Are you trying to make running an inseparable part of your life but keep failing to remain consistent? With the stress of our daily lives, it can often become difficult to make time and find motivation for even a short run. While motivation may come and go, and ultimately it is the dedication that makes athletes run marathons and win medals, the little things that give us an extra reason to go for a run are always appreciated. Here are some ways to find a little motivation boost to help you make running part of your weekly routine.
Set Concrete Goals
As humans, we thrive by achieving goals and aspirations in all aspects of our lives. Some healthy competition and setting a new target for your runs can be an amazing encouragement for following through with making a habit out of it.
Depending on your fitness level, set a goal that is challenging enough that it gets you out of your comfort zone but also one that is attainable. For some, it can be signing up for an upcoming 10K race; for others, it can be a marathon. If you’re not much of a racing kind-of-runner, you can set personal goals, be it increasing your speed or mileage in one of your runs or keeping a streak for running for a certain number of days per week. Wherever you are in your running journey, setting specific goals can be a productive and rewarding way to maintain motivation.
Log Your Runs
There is something about seeing your effort in the form of numbers that helps to make an even greater visualization of the hard work you are putting into your runs. Nowadays, technology can be put to such good use to get the most detailed data of your run. You can measure and monitor your distance, pace, cadence, elevation gain, average calories burned, and with specialized technology, even your heart rate.
If you prefer running technology-free, you can still find ways of logging your runs; find the distance of a running route you frequent most often and log it into a notebook each time you run. When you need a challenge, explore longer routes or find a route where you can measure your run through laps.
Do you know what takes the fun out of running? Digging into your wardrobe for 30 minutes, trying to find your favorite pair of running tights, only to realize they’re in your laundry basket.
To avoid the frustration of pre-run preparation, prepare your clothes and snacks ahead of time, for example, the night before, so you are ready to go each time you have an opportunity to go for a run or you have planned to do so.
Remember Why You Started
Running is not everyone’s idea of fun, and at some point, it might not have been or is yours either. Each runner has their own ‘why’ of introducing running into their lives. For some, it can be their wish to improve their fitness level; some started to help shed some extra pounds. For others, it can even be something as specific as wanting to run that one steep hill without going out of breath or as challenging as running their first marathon.
Whatever your ‘why’ is, hold on to it and recall it every time you feel like you need motivation. Imagine that goal’s sweet finish line, be it metaphorical or a real one.
Find Your Mantra
Getting motivation from other people is great, but being your own motivator is even better. Finding that power and strength within you can inspire and push you forward in times when you are alone on a run. A good mantra, which is a word or a phrase that you repeat to yourself during a run, can be quite encouraging at times when you feel like giving up.
Find a mantra that has significant meaning to you. Some like “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” “I run for those who can’t,” “sky above me, earth below me, the fire within me,” or even a simple “you’ve got this” can make all the difference.
Invest in Running Clothes & Shoes
You know what makes us most excited to get out and run? Testing a new pair of running shoes does! Little incentives like this make you feel like a kid again, and they sure work to get you running too.
Having supportive shoes and moisture-wicking clothes means more comfort, no chafing, no hyperventilating during a hot summer day, or drenched feet during colder days running in rain or snow. Spending large amounts of money is not necessary; smart and well-thought investments in shoes and apparel, however, are something that can truly change your runs for the better.
Run Early in the Day
Even if you are not the biggest morning person, starting the day with a run could be a great change that may spark motivation to run more often. While evening runs can be a good way to unwind after a long day, there is a greater chance of ‘not feeling like it’ and being too tired to make an effort. Morning runs, on the other hand, can help you start the day on a good note and with an accomplishment. You will feel more energized and ready to seize the rest of the day.
Try Running in a Pair or Group
For some, running can be their ‘me time,’ which is motivating in itself. But, sometimes, it may be a good idea to embrace the social aspect of running and inviting a friend, be it someone who has wanted to take up running or someone who already is a runner. If they don’t usually run, you will be motivated to inspire them as well, and if they do, you can get tips from them and benefit from sharing running knowledge.
Another great way to socialize through running is joining local run clubs or joining online clubs through various running apps.
Mix it up
You don’t need to be going on the same run over and over again for it to be considered a training routine. Switch your running pattern from time to time. This not only breaks the monotony of running, but also helps to build endurance and overall strength. Every once in a while, add some speed to one of your runs, or when you can, switch up your usual running route for a change of scenery. Hill training, hitting the trails, cross-training, strength training can all be a motivating addition to a well-balanced week of a runner.
We can sometimes be so set on being the ‘perfect’ runner that we forget to reward ourselves for our accomplishments. After a particularly hard run, reward yourself with a home-cooked meal that is nourishing and complements your healthy lifestyle. Your reward does not necessarily have to be food, though. A home spa afternoon, making a bubble bath, streaming your favorite movie, buying a pair of wireless headphones are all non-food rewards that will make running feel like the wholesome activity that it is.
Add Some Tunes to Your Run
Last but not least, do not underestimate the power of music or an inspirational podcast as a running companion. Make a new playlist with the songs you love or find new playlists made for runners, download an audio of the book you’ve wanted to read, the list goes on. These can all give you something else to focus on other than the thought of desperately wanting to get the run over with. Besides, music is also a great way to control your speed and measure the duration of your runs.
These were some of the many ways you can push yourself to get out there and reap the benefits of running. A little goes a long way when it comes to motivation, so never underestimate the small changes you can make to turn yourself into a better runner.