Most mornings you may spring out of bed excited to start your day with a run in the cool air and sounds of chirping birds. There are days you probably can't wait for work to be over so you can lace up your shoes and hit your favorite trail. Hopefully, more than not, you are excited to go for a run. But, let's have a reality check. There are mornings you don't want to get out of bed and face the freezing cold. Or, work was totally stressful and the only thing you want to do is go home, sit on the couch and watch TV. As much as we love running, sometimes the motivation just isn't there and we choose not to run.
It's okay to have bad days, we all will and we can't run everyday. However, as most of you probably know, on days when you don't feel like running and you've still gone out, you don't regret it afterwards. Below are five useful tips to ensure you stay motivated to run even on days when everything is wanting to keep you inside.
1) Set a Goal
Having something to look forward to is a great motivator. Sit down and set a goal that gets you excited and offers a challenge. A goal could be trying a new race distance, setting a new PR, running a certain number of days in a row, or improving your overall speed. Whatever your goal, follow these simple, yet important principles ("Principles of Effective Goal Setting") to maximize your success in achieving what you set.
2) Get a personal or on-line running coach
Being accountable is one way to stay motivated. Having a personal or on-line running coach will make you accountable to someone for what you’re doing. A coach can look at what your currently doing, what your goals are, then put together a personal training plan to help get you there. Having a daily plan to follow gives you something to look forward to as well as the hope of improvement. A plan takes the guess work and hesitation out of training - you know what you’re supposed to run on a certain day and you’ve committed to doing it.
For help on finding a personal coach, visit your local running store and ask for suggestions. If an online coach would be of more interest, click the below button for options I offer.
3) Join a running group or get running buddy
Knowing you’re not going to be the only one outside running on that early, icy cold morning adds the extra motivation to get yourself out of bed and on a run. When you’ve committed to someone (or a group) that you’ll be on a run, it’s much easier to run. Check with your local running store and see if they offer group runs. Or, commit with a running buddy to meet up a couple times a week. If you need help finding a running partner, send a shout out to someone on Strava or start a virtual running friendship.
Running friends I think form some of the strongest bonds. It's amazing how much you can get to know someone in just a few short runs. Once you form some good running friendships, you'll most likely not be able to wait to go for your next run with them again.
I can't forget about our four-legged running buddies. Dogs can be some of the best running partners out there. Their excitement to go for a run is inspiring. I have a dog who loves to run as much or more than I do. Knowing I’m depriving her of a run, if I don’t go, is a great motivator to get out the door, even if I don’t feel like it.
4) Read an inspiring book
There are people out there that have done amazing things in life and running. Being able to read about their life's accomplishments or endurance through a trial, can give motivation to do better and be better. Even a well written fictional book has the ability to inspire and lift. One of my favorite motivational books is “Once a Runner”.
If you're not the type to sit down and read a book, you can listen to audiobooks. This gives you the opportunity to be doing other things while listening to books, like running. If you choose a good book and only listen while you run, this can help motivate you to run because you'll want to find out what happens next :).
Check out the list of books I have posted on my “Inspire” page for great options to start with.
5) Choose a reward
Nothing quite speaks to our hearts like a reward. Whether it be a bowl of ice cream, a new pair of running shoes or shorts, knowing you’re going to get a reward for achieving something can be a great motivator. Write out a list of rewards that will motivate you. Then, set a specific specific running related requirements you have to achieve to earn the reward. Requirements to could be running five days a week, meeting one new running friend, trying a new route etc.