How to Get and Stay Motivated to Run
Staying motivated to run can be tricky. It is important to find motivation in whatever you do, and running is no different.
If it feels like motivation has gone missing, there are some ideas that may help bring it back:
Run on Mondays
Beginning the week with a run sets a pattern for the rest of the week, so that starting out each weekday becomes more regular and easier to maintain.
It is important to find motivation in whatever you do, and running is no different.
If you head out for a run on Monday morning, it will motivate you to get the rest in as you've already got one run in (on a Monday, no less).
Feeling like you've accomplished something before the end of your first day of running could help motivate you to continue through the rest of the days and weeks.
Start Your Own Running Tradition
Picking one race to do every year, either on your own, with friends or fellow runners will provide the motivation to train for it and stay committed.
Once you're in and doing it, your motivation to train and take part will push you to try to keep the streak going, even when you don't necessarily feel like it.
In the same vein, put your money where your mouth is and sign up for a race - sticking your neck on the line and publicly committing to something is usually an excellent motivator, whether it's because it's tickled your competitive muscle or you're simply looking to do something nice for others - it doesn't really matter... you're in it!
Make it a habit
Put systems in place to ensure that you are run-ready at a moments notice (or at least, ready to go first thing in the morning or as soon as you leave work or whenever else fits into your schedule).
Depending on what works for you, make sure you are prepared; Hang or lay out your running kit somewhere you cannot miss it first thing in the morning, or alternatively, pack the same kit in a bag to keep either in your car or by your desk at work.
It takes a little bit of the pressure off, not having to think about putting an outfit together or panicking about where your running shoes are... you already know and you are ready for it!
One of the ways to maintain motivation is through mental training.
Remind yourself of how it feels/would feel to achieve your running goals, ie. crossing the finish line at a race. or beating your own PB.
Picture yourself completing the run/race with ease, streaking past your competition... Maybe you're the first person to run through the ribbon at the end of the race?
What does that look like for YOU?
Focus on how you FEEL throughout - the link between the brain and the body is a funny thing; they can be tricked into thinking you have already smashed your goal - your brain "sees" it as if it's a foregone conclusion and allows your body to be pushed just that little bit further...
Become a Running Mentor
We all remember the moment the realisation hit that running was to be our thing, right?
Then, the subsequent "honeymoon" period, where we couldn't get enough and we'd be out at all hours and in all the weathers because we LOVED it?
Imagine being able to experience that again by taking another newbie runner under your wing?
Having a front row seat to someone else's joy and excitement is all the motivation you'll ever need!
If you know someone who is always talking about wanting to start running, but never does anything about it, offer your help.
Provide them with basic knowledge of appropriate kit and training, try to answer any questions they may have and most importantly, encourage them to keep going.
Seeing your sport through the eyes of someone who's only just starting out is bound to have a positive effect on you as well.
Initially, you may not feel as challenged as you'd like BUT we promised you it'll be worth it in the end.
Work with a professional
Struggling with your running? Seek out an expert for advice and guidance.
There is nothing more frustrating than knowing you are capable of more and yet, for whatever reason, you just cannot get there...
Rather than banging your head again the same brick wall, try reaching out to a trainer or coach who should be able to help you pinpoint the issue, reassess and allow you to get back to what you love: Running.
Take a Breather
It is important to take breaks when training in order to maintain motivation and prevent injuries.
Order to run more effectively and consistently, you need to make sure to include recovery days into your training schedule - not just for the sake of your motivation but also to help prevent injury.
Consider adding a rest day or even a "recovery week" into your running schedule as a way keeping on track and staying motivated.
Don't forget to to include cross-training in your regular schedule to minimise the risk of burn-out from running every day.
It doesn't have to be strenuous or long-winded; just a li'l somethin' to keep everything in check.
Join the Tech Troupe
Keeping a training log is a fantastic way to track your progress and stay motivated - if data and gadgets are your thing, try a GPS watch or app that can help you gauge the distance of your runs.
Newer fitness trackers and apps allow you to make journal entries, log mileage, and annotate the date.
It can also be helpful to keep a track of how your runs affect your state-of-mind and vice versa - a bit of a reality check of how far you've come, letting you see what you've accomplished and helping you set new goals.
Switch it up
To prevent boredom and burn-out and maintain motivation, try changing up your workout schedule. This could be changing up running routes with a change of scenery or adding speed intervals or hill repeats.
Or maybe you could join a running club?
Feeling like you are part of something could help keep motivation high - the chance of meeting new people with whom you share an interest (some might even call it a lifestyle) is always a bonus!
Get in your own head
Along the same lines as visualising yourself achieving your goals, be sure to make these same goals visible IRL.
Place little reminders of what you are looking to achieve around your home, your desk - anywhere you are likely to see multiple times throughout your day(s).
These could include:
- Alerts on all your devices to remind you of what you are capable of.
- Make your favourite race-win photo the background on your phone/ screen saver on your desktop.
- Place motivational running quotes in prominent places, etc.
Set clear achievable goals
Set clear goals for your runs; this doesn't have to be the full Monty or even a half-marathon - it could just be setting a running streak or weekly/monthly mileage goal.
Determining a goal for every run can help you stay motivated to keep going.
Goals can be anything from "Run the length of my route" to "Smile at everyone I pass by" or even "Do three sprint intervals.
Find motivation in the successes as well. Post race medals or photos to keep your accomplishments around you.
Find Motivation in Health
Many fitness goals will focus on the way you look...
The next time you need some extra motivation, take a look at the health (both physical and mental) benefits you get from running.
On top of keeping all your vitals in check, ie blood pressure, heart rate, weight, etc. to show your progress, consider how your energy has exponentially increased and how you have found an effective stress reliever in the process.
The mental wellbeing benefits you get from running are just as valid indicators of how you are doing and they should never be underestimated.
Running as "Me Time"?
Regardless of whether you run with a partner, running is an excuse to devote time to yourself and your needs...
It may be a short break from life's responsibilities, however, we all deserve that time to check in (with ourselves) and out (of everyone else's "stuff"), even if just for a short while.
As they say: "You cannot pour from an empty cup"!
Reward Yourself to help stay motivated to run
Without sounding like complete enablers, when you hit a bigger goal; treat yo'self!
This doesn't have to be anything extravagant but does have to be something that puts you in a good mood and puts an extra-wide smile on your face.
Maybe book yourself in for a massage (which can, of course, be passed off as injury prevention ;)) or get some new running gear, perhaps?
An energizing treat will help keep your mind fresh and committed to training.
The benefits of running are so great that it's worth the effort to make it a part of your life.
Whether you want to start training for a marathon or just get healthier, these tips will help you reach any goal.
We hope this article has been helpful in answering some questions about how to stay motivated and increase your chances for success with running.
Remember, every single person who runs is an inspiration!