We all have days where our runs feel effortless and everything goes according to plan. And then, there are days where your legs feel like cement and everything goes wrong. While the effortless days are great and often leave us feeling good it’s the challenging days that really leave an impact. Running motivation can be hard to come by on bad days but when you persevere you teach yourself that you are stronger than you thought, that you can push through problems and keep going even if you’re tired!
Easier said than done right? Don’t worry! There are more than a few tricks to keep you going when sheer willpower starts to fail!
Running Motivation, 5 Ways to Keep Going!
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Distract Yourself With Music
Music can be a great distraction. When you’re getting tired, your feet are heavy and you’re thinking about giving up than having a good playlist on hand can make a great difference!
Pick songs that are upbeat and motivating. Avoid slow songs or song’s with sad lyrics as these will just further cement your tired and weary feelings. Many runners I now have several playlists, some even go so far as to find songs which match the pace you want to keep. While you don’t have to go quite that far making a special motivation playlist for hard days is worth it!
If you’re worried about the safety of running while playing music (a legitimate concern if your running route is full of heavy traffic and stray dogs) then you might want to look into alternate solutions like these bone conduction headphones.
Find A Different Reason to Run
Some days running for yourself might not be enough. Sometimes we have to find a way to link our exercise to outside influences. Since I run with my dog and our runs have become an important part of his routine I often tell myself that I have to get out and run for him.
He enjoys it and he doesn’t deserve to sit at home bored just because I don’t feel like heading out! While not everyone runs with their dog you probably realize other benefits to your runs that can be linked to others. Perhaps running keeps you grounded and makes you a more patient person, perhaps running is an activity you enjoy with your significant other or you run to encourage your children to stay active and healthy. It doesn’t matter what the reason is or even how thin the connection is, as long as you can convince yourself that it’s important you get out there an get it done.
Set a Goal to Work Towards
My husband needs a goal to keep running consistently. While he enjoys running just for the sake of running he tends to slack off if he doesn’t have something specific to work towards.
A lot of people are very goal oriented. If you’re having trouble finding running motivation day after day then maybe you should consider giving yourself something to work towards. You can sign up for a local race a few months in advance or set a personal goal like running a mile at a certain pace!
The ultimate goal doesn’t really matter and you can adjust it to fit your current abilities. Make sure your goal is achievable. There is no sense in making your goal so hard that you end up even more discouraged or possibly even hurt yourself through overtraining.
Bribe Yourself with a Reward
Have a treat or special item waiting for you at home? Have something you’ve been wanting to buy but keep putting off? Bribing yourself with a reward an be a good motivator for many people! If you tell yourself that you can’t have X item or enjoy X activity until you complete your run you might be more willing to get it done.
The trick to this is making sure you have the willpower to deny yourself the treat until you run. No taking a nibble and telling yourself you’ll run later!
Running Motivation – Mental Games
Sometimes when you’re out on the road none of the above tips seem to cut it. Your music isn’t working, your treat doesn’t matter and you can just play fetch with the dog later right? Regardless of how you justify it, you’re on the verge of just giving in and going home.
This is the time when mental games can help you out. First of all, it’s okay to cut a run short if your struggling due to physical pain. If you’ve been sick or are recuperating from an injury then you should always listen to your body.
If you’re struggling because you’re tired but physically fine then bring on the mental games. Tell yourself that you can walk a little if you make it to a certain point. Convince yourself to run to the next mailbox, 10th of a mile or corner and then you’ll take a rest. If you carry snacks with you tell yourself you can have a treat if you go one more mile.
If you’re really truly struggling then revise your original goals. It’s better to force yourself to pick up the pace and complete a secondary goal (5 miles instead of 6) than to just give up and go home. Finish your run when you’re finished, not when you’re tired.