Running Motivation, 5 Ways to Keep Going!

Running Motivation, how to keep going even wen your tired! Photo of a long pathway through the woods

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.

Dog and running shoes

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 after peoneal tendonitis, a long trail in the woods

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.

Do you have any tricks to keep your running motivation when you’re tired??


Running Motivation, How to keep going even when you're tired! #run #running #runner #motivation #positivity #runningmotivation #exercise #fitness< />
Running Motivation, How to keep going even when you're tired! #run #running #runner #motivation #positivity #runningmotivation #exercise #fitness< />


  1. These are great tips! I love listening to music doing an sort of activity and exercising is no exception. It gives me the motivation to keep pushing, I try my best to focus on the lyrics when it gets difficult. Thank you for sharing xx

    1. Author

      Same here! Motivational lyrics or something I can at least sing too in my head is a great distraction when I’m struggling.

  2. Excellent tips. Though I don’t run, I feel like these can be applied to a lot of things in life. When I need to get something done, but can’t find the motivation, I often turn on some fun music and generally it helps me get it done.

    1. Author

      I do use music while cleaning from time to time! It definitely helps me keep working and keep my mind occupied while doing boring tasks haha.

  3. I like those tips! My motivation of running is to burn calories and be in good shape and health! Sometimes I am listening music, while I am running, but sometimes I have no power to continue. Then I am starting to listen my breathe rhythm, it helps me a lot to continue. I just found my rhythm of breathing and I focus on it!
    Great post and very useful tips! 💖

    1. Author

      I know several runners who focus on their breathing and the rhythm to help them keep going! Great job keeping up with your running journey!

  4. Excellent post!!! I have so many competing priorities and running regularly has fallen off my list. I learned to run while coping with my divorce and found it was just what I needed and as a perk brought me an AMAZING tribe of friends. I have pinned this post to refer to it as I work to add running back on my priority list!

    1. Author

      Running people really are quite amazing! We’ve made several friends at local races and everyone is always so encouraging and positive. It really is a great community.

  5. I don’t actually run, but these are really great tips. I love the fact you run with your dog, that must make it easier to get out and going! I think signing up to a local race is definitely a good way to stay motivated and music is always a massive help!

    1. Author

      Connor loves running! I think he would go a bit stir crazy if he didn’t get out to burn some energy. He’s definitely a working line golden haha. Thanks for reading!

    1. Author

      The first month or so is the hardest to keep motivated. I think you just have to get past the initial hump and get to the point where your in good enough shape to enjoy it and not constantly struggling to keep going.

  6. These are great tips and some I’ve tried myself in fact. I have to listen to music with a good beat while I run and I’ve definitely used mental games on myself. Rewards are a great motivation too!

    1. Author

      Music and mental games tend to be the ones that work best for me most days too! Thanks for reading!

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