- 8 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Go For A Run When You Feel Like Doing Anything Else
- 1. Just Go.
- 2. Schedule Your Run Into Your Day Like It’s An Appointment You Can’t Miss.
- 3. Plan Around Your Workout.
- 4. Reward Yourself For Going.
- 5. Get Some Fun Workout Clothes.
- 6. Commit To A Running Group’s Weekly Run.
- 7. Download Some Motivational Music.
- 8. Remember: It’s Always Worth It.
- Warm up and stretch in the morning
- An antigravity treadmill helped me fix my running form
- How to Rekindle Your Running Motivation
- 1. Take small steps.
- 2. Climb slowly.
- 3. Follow a plan.
- 4. Believe in the power of positivity.
- 5. Plan a date.
- 6. Think of the pros.
- 7. Revel in the aftereffect.
- 8. Take notes.
- 9. Remind yourself of your strength.
- 10. Be patient.
- 11. Download a podcast.
- 12. Share your badassery.
- 13. Take a break when you need it.
- 8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Run
- Know Your Why
- Set a Goal
- Have a Plan
- Find a Friend
- Explore Your Surroundings
- Run for a Cause
- Create a Playlist
- You’re Worth It
- How to Keep Running When Motivation Fades
- Good Habits, Organization and Time Management
- Beat Your Excuses Not to Run
- Finding Motivation to Keep Running When Tired
- Finding the Best Training Plan for You
- Is Your Running Plan Working for You?
- RunnersConnect Master Extra
- 5 Tips for Motivation to Start Running
- Stop These 7 Excuses and Find the Motivation to Go Running Today
- Excuse #1 “I’m not motivated.”
- Excuse #2 “It’s too cold/hot/wet/windy.”
- Excuse #3 “I’m bad at running.”
- Excuse #4 “Running is boring.”
- Excuse #5 “I don’t have time.”
- Excuse #6 “I’m too tired.”
- Excuse #7 “I’m too stressed.”
- The Motivation For Taking Up Running
- Intrinsic or extrinsic perspectives whilst running
- Escape through running
- Improving mental alertness by running
- Looking good through running
- Running for the love of food!
- The running events
- The runner’s high
- Spiritual running motivation
- The social life of a runner
8 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Go For A Run When You Feel Like Doing Anything Else
It happens to the best of us. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a motivated newbie just trying to get started, there are plenty of days when you just don’t feel like doing anything, much less like going for that run. (Yes, it’s true: Runners don’t always feel like running!). Sometimes, life gets busy, the weather gets ugly, and the temptation to watch Netflix instead of lacing up and heading outside can be stronger than the will to work out.
If I learned anything from my days as a college rower (hello, 5 a.m. workouts in the freezing Maine rain!), it’s that sometimes, less thinking and more doing is the only way to go. Don’t sit around waiting for the moment when you feel like going for a run, because that moment may never come. The trick is to just go, even when you don’t feel like running.
Running out of excuses yet? (See what I did there?) Let’s not forget the many health benefits of running. And have I mentioned the emotional benefits of running? If these reasons aren’t motivating enough, then it’s time for some additional help.
Here are eight tried and tested tricks to motivate you to get out the door when you just don’t feel like going for a run.
1. Just Go.
This might seem like an obvious one — maybe even too obvious — but it’s that simple. Don’t give yourself a choice! Don’t let yourself think about the alternatives. Decide you’re going to run, commit to it, and practice drowning out any conflicting thoughts.
When I used to have to wake up at 5 a.m. to be on the water before sunrise, I came up with a life hack: I’d sleep in my workout clothes! When that alarm went off in the morning, I knew it was go time, no matter how dark or cold the morning was. There was no thinking, no deliberating, no considering how I felt – I just went. We all did. Each night, I’d set my alarm so I could sleep as long as possible while still allowing myself the seven minutes I needed to get up, use the bathroom, brush my teeth, grab a banana, and get out the door. Preparing the night before left little time for excuses. So don’t think, just go.
2. Schedule Your Run Into Your Day Like It’s An Appointment You Can’t Miss.
When life gets so busy that it feels like there isn’t time to workout (trust me — we’re all busy), look at your calendar for the week, find that one hour time slot you need (or even just 20 minutes!), and schedule it into your Google calendar or whatever e-calendar you are using these days. Unlike that annual teeth cleaning, you’ll be excited for this appointment. And like a consultation with your dentist, you may feel just the right amount of guilt if you skip out.
3. Plan Around Your Workout.
This goes hand-in-hand with tip number two! It’s easy to prioritize everything else — that dinner date, that movie you wanted to see, that happy hour you were planning to go to, that book you were going to finish… but what about that run you were planning to go for?! If not for your present self, do it for your future self who will look back and say, “Thank you for going on that run.”
The weeks come and go, but the feeling that comes after a good run stays with you for days. (Sure, your social calendar might hate this one, but that’s why you need some runner friends!)
