Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated to Run


It’s a common misconception that runners LIVE to run. Sure, there are some die-hards among us who live and breathe for the runners’ rush, but thousands of other runners need a little help to get moving — especially in these colder months. This post will outline a few easy (and not-so-easy) pointers to make it less painful to get up and out the door.

1. Prioritize Your Run.

Sure, we all have busy lives. Our daily calendars are filled with work meetings, social functions, familial obligations… the list is seemingly endless. But you wouldn’t just hit the snooze alarm so many times that you had to flake on an 8 AM one-on-one with the boss, would you? Or miss an important parent-teacher session because you want to spend some extra time vegging on the couch? Prioritize your run time with the same amount of gravity you afford the other parts of your day. Don’t skip out on yourself.

1b. Make Other Plans — Later.

A natural evolution from point number one, above, is to make sure that the priority you’re assigning to your run holds up against other plans. Make it sacred time. Don’t get in the habit of bumping exercise time out of your schedule as other commitments come up. Put it in your schedule, keep it there, and plan around it.

2. Carrot and Stick (to It).

We all enjoy a nice reward, especially if it comes on the heels (pun intended) of putting in some sweat. There’s nothing wrong with hooking yourself up with a little attaboy after a job well done. This could be something as simple as making a pit stop at your favorite little coffee shop following your morning run. Or you could keep track of the days you’ve stuck to your running schedule, and then splurge on a little self-indulgence when the week or month is done. Maybe set up a well-deserved massage, allow yourself to indulge in your favorite treat or even pick up some flashy new running apparel.

3. Keep Good Company.

Some people respond best to external motivation in order to keep themselves moving. If that sounds like you, your best bet might be to join a local running club, or set aside time to run with friends, neighbors, your spouse — or even your dog. It’s much easier to flake out on ourselves than it is to let someone else down and, heck, running is more fun with others anyway.

4. Create Your Personal Soundtrack.

Where would we be without MP3 players? Those marvelous little pieces of sci-fi technology allow us to cram a whole conservatory’s worth of jams into our pocket. I know many of us are old enough to remember plodding along with mix tapes whirring along in our big bulky personal cassette players… my how the times have changed! Now you can have your entire music library — literally thousands of songs — right at your fingertips. Best of all, you can whip up custom playlists to fit your particular mood. Maybe one day calls for some dulcet, mellow tunes while others require the assistance of some killer power jams.

Could Rocky Balboa have become champ without a kickin’ symphonic soundtrack to boost him up all those stairs? Probably. But the tunes certainly didn’t hurt.

5. Dear Diary…

Start (and keep up) a running journal. Write down the days and times, distances, any thoughts that came up (sometimes our best ideas arrive when our conscious minds are otherwise occupied), noteworthy sights/encounters, and how you felt after every run.

You can use this journal as motivation any time the gravity well around your couch feels particularly strong. Look back on memorable runs, and forward to making more entries. Chart your progress and enjoy a tangible record of all your hard work.

6. Suck it up.

I guess a softer and gentler directive would be to take a hint from the slogan of a popular athleticwear brand and “Just do it.” Don’t overthink it. Don’t give yourself time to make up excuses or find a million other little distractions to fill your time. Just get up, get out, and get running!

I’ll see you out there.