The Rage and Manciata answer running and training questions with their own unique insight and spew. You'll also find running advice and inspirational quotes by sports legends and others who epitomize the spirit of 10k Truth.