4. Reward Yourself For Going.
We all have different ways of rewarding ourselves — maybe it’s splurging on a too-expensive juice, maybe it’s buying a few macaroons on your way home (just me? Ok then…), or maybe it’s letting yourself splurge on those sophisticated spandex you’ve been eying on your walk home from work. Maybe all it takes is an old-school sticker to keep you motivated (yeah, I said sticker — who misses stickers?!).
That said, reward yourself: Put a calendar on your fridge and stick a fun sticker on every day of the week that you run. Then look back at your month, and give yourself a pat on the back for all the stickers up there. That is your hard work (and dare I say, artwork?) displayed on the fridge. Create a system where a certain number of stickers per month earns you an even bigger reward! Regardless of what that “reward” is, give yourself a pat on the back because the best reward is that you’ve been good to your body, and your self.
5. Get Some Fun Workout Clothes.
It may seem silly, but there is something about wearing brand-spanking-new gear when we workout that makes us feel good doing it. If you bought some awesome new running tights, don’t you just want to wear them ASAP? Whether it’s a new pair of sneakers, a pretty sports bra, or just a loose fitting tank top that makes you feel powerful, put it on and take it for a test run (literally). Look good, feel good, run more.
6. Commit To A Running Group’s Weekly Run.
Sometimes, we need outside factors to make us feel accountable. Join a running group (or even a social group with a running problem!), commit to a weekly run, and turn working out into a social activity. Many running groups combine running with happy hour or brunch, so find the group that works for you! Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to your workouts — even if it’s mostly for the beers you’ll share with your new friends after the run.
7. Download Some Motivational Music.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling sluggish, the right song blasting in my room can really give me the push I need to get out the door. There are so many playlists out there these days. There are even some that use music to pace longer runs. Pick the playlist that works for you, and feel free to secretly star in your own motivational video while you’re running. Nobody needs to know it’s happening but you.
8. Remember: It’s Always Worth It.
It’s so hard to get out the door, but know that you will, without a doubt, feel like a better version of yourself when you walk back in the door after that run you almost didn’t do. This is a fact. If you’ve tried everything and nobody else’s tricks help you, it’s time for you to motivate yourself. Next time you go on a run, write down why you did it, how you felt afterwards, and if you’re glad you went. Do this every time you run. Then, on that day when you’re not sure you feel like going, pull out that list and read it to yourself. Then slowly put on the right music, slip into your favorite workout clothes, get those stickers ready, and block off the next hour… because it’s time to get moving.
Every run is for you, and nobody else. It is the reward. Remember that.
Images: Pexels (9)
Snow. Ice. Freezing wind. The winter months can be the bane of anyone with a regular running routine. Even with the warmest winter gear, getting outside in freezing temperatures often comes down to one thing: motivation, according to four-time Olympian and marathoner Meb Keflezighi.
Whether you’re an elite, intermediate or novice runner, your biggest motivation to get out and exercise should be your health, says Keflezighi, winner of the 2009 New York City and 2014 Boston marathons. Runners tend to lose their conditioning and gain weight when they shut themselves indoors, he says.
“When you’re not running, you’re not going to have a good diet. It goes hand in hand,” Keflezighi tells NBC News BETTER.
Keflezighi, who resides in San Diego, lived periodically in the mountains of Mammoth Lakes, California for nearly a decade, where he trained regularly in the cold and snow. Here’s his advice on how to stick to your running routine through the cold months.
Warm up and stretch in the morning
A simple way to motivate yourself to get out and run in the cold is to wake up early, have a light snack with a cup of hot tea or coffee, and stretch or use a foam roller, says Keflezighi. This will warm up your body and get you in the mood to run.
“Those are good things to wake up the muscles,” says Keflezighi. “Just give it a half hour, or set the alarm a half hour before you think you’re going to go out.”
An antigravity treadmill helped me fix my running form
Jan. 12, 201803:41
Join a local running group
If you need extra motivation, Keflezighi says planning regular runs with friends or joining a local running group will push you to get outside.
“That can be your accountability and give you a routine,” he says.
Keflezighi says many running shops organize meet ups for runners in their areas. Social media is also a great way to find local running groups in your community.
If you’re new to running, don’t be shy about reaching out to these groups, says Keflezighi.
“Runners are typically very friendly,” he says.
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Sign up for a race
Another great way for runners to keep up their training in the cold months is to sign up for races throughout the winter and spring, says Keflezighi. He says having a race to train for will give you extra motivation to get out the door.
“You want to do the best that you can, and you’re not going to wait until the last week before , so that kind of keeps you a goal-oriented person,” he says.
Whether your goal is to complete a 5K, 10K, half marathon or even a marathon, you can find plenty of upcoming races in your community by searching online. You can even download apps on your phone like the New York Road Runners Virtual Racing series where you can participate in virtual races.
If you’re new to running, Keflezighi says to avoid longer races like half marathons, which can lead to muscle strains and other injuries for novices.
