I love this quote from women’s running pioneer (and one of my running idols) Kathrine Switzer: “There is an expression among even the most advanced runners that getting your shoes on is the hardest part of any workout.”
Even once you have your shoes on, sometimes getting out the door can be tough. Here are some running motivation tricks to give you the push you need:
1. Pick a race.
Having a deadline on the calendar gives many runners incentive to get out there. Following a training schedule for your race will also give structure to your running and renew your motivation every time you check off a workout.
2. Run with others.
Even if you don’t have a buddy to run with, there are plenty of other ways to run with others. Look for a running club, contact a local running store to find out when they offer group runs, or join a charity race training group. If having other runners around you is important, you could even sign up for a race and run it at a training pace.
3. Reward yourself.
Make a certain activity you enjoy, like drinking your morning cup of coffee, contingent on doing your run. Give yourself rewards, such as new running gear or a massage, after you reach milestones in your training.
4. Do the 5-minute test.
This is an old trick that I heard from another running coach. If you’re having a hard time getting motivated and really feel yourself struggling when you start, tell yourself to run for another five minutes. If you’re still feeling bad at that point, end your run and give yourself a rest day. Chances are, it was just a mental hurdle you needed to get over, so you’ll continue running since you’re already out there.
5. Use music.
Listening to some of your favorite songs can really help you get motivated to get running and keep moving once you get out there. You don’t have to listen to fast or upbeat music. Pick whatever you’re in the mood for.
6. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts.
Listening to audiobooks and podcasts will make time fly during your long runs. I like to listen to non-fiction books about parenting or other topics; I always feel like I’m learning something during my runs. Check with your public library to find out how to download free audiobooks.
7. Vary your running routes.
If you always run the same routes week after week, you may be bored, which can make it tough to get motivated. Switch things up and plan some new routes into different areas. Try some trail running, if you’ve never done that before. A change of scenery and location will give you something to look forward to during your runs and add a new element to your training.
8. Add variety to your workouts.
Boredom also happens if you’re always doing the same distances, at the same paces. Mix it up with some interval workouts or some hill running. Throw some strengthening exercises into the middle of a run to change it up.
9. Watch an inspiring movie.
Whether it’s about running or something else motivational, watching an inspiring movie (before a run or on a treadmill during a run) can give you a big push to keep training.