Most runners want to get out there and run further or faster. But in order to do this you need a certain level of motivation, to both go out for runs, and to do the right training. Additionally many runners, may also be trying to eat a little healthier or stick to a set diet plan. Motivation fluctuates a lot, just take a lot at how often I’ve been posting and you’ll see I’m in a bit of a slump right now! So how can we increase motivation when it’s feeling low. I’m going to go through a few things I’ve done in the past to help with my motivation levels.
Set Small Goals
Overall you might want to run a half marathon, you’ve already signed up for the race, but it isn’t for another few months. To keep training strong in the meantime I would set smaller goals, this could be as simple as; If you complete the 5 runs in the plan on that week you can go a treat yourself with your favourite meal, other rewards that could work would be a new piece of running kit, or a trip to the cinema. Doing this every week could get a little too much, either through indulgence or cost, so the smaller the reward can be the better. I’ve set myself a goal of every month running about 84km (In order to get to 1000km over the year), and my reward is simply the satisfaction of having ticked off all the boxes in my running journal. This doesn’t work all the time, but it is definitely a boost when I’ve run out of boxes.
Enter Another Race
This option may not be for everyone, as costs can rise when you start entering lots of races. (I’ve just paid £45 for a half marathon, which I feel is way too much, so fingers crossed it goes alright!) But having an interim goal to aim for is great. If you’re mainly training for a half marathon, enter a 10km in the run up to it to test your training and see if it’s paying off. If races aren’t for you, don’t worry, ticking off a different Parkrun from your local can be just as exciting. Getting to know a new course and finding somewhere new to run can all refresh your vigour for running.
Give Yourself Some Time Off
Controversial as it seems, sometimes your motivation will wane, simply because you’ve got lots of other things to be focusing on. If that sounds like you, just take a break. Give yourself some space to breathe and complete the other tasks you’ve got going on in your life at the moment. Running will always be there. If you take more than a month off though, do ease yourself back into it, especially if you were training at a high volume before having some time off. If you don’t you’re more likely to injury yourself and then be forced to have more time off.
Create A Plan
Having a plan gives you a little more structure, especially if you’re the type of runners who goes out and then decides how far or fast your running that day. There are pro’s and con’s to both, however when you’re lacking motivation the latter might see you running shorter distances each time and not really helping you progress in anyway. At least a plan will tell you when to be putting in more effort and when you should be taking it a little slower. Good plans will include recovery runs, so it shouldn’t feel like hard work all the time. I currently have a few running plans up for sale on Etsy if you want a little help in finding a plan that suits you. As you go through the plan you can tick each workout off and get a little boost from completion too.
Have a Running Partner
Perhaps said a little too often, but having someone to run with really can help boost your own running. I really struggle to get in good tempo runs on my own, however, when I go to Parkrun I’m able to *easily run a 5km in under 25 minutes. It seems that just being around other running can help aid my performance, and likely yours too. You don’t have to join forces for the harder runs either, go out for a little jog with a friend or loved one, and just chat the whole way. This will keep you at a good recovery pace, as too fast and you’ll start finding it difficult to talk, so it’s ideal for those you find it tricky to go slow. Arranging the run will also make you both accountable, and you shouldn’t want to let each other down. These could be informal meetings, or a more formal occasion like a running club. Having that boost from someone else can be great in this form of exercise that we so often do on our own.
(*DISCLAIMER: Not easy as in ‘I’d love to do this everyday’, but easy in the sense that my legs can actually go that fast without me really thinking about it)
Set Yourself a Challenge
This should be a little bit harder than a small goal, maybe this month you want to complete the Strava Climbing Challenge, or you want to run everyday. By pushing yourself a little harder, it should make your normal schedule feel that little bit easier. You may also be surprised about how much time you have for running in your life. It may mean waking up a little earlier or staying out later (both harder as the day get shorter), but by accomplishing something you thought was tricky, you’ll have a new sense of how far you can push yourself.
I’ve covered just 6 things I do to help increase my motivation while it’s low. One main thing I’ve learnt is just don’t give up, you can do it. Even if you just rearrange a run for a different day or change the length of it, always assume you’ll need to catch up. Just like the old saying says, You Never Regret A Run.
Happy running to everyone out there and I hope you all stay motivated over this winter season. To see how well my training is going (or not) follow my Strava: Rhiannon A and Instagram: @Radancefitness. Leave a comment down below about your favourite motivational tip, so we can all help each other out a little, I would love to hear your ideas.
2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Running Motivation”
Building up gradually is so important. I did a 5k run and really enjoyed it. Running feels so good. But I did it without practice and had knee issues afterwards (in my 20s a bit sad). I would love to practice, build my muscles and do it again.
This is so true. Many people get motivated strongly by the next race, that they lose track of how much preparation is needed in order to stay injury free. Yes, we could probably all do a marathon tomorrow (albeit, with a lot of walking) but it wouldn’t be safe and is likely to put us out the game for much longer than we’d have hoped. Running on trails and the treadmill can be a lot better for your knees, may still be challenging but the surface is a lot more forgiving.
Thanks for sharing! I hope you do get back to it, any activity is good activity.