Have a plan
Keflezighi, 43, has competed in 26 marathons and has trained in all kinds of weather. His book “26 Marathons: What I’ve Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life From Each Marathon I’ve Run” will be released in March 2019. Experience has taught the champion one thing about running outdoors: Always be prepared for what Mother Nature throws you.
Having a plan gives you a sense of accountability and will keep you motivated, says Keflezighi, but he says to be flexible. Be sure to check tomorrow’s weather before you go to bed, he says, so you know what to expect.
But keep in mind that no matter how much you plan, the weather doesn’t always do what the forecasters predict, he says, which means you need more than just one plan.
Always have a plan A, B and C for the next day’s routine, says the champion runner.
- Plan A: Run three miles outside after work
- Plan B: Interval training on the treadmill after work
- Plan C: Strength training at home after work
If you have to scratch plan A because it’s too icy to run outside, you can opt for plan B. If you ditch both A and B because you can’t get to the gym due to a blizzard, you have plan C to fall back on.
“Don’t be so firm on your training or your racing that you can’t have other options,” says Keflezighi.
If the weather is too dangerous to run outdoors or drive to the gym, it’s perfectly okay to sleep in or spend the day binge watching Netflix, he says. Taking one day off your training won’t hurt your conditioning, he insists, and can give your body the extra time it needs to recover from your last workout.
“I’d rather take the day off or do the treadmill than risk falling ,” Keflezighi says. “It’s not really worth it, because the most important thing is to get healthy or to reach your goal. If you fall, you jeopardize your whole season or your whole year.”
How to get motivated to run in the cold:
- Implement a morning a routine. Wake up early, have a hot cup or coffee or tea, eat a light snack and stretch. This will warm you up and get you in the mood to run.
- Don’t go it alone. Join a local running group and/or sign up for one or more upcoming races. Doing this will give you a sense of accountability.
- Have a flexible plan. Check what the weather will be like tomorrow before you go to bed and adjust your routine accordingly. Since the weather is often unpredictable, make sure your plan is flexible. Having a plan A, B and C will ensure you stick to your routine despite Mother Nature’s whims.
- Know that it’s okay to take a day off. If the weather is too dangerous, it’s smarter to sit it out than risk injury.
MORE RUNNING ADVICE
- What you need to know before running outdoors
- Scared to run alone? Women runners share their best safety tips
- The right way to train for a marathon (from someone who learned the hard way)
- How strength training can prevent running injuries
- I tried the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill to fix my running form
Want more tips like these? NBC News BETTER is obsessed with finding easier, healthier and smarter ways to live. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Meet our newest blogger, Run Eat Repeat, and find out how she gets out of the door to run.
We all have those days when we wake up and feel sluggish or unmotivated to exercise. It’s okay. It’s normal. It’s also frustrating—especially when you’re trying to hit a certain goal.
Here are four tips to get yourself up and out of the door. You’ll be back at home enjoying a post run treat in no time!
Make it a play date. Plan to meet up with a friend for a run. This way you won’t just be bailing on yourself if you want to skip it— your friend is counting on you. Then you’ll get lost in the convo and before you know it, the run will be over.
Get down with the jams! Get some new fun music that makes you want to MOVE. There are just certain songs that come on and you can’t sit still. Load up your iPod or phone with those tracks and get moving…out the door.
Related: May Playlist
Bonus tip: Play your favorite song while you get ready to run! This always puts an extra pep in my step as I dance around while looking for my running watch.
Treat yourself. Some people are super against rewarding yourself with food. But my name isn’t “Run EAT Repeat” for nothing! I’m okay with a reasonable indulgence for a job well done.
This can be anything from a post-run coffee to a pedicure after a long run. Treat yo’ self!
Be strong. Sometimes everything in our heads and our lives seems to be fighting against us getting in a good run. We’re too busy, tired, stressed, hungry or sad. Life can be hectic and the easiest thing to push aside is exercise.
But running is good for your body and your mind. The days when everything seems to be going against getting in a workout are probably when you need to run the most.
Be strong and just do it. Work with the time you have. Squeeze in a 30 minute run or whatever you can. You’ll feel much better after you crossed that off your “to do” list, got your heart pumping and did something healthy for you.
Question: How do you motivate yourself to run? Tweet @RunEatRepeat and @WomensRunning and tell us!
How to Rekindle Your Running Motivation
Photo: Jakob Helbig / Getty Images
Running tends to go two ways for me: I feel like I can run for 100 miles (even if I typically stop short of 10) or my legs feel like big bricks and my mind has to mentally carry them every. single. step. Lately, my runs have only been the latter-and I don’t think I’m the only one. Lots of people share their struggles on social media about difficult long runs or the every-a.m. battle of choosing sneakers over bed sheets. (Is that one of the 13 signs you’re officially a runner?)
Whether you’re a seasoned runner training for a marathon or you’re fresh to the mileage scene, you’ll always have days (maybe even weeks) when just getting started feels harder than climbing Everest. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up and put the kibosh on running a mile nonstop, finishing your first 26.2, or whatever your run goal may be. All you have to do is heed this advice from two top run coaches-who, BTW, also lose their running motivation sometimes-and find the power to just keep on going.
