At some point every runner will go through a lack of motivation to get out and run. I’ve gone through this several times and it isn’t fun. Usually I find that the times I’ve felt less than thrilled to go out on my run are when I’ve been overtraining, in the middle of winter when it’s dark and cold in the morning, or when I’m fighting off an injury. During these times my body is tired, my mind is frustrated, and the thought of going outside and putting myself through another run is pretty far down on the list of things I want to do. However, no matter how many excuses I can come up with as to why I don’t want to go for a run, I can always think of one more for why I do want to go for a run. Below are some tips to help keep you motivated to run even when you are going through a rut and it’s the last thing you want to do.
Change Up Your Scenery: If you usually run through neighborhoods and on busy streets, trade up street running for the trails. A change in scenery can add interest and excitement to your runs.
Sign Up For A Race: Nothing gets a runner more motivated to get back into a rhythm of training than signing up for a race. Having a race to look forward to helps us get excited about running again.
Set Goals: This is a big one. If you are just running to run and don’t have any set goals in mind, your runs can become monotonous very quickly. Challenge yourself and set a goal to run a faster 5k time or run farther than you have been.
Change Up Your Workouts: If you usually do your speed workouts on the track, change things up and try them on the streets. A fartlek workout is a great change of pace and can be really fun. Tempo runs are another great alternative to improving speed that doesn’t require running in circles on the track.
Get Inspired: Whenever I watch a track race, marathon, or Ironman on TV I am instantly inspired and want to get out and run. The Boston Marathon is coming up next month and watching that has always been a great source of motivation for me.
New Running Gear: Getting a new pair of running shoes or a new running outfit always seems to bring back the thrill of running, plus who doesn’t want to show off those shiny new running shoes!
Keep a Journal: Having a journal and writing down a weekly goal, what your workouts were, and how you felt is a great way to stay on track and see where you are excelling and where you need improvement.
Run During a Different Time of the Day: If you normally run in the morning switch it to the evenings and vice versa. You may find you have more energy running at different times of the day.
Find a Running Partner: Ask a friend to join you on a run or find a local running group to run with. You are far less likely to bail on your run if you know someone is counting on you to be there.
Find Runners Who Inspire You: There are many amazing professional runners out there who push themselves farther, faster, and harder than any of us can imagine. I often look to these runners when I need a good kick in the butt. Watching them inspires me to push myself and work harder. This video with Meb Keflezighi doing a training run before the 2012 olympics is so inspiring! (My favorite part starts about 2:50 seconds into the video.) The time and effort that he puts into his training helps me put into perspective my own training and helps my strive to be better.
It’s important to keep in mind that losing your motivation to run won’t last forever unless you let it. If you stop and reflect on things or people that motivate you, ways you can change your runs to make them more interesting, and goals you can set to bring back that desire to run, that little spark to get out there and run again will return!