The rail trail was really busy this past Sunday morning. I usually can get a spot out of the 25 or so parking spaces, but they were all occupied. I settled for a nice spot facing back towards my house on the side of the road. As I walked up to do a few stretches before beginning my run, I noticed that the UCONN women's cross country team was training on the trail. A minute or so before starting my run, they took off in two groups, each with about ten runners. Now I wasn't about to keep pace with these ladies, but I used them as motivation to keep my pace up and kept them in sight until the three mile turnaround point for me. I stopped for less than a minute and just before I started back one of the groups passed me on the way back. There was a female coach riding a mountain bike along side them. They had about a forty second lead on me as I started back. I tried to close the gap and started to do so running around a 7:50 pace for mile four. I could see that the coach every so often would look back and then-boom- they increased the pace. This must have happened at least five times over the last three miles. Perhaps I'm full of myself, but I had the feeling that the coach was using me as motivation for her runners. "If you ladies don't pick the pace up, that old guy back there is going to catch us. Let's get going!"
Anyway, I continued to push until I was running around a 7:18 pace. I covered the last three miles in 22:57, which is a 7:39 pace. I think they ended up less than a minute ahead of me. I was happy with the run.
What types of things do you do to motivate yourself during training runs?