1. Take small steps.
First things first: If you’re a running newbie, don’t be afraid to start super slow in both pace and distance. It’s a smart idea to start with a walk-run-walk method, suggests Christy Vachal, a run coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City. Run for two minutes, then walk for one, until you work your way up to 30 minutes. “Be realistic with your goals, but also challenge yourself to push outside of that comfort zone,” says Vachal. (Example: Try this treadmill workout from Mile High Run Club.)
2. Climb slowly.
Don’t try to kick your mileage up from a half-mile to three in just two weeks. You’ll get burned out quickly, which will really deter you from getting back on the road. “The biggest mistake is trying to do too much, too soon-too fast a pace, too many miles, too intense,” says Gordon Bakoulis, New York Road Runner editorial director and run coach. “This will not only quash your motivation, it will also greatly increase your risk of getting an injury, which, of course, will force you to take time off and start all over again once you recover.” (Here’s how to prevent the most common running injuries.)
Use the talk test to make sure you’re not overdoing it-that means you should be able to have a conversation while running. If you can’t speak, slow it down. “If you can’t breathe and are struggling with every step to maintain a running pace, that is not going to be fun or enjoyable and you’ll lose motivation to continue,” says Bakoulis. As the memes say: You’re going faster than the people on the couch.
3. Follow a plan.
Even if you’re not signed up for a race, Vachal recommends following a training plan. It’ll help you stay on track. “Just don’t fret if you have to miss a run or you feel burnt out,” she says. “I tell my runners that training plans are used as a guideline, not an ultimatum. Push to hit each mark, but know life can get in the way, so don’t beat yourself up over missing a few runs, especially if you’re a beginner.”
4. Believe in the power of positivity.
“The most motivating thing you can do when beginning a running program is to surround yourself with positivity-from within and from the outside,” says Bakoulis. “Love yourself for what you are doing-even if you haven’t taken a single step. It’s very hard to even shift your mindset from sedentary person to aspiring runner, so give yourself credit for making that mental shift.” It’s the little successes that lead to major payoffs. (Marathoner and body-pos activist Candice Huffine has more mental running tips that’ll help you out.)
5. Plan a date.
Find someone who will be your run buddy-even if you have to meet them halfway through your run-then get a coffee (or beer!) after to celebrate your miles, says Vachal. It’ll give you something to look forward to, someone to hold you accountable, plus you’ll have a good catch-up sesh to pull you through bouts of achy muscles or heavy breathing. (Here are more tips on how to run and race with a friend.)
6. Think of the pros.
“We all struggle with motivation. No one-not even Olympic champions and world record-holders-feels motivated for every single run,” says Bakoulis. “Reminding myself of that and giving myself permission to feel unmotivated sometimes does the trick to get me out the door. I’ll actually say, ‘Shalane Flanagan has her ugh days too, it’s okay!'” (Don’t believe it? Just read what she was thinking during the 2018 Boston Marathon.)
7. Revel in the aftereffect.
Not many people regret actually going for a run. So despite how hard it might feel to get started, you’ll feel like a rock star afterward-and you should often remind yourself of that. “I ask myself, ‘how will you feel at bedtime tonight if you don’t run today,” says Bakoulis. “The answer is, ‘I’ll feel like I should have run.’ When I do, I make sure to give myself a little pat on the back at bedtime, because I did find that motivation.”
8. Take notes.
Vachal keeps a running journal to track how each of her runs went and how great she felt afterward. “Going back to those written notes and reminding yourself of that feeling can be the push you need to get out the door,” she says. It’s also a good idea to write down your goals in the same spot. That way, they’re top of mind when you’re feeling not-so-inspired to chase them.
9. Remind yourself of your strength.
“You can do hard things” is Vachal’s favorite mantra. Not every run is going to be easy-some might seriously suck-but then others will make you feel like you’re the toughest woman on earth. “We are all stronger than we think and just sticking to positive thoughts and pushing out negative energy can make you go that extra half-mile, and leave you feeling strong and empowered,” she says.
10. Be patient.
If only you could see progress overnight, you’d probably wake up sprinting out of bed. But alas, getting more comfortable with running (and running farther and faster) takes time. “You have to respect the process,” says Vachal. “Remember you don’t have to be a fast runner or run multiple marathons a year to consider yourself a ‘runner,’ so don’t compare yourself to others. Just focus on how running can improve your happiness.”
11. Download a podcast.
When you need to zone out and tune into something other than your thoughts of aches, pains, and fantasies of finishing, cue up a podcast. Vachal prefers true crime podcasts to keep her attention on the mystery. (Seriously-it’s a strategy marathoners use to power through long runs.)
Post both a before and after shot of your run on social media, suggests Vachal. The pre-sweat pic will help ensure you’ll actually go for the run, then the post-run selfie will provide the proof-and possibly some cheers. “The encouragement and feedback from friends helps boost your confidence and can also motivate others to get out the door and get their run done,” she says. Might as well empower the people while succeeding yourself.
