Running can be great for our mental and physical health. The rhythmic sound of your feet hitting the ground, the quiet calm of your outdoor surroundings, and the ‘feel good’ endorphins that get released are a few reasons many of us love to run.
Unfortunately running is not always rewarding or an activity that people look forward to. Perhaps you felt sluggish on your last run, you feel short on energy or time, the weather isn’t tempting you to head outdoors or your motivation has taken a nose dive. Here are 7 ways to motivate yourself to lace up and head out for a run:
1. Book an event or race.
Having a target to train for can be a great way to motivate yourself to lace up. Training for a race can give direction to your training as it provides a purpose for your hard work. Knowing you have a specific distance to cover or having a time goal in mind can spur you on in your training. External challenges can help fuel our intrinsic motivation when it gets low and can be the push we need to get out the door.
2. Follow a PLAN.
A training plan can give focus and a purpose to your training. An effective plan will lead to progress in fitness and improvement in your running times and distances. These positive outcomes will lead to increased motivation to get out for future runs.
3. Track your progress.
Tracking your runs can prove to be one of the easiest and most effective ways to add motivation to your runs. Striving to finish the extra distance to round your distance to the next Kilometer or Mile or knowing your speed can help keep you motivated to push through when you start getting tired. If you have an account with a tracking app, earning kudos from fellow runners can be a source of inspiration to get out the door or to spur your effort during your run.
There are many inexpensive watches and tracking apps that allow you to track your time, distance and pace. Map My Run and Strava are free apps that can be accessed on your phone without needing to purchase any additional gear. Tracking your progress is a great way to see improvements in your running. It is also a great way to fuel your motivation and help you celebrate each time you have laced up and headed out the door to run.
4. Find some running buddies!
Running with a friend can help keep you accountable to your running plans, distance and paces. If you have planned a run with a friend, you will be more likely to lace up so you don’t let you friend down. Running with a friend adds enjoyment to your run and can make the miles fly by.
5. Run in the morning.
There is something special about getting up before most of the world and taking time for yourself to boost your health and energize yourself for the day ahead. Get your running clothes ready the night before. Set your alarm and head out the door before any distractions get in the way of you completing your run. Morning runs are a great way to start your day!
6. Keep your runs varied.
Try different routes and various distances to keep you interested. If you always run the same route, try running it in reverse or finding a new place to run. If you tend to run for a certain amount of time, try basing a run on distance and see how long it takes for you to cover it.
Adding speed sessions, intervals, hill repeats and long slow runs to your program are other ways to keep your runs interesting. Enlist the help of a coach or trainer if you would like to add some structure to your running.
7. Celebrate your runs.
Take pride in your commitment to your health and fitness. Celebrate each time you get out the door, each time you make progress, each time you push through your run when you wanted to stop, each time you laced up when you didn’t want to, each time you stuck to your plan, and each time you reach a target. By recognising your WINS you will build up your intrinsic motivation to continue heading out the door!
Regular running is linked with a number of health benefits, from weight loss to improved mood and self-esteem. The phrase ‘Runner’s High’ has been coined for the great post run feeling. Find your motivation, lace up and enjoy your next run. Happy running!