Running motivation is a tricky thing. We cannot rely on it to get us out the door and to stick to our running schedule - only having discipline can do that. However it’s nice to feel that excitement in our running and it can be sad when we just aren’t feeling it. So I want to share 8 things that I like to do to bring back my motivation (#5 is my go-to and must effective tip!).
1. Be diligent about getting enough sleep! Lacking sleep can play a big role in your ability to make smart choices. Feeling tired can lead to you not having the energy to stay disciplined to your goals. Therefore, for the next week (or preferably month!) make a pact with yourself to get at least 7 hours (or your known amount of time that you need in order to not feel as if you are drowning!) of sleep each night. Your running motivation is going to be full to the brim! :)
2.Prepare 24 hours in advance for every run. This might sound like overkill...maybe you love the spontaneity of just throwing on your running shoes and going for a joy run. However, if you are struggling to get out on your scheduled runs then plan your running routine out ahead of time. One week before, right on your calendar or in your planner exactly what runs you will be doing that week - how long, the route you will take, look at the weather and see what days will be the best in those regards, etc. Then every day look at your calendar and prepare everything that you will need to make that run happen. If you know you will need a snack beforehand then set it with your running clothes. Make a pile of everything that you will need - fresh socks, sunglasses, SPF, mix up your energy drink, lay out your water bottle - and make sure it is all ready for tomorrow. The big benefit of doing this is that your brain will be viewing this as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself and it will also provide you with an easier time of getting out the door if you know everything is laid out waiting for you and it will take you 0 oz. of brain juice to get out the door.
3. Write down WHY you WANT to keep running in your life. You might know in your head what it is that makes you want to run, but actually writing down your reasons and giving yourself physical proof that this is something that you really want to keep in your life will make a world of difference in your motivational levels at that moment. Even if you don’t feel like writing down your reasons, or that that won’t help to solve your motivational problems, then force yourself, trust me and do it!
4. Put your finger on what it is at that moment that is causing you to not want to run. What is fighting against your running motivation? Sometimes it’s just something that we need to pinpoint and once we have that figured out we feel so much better and can experience a sense of relief. So ask yourself, “Why am I lacking in motivation to run right now?” If it is something that you can fix immediately then do it and move on. If not, then it is excellent pondering material for your run!
5. Visualize how running makes you feel after you have completed a run. I aim to have a 4 day a week non-negotiable workout routine but every once in awhile it would be an understatement to say that I am dreading having to get it in. The thing that helps me the most is to focus on how I will feel after I workout - AWESOME! And I know it! The endorphins are rushing, my body feels relaxed, tension is gone, stress has been relieved, I feel more ambitious to stick to my healthy living goals, I have more patience with my family, I feel more loving, confident, positive, the list goes on and on.
Now think about how you feel when you do NOT get your run or workout in. Usually not very happy with yourself. You can begin a lot of negative self talk, you can turn to emotional eating, you wish that you hadn’t been lazy, you realize that you were giving yourself lame excuses that you fell for. So even if you have to write it down in your running log, remember to ask yourself, “How will I feel after I get this run in?” or “How will I feel if I don’t get this run in.” Hopefully, that will do the trick!
6. Read a good running book, watch a running movie, watch a quick YouTube video on your favorite runner, (I would probably be watching Deena Kastor finishing a race. That would be enough running motivation for me!) or find a new favorite running quote to hang on your mirror.
7. Think of your past running successes. Maybe they are small such as the first time you were able to run 1 mile without stopping. Maybe they were huge goals that you accomplished such as qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Whatever it was, think of your success and put yourself right back there in your mind. Past success can be one of the biggest motivators that can push you to keep working towards your current goals.
8. Running Motivation has to include rewarding yourself! (It doesn’t have to be food!) Think about all of the hard work you are putting in to stick to your goals, staying disciplined and on top of your running routine is hard work. Tap into the advantage that you have of rewarding yourself from time to time for keeping on your routine and let your brain know that this is something that is good for you and that you love having in your life. Doing so will mean less self-sabotage in the future from your brain. Right now fill out this sentence and hold yourself to this contract:
If I stick to my routine of running ____________(x amount of days or # of minutes) per week for ____________________(set amount of time such as weeks, or months) then I will treat myself to __________________ (your reward: food, clothing, new piece of running gear, etc.)