13. Take a break when you need it.
Occasionally, you might require some time off from running, especially if you’re overtraining-and it’s 100 percent okay to skip a run when you need to. Bakoulis says to check your training log when you’re feeling particularly tired. You might realize a day or two of recharging was all you needed to regain your motivation to take the streets. (See: This Influencer Wants You to Know It *Is* Possible to Regret a Workout)
- By By Mallory Creveling
8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Run
Thinking about running? You don’t have to be a born runner or athlete to get started. Running is a relatively inexpensive sport—all you need to get started is a shirt, shorts and a good pair of shoes. Whether you want to run on a treadmill, outdoor track, road or trail, here are eight ways to get you moving from couch to pavement in no time.
Know Your Why
If you don’t know why you want to start running, you are likely to quit before you ever reap the benefits. Whether you want to lose weight, run a race, reduce your stress or have some other reason in mind, running can have a positive effect on your physical and mental health and enhance your overall healthy lifestyle. Know your reason and remember it every time you lace up those running shoes.
Set a Goal
Now that you have established your “why,” setting a goal will help keep you motivated. A measurable goal that you can track and be accountable for can get you where you want to be. Make your goal clear, well defined and attainable within a specific time-frame so you can celebrate your achievement once it’s met.
Have a Plan
If you are new to running, don’t make the mistake of going from zero to a 5K in a few weeks. Follow a training plan that provides you a systematic approach to move from walking to running, helping you to train safely and, more importantly, stay injury-free. Apps like Couch to 5K or seeking out a personal trainer or running coach can provide you with a step-by-step plan to help you get better at moving one foot in front of the other.
Find a Friend
Most things are more enjoyable when you have someone to share them with. Check with your fitness gym or local running store for a running club to join. Running clubs are open to all levels of runners and can offer motivation and support to keep going. Of course, don’t forget to invite your biggest fans and supporters for a fun run around town.
Explore Your Surroundings
While the treadmill at the gym or your neighborhood are good places to start running, exploring outdoor surroundings can add a whole new and exciting experience to your running workout. Check with your city’s parks and recreation department and state parks for paved walking and bike trails, along with local school districts that have outdoor tracks.
Run for a Cause
While running a race may not be one of your goals, signing up for a race is a great way to connect with like-minded people in the running community and with those who care about causes that are important to you. Choosing an organization that speaks to you and your heart might be one of the most motivating reasons to run.
National organizations such as the American Heart Association and Alzheimer’s Association have local events in many cities, and you will likely find many other events that support local service organizations such as your local food pantry and homeless shelters.
Create a Playlist
Listening to music while exercising has been found to increase a sense of motivation and boost your exercise intensity. Create a playlist from your own music library, use a streaming service such as Songza or Pandora, or download the popular Rock My Run app to listen to a variety of music genres that match your steps or goal cadence to help you hit the road and connect to the ground beneath.
You’re Worth It
The most motivating reason to get started running is simply because you are worth it. Running can boost your self-confidence and, with each step forward, you’ll experience physical, mental and emotional benefits that lead to a healthier and happier life.
How to Keep Running When Motivation Fades
You start your new running program with good intentions and high expectations.
It’s exciting and you feel really motivated.
Who needs motivation to run in the morning?
You almost jump out of bed when the alarm goes, this feels great!
Then somewhere along the line, life (or an injury) gets in the way and things start to slide.
That ‘five runs a week/sub three marathon training schedule’ turns into ‘one run at a weekend if you’re lucky’ reality.
Disappointment and frustration sets in, your self confidence takes a knock and you begin to wonder if you’re cut out for running at all.
Then read on for some tips on how to motivate yourself to run and overcome the classic mistakes new (and more experienced runners) make once the initial excitement for running fades away, and you need all the running motivation you can get.
Good Habits, Organization and Time Management
Rather than throwing lots of “you got this” quotes or other motivational running quotes at you, how about we focus on what you can do to make running a little easier to stick with.
I have organized a beginners running group in the UK for nearly 15 years.
We have two sessions per week and runners pay a small fee to attend.
Of course they could run on their own, or find a time that might suit them better or even run for free.
But they don’t. They come to the group.
Because there’s a set time when it’s happening.
That creates a commitment and a schedule and makes it easier to turn up and get it done.
When it’s cold, dark and wet, it would be tempting to curl up on the couch… but when there’s a group waiting for you and it’s part of your schedule, you’ll get your running clothes on (dressed for the right temperature of course) and make the appointment.
It’s pretty simple really.
Of course there are a million other benefits to my group; great coaching and social interaction, friendship and supervised and structured running.
But I’m pretty sure the number one reason it’s so successful is because there is an organized group run with a start time.
It makes it an appointment which you don’t want to miss.
The same goes for with running with a friend.
Make a set appointment with a running buddy and you’ll be far more likely to turn up.
I know this for a fact.
