minutes per mile blog

5 mental tricks to boost your running motivation

Do you ever have days where you just don’t feel like running? You’ve got all of your running clothes laid out (or even on!) and it’s a beautiful day, but for whatever reason, you’re just like: I really don’t feel like running right now.0225160624I’ve been there! Lots of times. Probably at least once every couple of weeks? If you’re lacking running motivation, here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years to help me get outside and go for a run. Usually after the first mile I’m glad I got out there :)

1. Don’t overthink it. One thing that my old coach told me that still comes to mind often: Running is a simple sport. It really is! You just put one foot in front of the other and go. Whenever I start losing motivation to run, for some reason remembering this phrase helps me. I guess my thought process is something like this: I go to work, pay bills, do chores, and deal with all the other challenges of life every day — so am I really complaining about having to go outside and move my feet forward for 30-60 minutes? Compared to most other things I do all day (none of which are even that difficult or terrible), running seems pretty easy. And actually kind of attractive! 09191507232. Make a mileage deal with yourself. If five miles sounds like too much or you don’t have the energy for speed work, make a plan B and go for that instead. Sometimes it’s as simple as thinking “I’m going to run today and see how 4 miles feels and then go from there” instead of “I HAVE to run 7 miles today or else I’m a failure.” Usually I hit a groove after a couple of miles and then the planned workout doesn’t seem so bad after all. Or I just stick with plan B and head home. Something is better than nothing!0917150649a3. Plan a post-run treat. If I’m struggling to get out the door, sometimes I’ll plan a post-run treat to help motivate myself. Like an extra long shower, a nap, or a stop at the nearest cafe for an iced coffee or scone. I have been known to eat egg sandwiches and chocolate milk on the sidewalk after my run…DSC013914. Head to the treadmill. Most of the time I think that treadmill running is worse than outdoor running, but on occasion there’s something appealing about being able to totally zone out and watch TV while jogging on a totally flat surface. If the thought of planning a route or stopping at traffic lights is putting you off, just let the treadmill take care of your problems.IMG_46865. Don’t run. If you still aren’t feeling motivated to run even after you’ve tried all the mental tricks up your sleeve, just don’t. I know that if you’re following a strict training plan it can feel weird to deviate from it, but remember that a spreadsheet isn’t as in sync with your body as your brain is! Take a day off or cross train if you feel like that’s what you need. Taking a break will allow you to come back feeling stronger the next day. Sometime I have to remember that nobody really cares if I don’t go for a run. Except maybe my blog readers, of course :)1212150818d

What are you tricks for staying motivated to run?

9 thoughts on “5 mental tricks to boost your running motivation

  1. I usually cajole myself into running by putting on some music. 90% of the time I run without music, but it really helps for those 10% hard days! I also modify the type of workout, so if I’m not feeling a track workout, I’ll change it to a fartlek or a recovery run.

  2. Ha! When I need motivation I promise myself a treat that I like at a certain mile markers (like a waffle energy bar or cold glass of juice)! It is funny how such small things can really work. And I listen to podcasts after the first hour or two of running to give me something else to focus on. And usually I try not to think too much!

    • i’ve never been able to do the podcast while running thing but am so jealous of those who can!

  3. Thanks for this post, Mary! I like the first one the best– I can do that one all by myself, and it’s SO TRUE! After moving away from DC it’s sometimes hard to be motivated to run without my club or my friends or my Custis. Nonetheless, it’s always better to get out there than to not get out there!

    • by custis, do you mean custis trail?!! i can’t say i miss that hilly beast one bit 😉