How to find Motivation in Running
Do you remember a time when you were flying down the street or trail on a run, full of energy and excitement? Feeling like you could run forever. Those are great memories, but they won’t last forever. There will be times where you’ll have trouble finding the motivation to get out for a run. There could be a variety of reasons for this lack of motivation. Getting to the root cause of this is the solution, but below are some tricks to help get through your rut. We all face them, but we don’t have to let them drag us down and off of a plan.
Set a Goal
The ultimate way to ensure motivation is always present in your training is to set a goal. You want to always be working towards something. This could be a race, an event, or a personal goal. The best goal you can set for yourself is to sign up for a race. You are accountable since you’ve already spent the money. Tell your friends, this adds another level of accountability as well. Your goal doesn’t have to be huge like running a marathon or ultra. It can be as simple as increasing your 10k or mile time. As long as you have some type of goal in place that you are working towards with your training program.
Map a Plan
Now that you’ve set a goal, you’ll need a roadmap to get you ready. This comes in the form of a solid training plan, which you can map out on your own or receive from a coach or program. Unless you are a coach or have gone through many programs before, it would be best to buy a training plan or hire a coach. This way, you’ll be sure to get a quality program to get you ready for the race. If you join a group, even better because you will be accountable to the coaches and members. And most groups do their long runs on the weekends, which is great because your long run can be daunting alone.
Find a Buddy
Finding a training partner is one of the best ways to stay motivated in running. They’ll help you stay on track and stick to your training plan, and you’ll do the same for them. Most of us respond well to external motivation, and it’s important to understand if you do as well. If so, a training partner will be the difference between failing and finding success. Make sure you both are at the same skill level, so no one is feeling like they are working too hard or too easy. It’s best to push each other within your boundaries.
Finding a great playlist or motivational podcast can make a long run fly by. Listen to a favorite podcast only when you run, so you’ll be more excited to go running and continue the story. I’ve found the Serial podcast, and others like it, are great for making time go by. They leave me wanting to keep listening, and keep running. I’ve also found that listening to podcasts on running, like RunnersConnect, Connect Run Club and Science of Ultra, inspire me to get excited about my training. Search for podcasts on your favorite subjects, there are likely many to choose from. Playlists are also a great option for keeping the motivation going during a run. Isolate a time during your run where you always lose motivation. For example, at the 40-minute mark, you always become aware of the time. Create a playlist that picks up the beat during this time. It will help you continue right through without a thought of the time.
There are many apps and devices out there for tracking progress during a run. Whether you use a Nike Fuelband, FitBit, Garmin Watch or iWatch, these devices will be sure you stay on track, while offering motivating visuals of your progress. If you run with your phone, use an app like Nike Run Club, Strava, or mapMyRun. There seem to be hundreds of options to choose from, so you’ll find something suitable for you. Sometimes it is nice to run free from devices, so you don’t feel the pressure of comparison to previous runs. This is great to do on occasion, but be sure most of your runs track through an app or device. This way, you’ll gauge weekly mileage, splits and run times to ensure progression. You want to make sure you’re not stagnating, which can be easy to get sucked into as a runner.
Switch it Up
Focusing just on running can lead to burning out and potential injury. You want to give your body a break from the monotonous motion of running, but having it move in other ways. This can be biking, swimming, yoga or any other type of physical activity. This should be fun, and act a break from your running while still maintaining your fitness level. You should be cross training 2-3 days per week. If you need a break, use your cross training day to take a light yoga class and focus on stretching. You can also go for a swim or do some light strength training.
Running should be fun! It shouldn’t feel like a chore, and if it does, it’s time for a break. Reward yourself with something fun. This could be a night off for a spa treatment, a favorite meal, or some retail therapy. If you feel deprived during your training, which can last months, you’ll never stick with it. Take some time to yourself, and enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty. One day off every once in a while is better than burning out and falling out of your training.