When I agree to meet my best friend for a run at 7am I know it’ll happen.
We’ll both be there, a bit bleary eyed, but it’ll happen.
When I say to myself ‘I’ll go for a run at 7am tomorrow’… suddenly the dishwasher needs emptying, or some emails need to be answered, and before I know it, it’s 8.30am and the ‘window of opportunity’ to run has disappeared.
So if you run on your own and you find it hard to get out of the door, then try joining a group or finding a regular running partner.
It’s a really simple strategy but it works.
How do I stay motivated to run?
For a start, don’t rely on ‘motivation’ alone.
I’d argue that this thing we call ‘motivation’.. or lack of it.
Is actually just a lack of organization.
We all have good intentions, but life just gets in the way.
Instead of beating yourself up about ‘lacking motivation’… perhaps the question to ask yourself instead is ‘how can I get more organized and make it easier for running to happen?’
Running is so much easier in the holidays isn’t it?
When we have more time in the day and we don’t have to go to work, it’s easy to find the time to run.
It’s when we have to juggle work, school runs, family and commuting, cooking and housework – the window of time to run gets squeezed out.
And this is where you need to get creative with your time and become a time management ninja.
In my house, we organize our weekends with military precision.
If we didn’t, I wouldn’t get to run.
It means planning ahead, going to bed early and making use of every ‘opportunity’ to get a run in.
Left the car at the station?
Run there and pick it up.
Got a long run to do?
Politely decline that dinner party invite (sorry, boring I know) so you can get up early to run.
Kids playing in a sports match?
Take your running clothes and head out for a run at the same time.
It’s not easy, but with the busy lives we all lead, it’s often the only way to make it happen.
Develop all the strategies you need to put it into place in your life.
Think through your obstacles and coach yourself to finding some solutions.
Beat Your Excuses Not to Run
That brings me nicely onto the subject of barriers.
Otherwise known as excuses. These are the things that prevent us doing things we want to do.
Or so we think.
Some barriers are real, such as a sick child or relative who needs to be cared for, or illness or serious injury, or a work deadline, but most are perceived, ‘I’m busy at work, I don’t’ have time, I’m too tired’.
We all have barriers, it’s how we deal with them that matters.
Regular readers will be familiar with my love of the concept of ‘Growth Mindset’ coined by Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck.
The Growth Mindset is all about finding solutions to problems, and seeing problems as simply as obstacles, rather than barriers.
Just a challenge to overcome.
Lets take a few examples and how applying the growth mindset can help:
Of course these are just a few simple examples, but try to think about your own excuses and ask yourself if they really are barriers or are they actually just obstacles?
More importantly, what solutions can you find to overcome them?
Sometimes it just requires a bit of creative thinking.
It’s important to recognize that there will be times when it might get really tough.
When you have some big deadlines at work for example.
During those times, just do what you can, tick over and allow your running to ebb and flow with your lifestyle.
Hopefully those really crazy patches will be short lived.
If not, maybe time to change your job.
Finding Motivation to Keep Running When Tired
Training Pace is one of my soapbox topics, and one of the main reasons I believe so many beginners give up early on in the game.
Most beginner runners (and I’ve been coaching them for nearly 20 years) start out trying to run too fast.
They think running has to be hard and often have little ability to pace themselves, which only comes with experience and practice.
If your brain associates exercise with pain and discomfort every time you train, it’ll be harder to stay motivated.
Initially you might be driven and can push on through the pain, but eventually you’ll give up.
Here’s the deal:
The single biggest mistake new runners make is to think that running has to be hard to be of benefit.
Of course it’s going to feel tough to begin with, but not so much that you’re in agony for days or totally exhausted.
It takes time to get fit and you have to build up slowly.
Everyone is different and will progress at different rates, and your body needs to build a solid fitness base, which can only be done if you run at an easy pace for up to 80% of your running.
My mantra for beginners is at that if at the end of your run you think, ‘ok, so I know I’ve done something, but I’m not exhausted and could easily do more’, then you’ve hit the nail on the head.
Keep the pace nice and easy (5/10 on an effort scale) for the majority of your training and you’ll be far more likely to stick with it in the long term.
Scientifically you’ll be training the right heart rate zone too (around 70% of your maximum).
And as for that fancy GPS watch that tells you how fast (or depressingly slowly) you’re running… switch the setting to heartrate instead (which will help you run at the right pace).
Or better still:
Leave it at home and run with an old school stopwatch and train by ‘time’ rather than distance.
Running easy most of the time (where it feels comfortable and you can chat easily) will mean running will be far more enjoyable.
Your brain will associate it with pleasure and you’ll keep doing it.
My only ambition is to still be running when I’m a really old lady.
And if you share that goal with me, you need to develop a deep love of running too.
One where it’s part of your life and soul, and not all about PB’s, races and hard training.
Running needs to become who you are.
So don’t beat yourself up, push a pace that’s too quick for you or think running has to be hard all the time.
Running harder does not equal faster (and you put yourself on the verge of injury or overtraining)
Give yourself a bit of a break and enjoy it instead.
Finding the Best Training Plan for You
Another one of my pet hates is cookie cutter online training plans.
Many of the plans found on the web are too hard for most people, and don’t take into account the many variables that impact training, such as your training history, ability to progress, current fitness level, other lifestyle stress, training load tolerance or injury history.
What generally happens is that runners try to follow a plan to the letter, then they either get injured/find it’s totally unrealistic/or get overtrained or sick.
The training plan (and self confidence) eventually ends up in the trash when reality kicks in.
The intention is great, but you have to make it realistic for you, your life and your goals.
This is where our marathon training programs or half marathon training plans are the only online running plans that are based on your invididual circumstances, and we will tweak your training plan to match the curveballs that life throws your way.
To be effective, a plan has to be realistic, work for your schedule and be progressive but safe.
If you are not quite ready to jump in to having an online coach, consider our free 9 part marathon training schedule video series, where we give you the tools you need to tweak your own training.
Err on the side of caution too.
Better to do a little less running, and more neuromuscular fitness training, but with more consistency and frequency to improve your pace.
For complete beginners, I generally suggest no more than 3 runs per week, but include lots of walking as well and some strength and conditioning work (2 x per week for 20-30 mins).
Do that for 4-6 months before adding a 4th run.
That helps you progress safely and sensibly and keeps it fun and varied.
Is Your Running Plan Working for You?
How you measure success can be a deal breaker for your ability to maintain a running habit.
If you only measure success by your pace, times, race PB’s, podium places and total mileage, then when those things start to slide (and eventually they will), you’ll find yourself unmotivated and struggling to find a reason to run.
Instead, try to think about measuring the success of your running in other ways.
How about any of these?
The friendships you have through running, the scenery you enjoy, the company of your dog or your partner on your long runs, combating stress, benefits for your health, enjoying the freedom of fresh air and being at one with nature…and most importantly for me, completing a run without any aches or pains.
Too many of us focus only on outcome measures (time, performance, race goals, pace etc) when in fact there are hundreds of less tangible, but probably more important, ways to measure success in running.
Focus on those measures instead and see what happens to your motivation.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself with a deeply embedded and lifelong love of running.
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5 Tips for Motivation to Start Running
It should be easy to start running for fitness. After all, it’s something you’ve done since you were a little kid, and you already have the most important equipment: a working pair of legs. But somehow, for many of us, the call of the open road or that scenic trail through the local park inevitably gets shouted down by the open refrigerator or a scenic documentary on TV.
Fear not — we’re here to offer you five wise ways to not only start a running routine, but to stick with it as well.
For initial inspiration, regular aerobic activity reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, osteoporosis and other serious illness. Plus, every mile you run burns 100 calories, and every step you take helps leave the stress of the office behind .
Combine all that with the knowledge that running is a relatively cheap pursuit that you can do on your own time and at your own pace, and the joys of jogging become even clearer. Still not convinced? Then read on, and you should be pounding the pavement after a few quick clicks.
Stop These 7 Excuses and Find the Motivation to Go Running Today
by Kate Sutton, Global Brand Running Trainee
What is the difference between the person that we want to be and the person that we are right now? Excuses. Every day I can find a reason not to do something under the pretense of having a real, legitimate justification. We’ve all found ourselves trying to duck out of a planned run, but here’s why you should leave the following excuses behind if you want to gain back your motivation to go running:
Excuse #1 “I’m not motivated.”
This is probably the root of all the excuses on this page. Getting motivated is a matter of deciding what motivates you and holding yourself accountable to your goals. If self-betterment is your driver for pounding the pavement, but you struggle with disciplining yourself, put together a training plan — either yourself or use a platform to do it for you. Sharing it with friends or fellow runners online can really keep you on track to achieve your targets. You can go one step further and keep yourself accountable to others by committing to run with a friend or by joining a running community. If you skip a run, it’s not only yourself that you’re letting down. Another option would be to run for the betterment of others — thousands of people every year are motivated to raise funds for charities or groups, and this greater purpose keeps them committed to their race training.
Need some extra motivation? Be part of our new challenge in the adidas Running app!
Excuse #2 “It’s too cold/hot/wet/windy.”
In today’s technological era, it would be a mistake to think that running apparel is anywhere but leading the race. Make it easy to track down every piece of your running gear, regardless of what it looks like when you open the curtains. If you fear that the volatile conditions outside could bankrupt you, advances in this market mean that you can find pieces at every price point, as well as investing in pieces that adapt to the environment around you – meaning that one outfit can work whatever the weather.
Excuse #3 “I’m bad at running.”
No human being can claim that they are inherently “bad at running.” Humans have evolved into a species that is more capable than almost any other mammal when it comes to distance running. If you can cool yourself through sweating, if you have a plantar arch with a spring-like capacity function, and a big toe that aligns with the others on your foot, then you are biologically designed to thrive at distance running. So, really anyone can start running. Running training can also be helpful for beginners to learn the right technique. More importantly, how are you ever going to get better at running if you don’t practice?
