Motivation: “More cowbell!!!!”
By Tish

Picture this: Our Kingstowne Strider Annual Relay has finished, and the group photo has been taken.  Meg comes to me and asks, “Tish, would you be willing to write an article for the Strider Newsletter about motivation?”  I think, “Who am I to do this?”  Then I get excited about sharing what has worked for me and how The Striders have been a huge part of my years of running.  My research began on this subject well before 1/1/21.  My hope is that you will reflect on your own running journey and celebrate what has worked and consider adding something fresh and new.  I have found that motivation is personal but never privat and may, in fact be as loud as obnoxious as a cow bell.


Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Tish Nordvall and I have been a Strider member for over ten years.  Though I don’t remember when I first joined, I can claim that I participated in the first Kingstowne Strider American Odyssey Relay in 2013 and have done so annually since then.   


American Odessy Relay 2013 FInis


My favorite time to run with The Striders is the Saturday morning run.  I am honored to be the recipient of the Kingstowne Striders Coach G. “Jim” Miller Award for “spirit” and now hope to share some of the reasons I may have been selected as our 2020 recipient. 

First, what can I share about motivation?  I did some digging about the Sport Motivation Scale (SMS).  The components of motivation are best understood through the self-determination theory.  This theory aims to explain goal directed behavior by looking at three needs: competence, freedom of choice, and relatedness.  Research shows that satisfaction and motivation, as well as engagement, rise when those three needs are satisfied.  (Deci & Ryan, 2000) Research now looks at a continuum with varying degrees of individualize.


Intrinsic motivation represents the greatest rewards of personalization due to self-selection.  Learning and understanding is gained.  Accomplishing a goal is celebrated.  Activity provides a stimulating….and often muscle fatiguing experience.  Maybe it is watching Courtney Dauwalter cross a finish line.  It could be a daily check on a training plan.  A Strider post on Facebook with a photo of your early morning start is another option.  Reflection on what is working for you intrinsically provides the motivation for when times of challenge seem most daunting. 

On this continuum of motivation, we must also consider extrinsic factors.  While the contributions are weighted individually, they affect us all.  The integrated regulation seems to work best for me since I find daily routine keeps me from stumbling.  My schedule during the week and on the weekend happen like clockwork. 

I know who I will see, and the gym and I can say “Good Morning Woody!”  Our relatedness allows us to encourage each other with just our presence.  Sometimes we acknowledge the challenges of each day in a way that makes us feel like we are on a mission together.  Either way, we show up, do our thing, and show that we are competent to represent in a way that makes us feel like overcomers together.  Extrinsic motivation can seem like a competition or a uniting.  I find it works best when viewed as “We’re in this together!”  The weekend Strider run on Saturday is the same for me.  My early bedtime on Friday seems a small sacrifice when I realize that others wrestle with the same demands.  Our future running goals seem so much more important and get us all moving as we chat about life.  By the time the run is finished the weekend is fueled with a kickstart.  My husband says, “You do more in the morning than the army.”  I have the Striders RSVP to thank for that!


Speaking of Strider invites, our events both weekly and as highlights are wonderful gifts.  I have participated in wonderful events, challenges, and opportunities organized by our tireless Strider Board Members.  Our Strider Relay has been a motivating gift that has annually kicked off my New Year.  I have thrown in streaks, BINGO, Trash Runs, relays, packet stuffing, Fill the Shoes 5Ks, and holiday runs.   


Race Photo and Run Selfie


These are just some of the few Strider events of the past that we can also look forward to in the future.  I love volunteering for the Marine Corps Adopt A Mile and hope we can do that again together.  It’s the togetherness that motivates, keeps me accountable, and encouraged.

Consider committing to a weekly run or upcoming event as part of your training this year.  New beginnings seem to be the theme with each new year, and this year especially.  We keep learning and trying new challenges, all with a voice of encouragement while participating.  My voice just happens to be a cow bell.  What’s yours? 

Motivation Tips:

  • This year I am trying a word and tag line for motivation.  Unique: A united passion with a unique response.  What’s your word/theme/moto/mantra?
  • Being surrounded by those I look up to is a huge source of motivation.  The fact that you all show up with predictability and have a voice of dedication is another strengthener for all.
  • Viewing my healthy practices as non-negotiables is a form of accountability.
  • My faith in Jesus helps me since I always get it wrong.




Luc G. Pelletier, et al, (2013). Validation of the revised sport motivation scale (SMS-II). Psychology of Sport & Exercise,14, 329341. file:///C:/Users/LNordvall1/Downloads/Validation_of_the_revised_sport_motivati20160307-5515-1qg0yfm%20(1).pdf

Self-Determination Theory: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Retrieved 1/2/21.

Run For Your Life: How to Run, Walk, and Move Without Pain Or Injury and Achieve a Sense of Well-Being and Joy by Mark Cucuzzella, M.D.