Congratulations! You’re running! Or at least I assume you are if you’re here seeking advice on how to stay motivated to run.
As I previously mentioned in How to start running: tips for beginner runners, running is as much a mental challenge as a physical one, so it’s not surprising at times your motivation to run can be lacking.
Having stuck with it for the past 7 years now (my longest commitment to anything so far other than my husband!) I have a few tricks up my sleeve which keep the running motivation going.
Here are my recommended ways to help you stay motivated to run…
– Create a positive association –
This is so simple and yet so powerful in maintaining your running motivation. For every run you complete – reward yourself. It doesn’t need to be something extravagant or expensive, just something you can build easily into your routine that makes your brain associate running as a positive habit.
After every run I reward myself with a hot shower (I don’t believe this is the recommended professional advice post run – more ice bath – but it’s what I do) followed by a large mug of coffee and some toast, as I usually run before breakfast.
During my run if I’m starting to falter, I remind myself of the treat awaiting me for completing. Completely personal to me, but I hope it demonstrates – and gets you thinking of – the sort of positive habits you could build.
Alternatively, pay yourself a running wage. For every run, transfer an amount of money into your savings until you’ve saved enough to buy yourself something with your hard earned cash.
There are plenty of ways to train your brain to see running as a reward driver – this simple shift in thinking will encourage you to keep going!
– Sign up to an event –
Nothing motivated me more to go the distance than when I knew I had a place in the Great North Run.
Having a focus on a date and distance gives your training momentum and purpose and ultimately helps you to stay motivated to run.
It doesn’t have to be a half-marathon or marathon for that matter either, there are many multi-distance events going on all the over the country throughout the year. Find one and sign up!
Additionally, when you take part in the event, consider running for a charity or good cause. Knowing they are relying on you to gain funds for their vital work places responsibility on you to make sure you’re at that starting line.
In events where the charity isn’t pre-chosen, I spend time picking charities I resonate with or know the money will make a direct positive impact. When I ran the Great North, I picked my local Women’s Aid shelter and was privileged to be invited to visit them and know how & where my funds would benefit. Plus their support and encouragement was invaluable throughout my training – this was highly motivating.
If you want to discover an event near you try searching Find a Race.com.
– Get the right gear –
When you’re first starting out it doesn’t really matter what you wear as long as it’s sensible and practical. But when you’re ready to commit to running and start building the distance, the right gear is worth its weight in gold.
The most important reason to get your gear right is for you to feel comfortable on your run. The more comfortable you feel the better the run you’ll have. Plus the financial investment in these items will have an affect on helping you stay motivated to run.
The kit I personally recommend will be covered in an upcoming post, but for the moment I’d suggest, if nothing else, getting yourself professionally fitted for your trainers!
I used to be very style over substance when it came to trainers and invariably ended up with burning soles and numb toes at the end of each run. When I got fitted with the right trainers for me it changed my running game. So if you can, head to somewhere such as Up & Running who have stores nationwide & will be able to make sure your footwear meets your needs.
– Get social –
Involving others is a great way to keep your running motivation. Tell people you’re running. Make them aware of the event you’re taking part in. Show the world (or at least your local community) that you run now. Give yourself a little healthy dose of peer pressure.
If you’re finding running too lonely, then why not join a local running club? They often include people of all abilities, who like you want to run in a more social way. Plus the set time each week helps to keep you running regularly.
Or find a running buddy, maybe a friend or acquaintance who you can go running with.
Good to know: Not everyone is a sociable runner – myself included – but that doesn’t mean more experienced runners aren’t willing to talk with you, give advice and encouragement or even put in a few training runs with you to get you on your way. (Just don’t try to stop a runner whilst they’re on a run for advice – it might not be well received.)
Why not take part in your local parkrun? They offer free weekly timed runs. It’s brilliant for meeting other runners. Knowing you have a 5K distance to complete every weekend spurs you on with your training during the week too (although there is no pressure on you to run the whole distance, plenty of walkers take part). If you don’t want to jump straight in, you can start by volunteering, get to know people and find your feet and confidence before you take part yourself. Quite often after the run there is a small social meet-up too – an excellent way to build yourself into the running community.
– Use a running app –
Running apps are great for keeping you motivated. They use GPS to track your run, communicate with you your distance, pace, time – whatever stats are important to you.
They can help you trace your workouts and note your progression. You can set goals and share achievements.
I use Runkeeper and have the ability to note my thoughts on the run I’ve just completed, sync with my iTunes or Spotify playlist, follow training plans and take part in monthly challenges.
The challenges are fantastic for motivation and are easily logged within the app. Completion of challenges sometimes signals entry into a giveaway.
The Runkeeper app is free for the basic package (which I’m on), but offers an in-app upgrade if you want further insights.
Apps are perfect for being able to clock your hard work, distance and achievement. Seeing what you’ve done in black and white definitely helps with your motivation.
– Switch it up –
Doing too much of anything can get boring. Plus your muscles and everything else gets used to what you’re doing, so it’s worthwhile to regularly switch things up.
Make sure you take part in other exercise that you find enjoyable, whether that’s swimming, cycling or (for me) Zumba. Whatever is a noted break from the norm.
It’s refreshing for your mind and body to experience something different. Then when you need to run it doesn’t feel so much like a chore.
Here’s to happy (motivated) running!
Just a few simple actions can see your running motivation go from one step below non-existent to happily tying up your trainers ready to keep at it. Running is always available to you, that’s the beauty of it and it’s so beneficial on so many levels. So when the motivation strikes, don’t overthink it – seize upon it – get up, get out there and get going!
Missed the 1st post in the Living.Pretty.Happy running series? Catch-up here!
I hope you find these suggestions helpful – have you tried any already? What keeps you motivated? What has been your biggest running challenge so far? Any top tips to share? If you have any questions or comments or just want some running encouragement, get in touch! I’m happy to help and I always love to hear from you. Leave me a comment in the box below.
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