Excuse #4 “Running is boring.”
My parents used to tell me that “only boring people get bored,” and although I still maintain that this is an unfair blanket statement, it’s easy to get creative with running. What about the runners that raced the London Underground (and won)? What about the runners who surround themselves with DJs and clouds of colored paint? What about the runners of the Marathon de Medoc who stop at 23 drinking stations along the way? What about the runners in pursuit of apocalyptic survival against flesh-eating zombies? Try telling these runners that what they do is boring.
Excuse #5 “I don’t have time.”
You do have time. Even setting aside just twenty minutes to go out and run every other day will enable you to reap the rewards of running. You definitely have time.
Excuse #6 “I’m too tired.”
You might believe that each morning everyone is issued a finite amount of energy — but this is far from the reality. The backwards logic is actually true for running — in expending energy, you can actually find additional fuel reserves (more energy!) through the release of endorphins in the brain. The side effects of running also include better sleep, which increases your energy levels throughout the day. This leads to being able to harness your energy more efficiently, leaving you feeling more invigorated as a result.
Excuse #7 “I’m too stressed.”
There is plenty of evidence to show how running improves mental health,(1) so let each step you take maximize your mindfulness. Learn to enjoy the journey and not just the finish line.
We asked our users to share their most common excuses, do any of them look familiar to you?
About Kate Sutton:
Kate Sutton is an athlete who believes that running and sports have really helped shape the woman she is today. Running gave her an edge for field hockey growing up, and she even went on to compete in cross-country and track. She definitely feels her success in sports helped facilitate and support other endeavors in her life.
The Motivation For Taking Up Running
Running Inspiration & Motivation
What’s your running motivation? Here’s a great list of reasons why people love to run, and why you should too.
What’s your running motivation? Here’s a great list of reasons why people love to run, and why you should too.
Intrinsic or extrinsic perspectives whilst running
At a basic level, the motives for running can be viewed from an intrinsic and extrinsic perspective. A person with an intrinsic motivation to run might gain satisfaction from running around a local scenic route on a calm, sunny day. An extrinsic person might run the same route with the ultimate goal of winning their age group in an upcoming local race.
For the intrinsic people there is a basic joy inherent in the simple act of running. Running can invigorate one’s sensory faculties through seeing the natural landscape, feeling the cool wind on your skin, hearing the rustle of the trees or feeling the contours of the changing terrain beneath your feet. The extrinsic people are often drawn to the challenge of running where they are responsible for setting and achieving their goals. Many people of course are a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic running mindsets.
Escape through running
Running can be motivated by a need to escape from the pressures of everyday life. It is not uncommon to feel a weight lift off of the runner’s shoulders as frustrations, stress and burdens are left behind. Running can also create much needed mind space where new ideas can flow freely, and older, established ones can take on new light.
Improving mental alertness by running
Running during a lunch break cannot only provide physical benefits but also enhances mental alertness. Just give it a try and go for a run during your lunch break and see what your productivity and mental alertness is like during the afternoon.
Looking good through running
There are those that are motivated to run by the opportunity to wear the very latest sporting gear and footwear. The world’s leading running companies do a great job in supplying a myriad of styles, fabrics, soles and assorted paraphernalia to go running in. Of course, you’ll only actually look good in them if you put the work in to get in shape.
Running for the love of food!
Running can be used to justify our consumption of great tasting foods like chocolate, and beer. Running triggers the production of aerobic enzymes that stimulate our appetite and makes food taste so good. The increased metabolism induced by the physical demands of running allows those who indulge in it to eat more generously in portion as well.
The running events
Running can be motivated by the physical challenge of having a go at new events and training runs. There are plenty of running events out there, from short races such as a 5k up to the marathon distance and beyond. You surely need to put at least one major marathon on your bucket list.
The runner’s high
The release of endorphins after running is widely acknowledged as a strong motivation to run. This ‘runner high’ is a powerful and satisfying mental state often experienced by the runner at the end of a memorable training run or race. This feeling is a mixture of elation, fatigue and satisfaction.
Spiritual running motivation
At a metaphysical level, some claim running can be motivated spiritually. Sri Chinmoy is the proclaimed leader of a spiritual ideology that uses meditation as a source of inner strength and immense spiritual power. By tapping into the inner joy and peace from meditation, the capacity to run is greatly inspired and energised. Sri Chinmoy followers talk of the enriching experience of self-discovery and inner growth to be gained from the personal challenge of running.
Running is sociable. Or it can be if you run for a club or enter races. It gives you the chance to mix with like-minded individuals and meet new people. It is no coincidence that runners flock to the major city marathons around the world to collectively share in the ultimate of running experiences. This extends to an unspoken understanding and mutual respect of the effort and commitment required to train for running.
People find a wide range of reasoning and benefits for their involvement in running. However, perhaps the greatest motivation is the personal growth and life changing experiences that running is able to give you. Whatever your motivation, enjoy your running.