Finding Motivation — Advice from a Physical Therapist

close up image of a person's athletic shoes in walking/running action

In April this year, Bethany and Clackamas clinic director Jessica Dorrington crossed the finish line in the Boston Marathon at 3:00:14 – adding to her growing collection of PR times for races of all lengths from a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and now a marathon. Next, she says, she plans to chase her former 7th grade speeds and is looking to break her middle school records for the 800 and the 1500 on the track. 

Running, Jessica acknowledged, as anyone who knows her knows, is part of her identity. So, too, is being a director, leader, shareholder and mentor at Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy. Oh, and did we mention the 43-year-old is also mom to two active kiddos? With all of that, the question that comes to mind for many of us is, “Where does she find her motivation?”

Here is what she had to say.

Physical Therapist Jessica Dorrington after she crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon in April 2023.

Consistency is key – every brick lays down a piece of the foundation.

Starting any work out plan can be a challenge. It is easy to miss a workout, to feel too tired, or to schedule something else in its place. But when you see the benefits of exercise, it is easier to lay down the bricks to build the foundation and work toward consistency. It helps to pair your workouts with other things to build it naturally into your program.

I schedule my exercise time in my calendar for the following week. Sometimes I have to change the time slot, shift a day or two based on life and also how I feel physically, but my workouts are always penciled in the scheduled. Then, even if I cannot get out for a full work out, I will modify it to meet the time I do have. Having the mind-shift from “I’ll just do it later” to “I’ll at least do what I have time for” has been a huge help in my being successful with consistency. 

As the old saying goes – kill two birds with one stone.

Time is a valuable commodity. We only get so much in the day. We cannot make more of it. We cannot buy it in the store. And once we give it away, we never get it back. There’s no doubt then that anytime we can achieve two outcomes or goals with a single effort or activity, our time is maximized. For me, I have found that combining my workouts and runs with other things I need or want to do makes it that much easier to get out and do it!

Here are 6 simple things that I incorporate into my runs:


Running is where I find fulfillment. An extrovert at heart, a single run will fill my introverted tank so that I have energy for our patients, my team, and my family. I believe we need to fill our own cups so we can fill those around us.


When I need to come up with an innovative idea for a challenge - including something I'm working on with my clinic co-director, I head out for a run. While I’m out on the roads contemplating, the solution often comes.


My easy runs are always paired with listening to my favorite business leadership podcasts or self-guided continuing education classes! We only have so much time in the day, why not aim to learn and grow while being active?


They say the key to mastery of any skill, or any profession, is self-reflection, and taking a walk, working out, or going on a long run provides the time for it away from distractions and the hustle and bustle of life. In this space, I can really absorb and process things.


Studies show that being outdoors has a significant impact in mood improvement and that fresh air and vitamin D contributes to positive mental health. So, while it is nice out, getting outside during downtime at work or home and getting moving is the optimal choice for body and mind.


I have a friend who I have met every Friday morning for a run - rain or shine, sleet, ice storms - for more than a decade. Through that regular connection, our friendship has flourished. By the end of each run, we have solved every parenting problem and have solutions for every world problem.

I’ve also started running with a group two days a week, building camaraderie and a connection to a community. Through that, I have a newfound love of sharing miles with others and celebrating their successes and trials.

We all want to have our place in the bigger society circle — whether being a Duck fanatic at a football game or a running community junkie — it connects us to something larger than ourselves.

It’s been fulfilling for me to combine fitness and life, and it’s something we can all do.  And of course, I am internally motivated. Setting a goal of breaking 3:00 in the marathon has been an internal goal to help me motivate, when all the other things above don’t quite do it. Competition against the clock to achieve a race-time goal helps significantly when the clock strikes 4:45 a.m. and it’s time to get up and run.

Pride yourself on being adaptable.

As health care providers, PTs know that load must be slightly under tissue adaptability to prevent injury. When our load is higher, both in physical and emotional stress, we need rest cycles to ensure we stay at optimal training zones. So, if work or life stress happens, I adapt my training down, because life is its own marathon, and your body doesn’t know the difference.

And, drum roll please, in the field of physical therapy the last thing is music to our ears …

Incorporate strength training.

After preaching strength training while working with high performance athletes, I finally took my own advice — two days a week of strength training and simple plyometrics, which I consistently pair with my early morning runs with a friend. We sometimes cut our runs short to make sure we have time for a few reps in the gym – sometimes core, sometimes legs, and sometimes just stretching, but it is time that as a runner, I have never made priority before.

So, take every day in stride. A little bit adds up to a lot.

I hope you find what motivates you! What inspires you! And most importantly, take even 20 minutes a day just for you! You are worth it!  

We look forward to being a part of your healthcare team.

From injury recovery to movement and performance enhancement, patient success is our passion. Our therapists are committed to the application of evidence-based treatment techniques to ensure you experience the best in rehabilitation and preventative care and see progress with every visit.

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