Looking for running motivation is never easy, but when you throw in the fact that all of us are sitting around indoors all day long because of this pandemic and, well, it can really be like pulling teeth. I don’t know about you, but because running is such a mental exercise for me, if my mind isn’t in it, then I know my body won’t be. It’s a dilemma millions of people probably face.
For that reason, I figured it might be helpful to list a few ways in which I find running motivation each day, so not to pound the pavement pissed off at your mind and your body for not wanting to work in unison. For anyone who’s ever experienced that — Note: all of us — you know that it’s one of the worst feelings ever. It’s distracting. It’s frustrating. It’s just a miserable run from start to finish, knowing that you don’t really want to exercise, but you feel like you should. The end result is anxiety and trying to rush through a run.
Luckily, there are some tips that can help avoid that annoyance, so see below for a few suggestions.
Make Small Goals For Yourself
One of the many excuses people make when it comes to running or not is the most obvious: I just don’t want to do it.
Hey, fair enough, but what is it about running that day that’s making you feel that way? For me, it’s often visualizing something bigger than it really is. Like, instead of just running 2-3 miles, I’ve got it in my own head that I need to do 4-5 miles.
But who the hell says that that’s the benchmark?
Instead of looking big picture and going forever, just make smaller goals for yourself to find the running motivation you need each day, not worrying about time, distance and all that other stuff. Just sweating for 25-30 minutes is good enough.
Running Motivation Can Come From Your Progress
We all like seeing ourselves succeed at shit, so running is absolutely no different. Whether that’s increasing your daily mileage, decreasing your pain after a run, or simply finding the perfect pace for yourself, there are a few ways to track your progress.
The most obvious one is using a running app like Stava, RunKeeper or MapMyRun, among others, which are helpful in tracking distance and pace — so make sure you’re utilizing these resources to your advantage.
Knowing that you ran a 5K in 28 minutes last week might motivate you to run it in 27 minutes today. It’s all about using your past runs as fuel for future runs. Think it, do it.
Don’t Make It A Competition With Yourself
Disclaimer: Running sucks. Even as somebody who has run a shit ton of miles in the past two decades, I have no problem admitting that. But it’s still a great way to escape the stresses of life and clear your mind, all while doing something positive physically for yourself.
But remember to allow yourself to escape that competitiveness every once in awhile, and not use running as a way to always be on your game. That means accepting the fact that you won’t be able to run a certain distance in the same time every single time; and that’s fine. It means you don’t have to look at your running app every mile to see your pace. It means just breathing in and out and going without a damn care in the world.
Forget About The Pain And Think About The Gain
Whether you’re thinking about running in the rain or dealing with the blistering heat, there are plenty of reasons each day for not wanting to get out and sweat. But stop thinking about some of the uncontrollable factors and start imagining what it’ll be like once you’re done with a run; because motivation can absolutely come from that.
Look, there are plenty of days when my eyes are heavy, my stomach is full of junk food and I really just want to sit on my ass and do nothing. In those times, I’ve had to retrain my brain to think about the good that will come from a run that day, rather than how unenjoyable it might be. It’s not easy to do, but once you accept that fact that you’ll be sore from doing something healthy and getting some fresh air, it’ll help motivate you to go pound the pavement.
When All Else Fails, Blast TF Outta Your Tunes
OK, so you’ve tried everything to try and find the necessary running motivation today, but nothing seems to be working. Well, that’s when ol’ reliable should come into play: Blasting music.
Personally, I turn my Sonos in my kitchen up to 100 and stretch indoors to get the blood flowing, but everyone’s different. In fact, there are a lot of times when I blast rap before leaving, but then listen to classical music to calm me down while I’m actually running. Hey, to each is own, right?
If you’re looking for running motivation, hopefully some of those tips above help — but there are always some good running websites worth checking out, too. And, if you’re looking for a killer running podcast to listen to, why not check out “We Run This,” which is hosted by myself and Chris Illuminati, and is available on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor, Pocket Casts, Radio Public. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel.