How to motivate yourself to run. Running feet on the sand. Photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash

How to Motivate Yourself to Run in 2024: 7 Proven Strategies

It’s a new year and what better time than now to learn how to motivate yourself to run?

I’m an avid runner, but sometimes I struggle to get my trainers on to go on a run. Once I’m out doing it, it’s the best feeling in the world, but before that, it can feel like there are 101 things to do or I’m too tired to get up and go.

With the new year well underway, now is a great opportunity to get your running motivation back whether it’s through putting yourself first, setting goals, or even rediscovering why you love running.

If you want this year to be your year for running, read on to uncover straightforward strategies to turn your running ambitions into daily habits.

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Key Takeaways

  • Identifying your personal ‘why’ fortifies motivation and can help tailor your running goals, whether it’s for stress relief, weight loss, or achieving specific milestones.

  • Invest in quality running clothing that fits well and prepare your gear beforehand to minimise excuses and enhance your readiness and confidence to run.

  • Building a consistent running routine, while allowing for flexibility, and connecting with a running community can greatly boost accountability and motivation.

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1. How to Motivate Yourself to Run: Discover Your Running ‘Why’

A man tying up his running laces. Photo by Alexander Redl on Unsplash

What propels you out the door for that morning run? Is it the desire to shed a few pounds, the stress relief, or the aspiration to cross the finish line of a marathon?

Having a personal reason for running can be a powerful source of motivation to keep pushing forward and reaching your goals, especially when following a training schedule. From improving stamina to supporting a cause, or embracing new experiences, countless reasons can motivate you to run.

When you establish specific goals in your running journey, it provides a roadmap to success, amplifying your motivation and determination. Whether it’s aiming for a specific mileage, personal records, or simply running for enjoyment, having goals in place can keep you focused and driven towards the finish line.

Surround yourself with reminders of your ‘why’. Place running books on your coffee table, post motivational running quotes on your bathroom mirror, and think of running as ‘me time,’ which provides a mental and physical break (something we all need).

Embracing the outdoors rejuvenates your mind and elevates your mood organically, often leading to the sought-after runner’s high (there’s no better feeling). Moreover, rewarding your progress can significantly enhance your motivation to run. Whether it’s a luxurious bubble bath after a long run, or a delicious smoothie to replenish your energy, find rewards that resonate with you and celebrate your running achievements.

For me, when I’m competing in a running event, I mentally tell myself that I can enjoy a nice glass of wine or a slice of cake at the finish line. It’s the little things we tell ourselves that give us the boost and encouragement we need to carry on.

2. Dress for Success

Ever noticed how a new pair of running shoes or some stylish running gear can reignite your excitement to go for a run? It’s not just about vanity; it’s about the powerful psychological boost that comes from feeling confident and prepared. When you invest in quality running gear from brands like ASICS, Lululemon, Salomon, and Ronhill, you’re not just buying a product, you’re investing in your motivation to run.

The fit of your running clothes is as important as the gear itself. Properly fitting compression clothing not only enhances your competitiveness, but also stimulates blood circulation, aids in muscle recovery, and minimises muscle oscillation during exercise.

So, the next time you’re shopping for running gear, focus on the fit and comfort, not just the style.

Also, a great tip is to prepare your outfit the night before your run. The sight of your running clothes, ready and waiting, can help you overcome any morning sluggishness or procrastination. It’s one less excuse to not get out the door when you can’t find all your running gear and one more reason to stay committed to your running routine.

3. How to Motivate Yourself to Run: Embrace the Power of Routine

Someone running in a park during the day. Photo by Jozsef Hocza on Unsplash

Every accomplished runner knows that maintaining a steady running regime is key. Following a well-structured training plan ensures you never miss a run and effectively work towards your running goals. It provides a framework for progress, keeps you accountable, and fuels your motivation to keep going. A running coach can be a valuable asset in this journey, offering guidance and support tailored to your needs.

While consistency is key, it’s equally beneficial to maintain a degree of flexibility in your training. Giving yourself the freedom to choose between running two or three days a week, and incorporating a rest day, can help you stay motivated without feeling restricted, enhancing your overall progress and satisfaction.

You’re probably familiar with the adage, “the hardest part is getting started.” I know that feeling! This is where the 5-minute rule comes in handy. By convincing yourself to run for just five minutes, you’ll find it easier to kick off your morning run and often end up going for a longer, more fulfilling run.

Strategic planning, such as scheduling morning runs or adjusting to free time slots, ensures you grab every possible opportunity to run, helping build a strong habit.

4. Find Your Running Tribe

While running can be a solitary pursuit, connecting with other runners and training partners can take your motivation to a whole new level. Finding a running buddy or joining a running club can provide accountability, support, and camaraderie, making running more enjoyable and motivating.

Running in a run group offers several benefits:

  • Fosters a sense of accountability;

  • Lends support;

  • Cultivates a spirit of friendship;

  • Adds joy to the run; and

  • Fuels motivation.

When others expect you to show up and check in, it can keep you on track and staying motivated.

Adding variety to your running routine can inject excitement, keeping you engaged in your running journey. Here are some ways to add variety:

  • Explore new routes with friends;

  • Join a running club;

  • Participate in local races or fun runs;

  • Try trail running or obstacle course races; and

  • Incorporate interval training or speed workouts into your routine.

Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and find your running tribe!

5. How to Motivate Yourself to Run: Break It Down

A road running race. Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

Embarking on long runs may seem intimidating, particularly for beginners or those intensifying their training. One effective strategy is to break your runs into smaller segments or milestones, even if following the same route. By focusing on one step at a time, you can make your long runs more manageable and less overwhelming.

Dividing your run into smaller, achievable segments, a technique known as ‘chunking’, can alleviate the pressure and enhance motivation and concentration. It allows for better pacing and the ability to push harder during each chunk, leading to improved endurance and speed, especially in long-distance runs.

When you’re in the middle of a long run, remind yourself that you’ve already passed the halfway point. This simple mindset shift can help you stay motivated and focused on finishing strong.

This is a strategy that I often use when I’m running trail marathons. Thinking of 26.2 miles in one chunk is too much for me to handle, but I find if I break the run down into five sets of five miles with a little bit on the end, it’s much easier. Running five miles five times doesn’t seem as daunting when I look at it this way.

6. Celebrate Small Victories

Running is a journey, and every step you take is progress. Creating attainable, micro-goals helps simplify your ambitions into manageable steps, rendering the entire journey less daunting and more achievable. These goals could include running consistently, finishing a half-marathon, or simply starting to run three times a week.

Tracking your progress is incredibly valuable as it allows you to:

  • Witness the tangible results of your hard work, serving as a powerful source of motivation;

  • Establish attainable goals by assessing your current performance; and

  • Celebrate every step of your journey.

Remember, it’s crucial to celebrate your accomplishments by rewarding yourself when you achieve your goals.

7. How to Motivate Yourself to Run: Mix It Up

Someone running in the mountains. Photo by Laurine Bailly on Unsplash

Just as diversity adds zest to life, it also enlivens your running routine. By adding variety, you can prevent boredom and burnout, and keep things fresh and interesting, helping you stay motivated and excited about your workouts.

Incorporate sprints, hills, and long distances into your routine on different days. Also, vary your running location and the time of day to keep it exciting and prevent boredom. Different types of runs offer unique advantages for your cardiovascular and muscular development, aerobic capacity, endurance, speed, and strength.

Trail running is transformative! It offers:

  • A break from the tedium of pavement running;

  • Tremendous benefits for your knees and overall physique;

  • A refreshing change of scenery; and

  • A new challenge to your routine.

Final Thoughts

Starting a running journey is a commitment that requires motivation, determination, and the right strategies on how to motivate yourself to run.

Finding your reason for running, investing in quality running gear, establishing a running routine, connecting with other runners, breaking your runs into smaller segments, celebrating small victories, and adding variety to your routine are all proven strategies to boost your running motivation.

Remember, running is a journey, not a destination. Whether you’re aiming to run a marathon or simply want to enjoy the many health benefits of running, every step you take is progress. Celebrate your small victories, keep pushing forward, and embrace the journey.

So, lace up those shoes, find your ‘why’, and get running. The road is waiting for you, and you have the power to conquer it!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get motivated to run?

Try these tips to boost your motivation for running: run with friends, set new goals, reward yourself, and mix up your running routine. Engaging in these activities can help keep you motivated to hit the pavement and reach your fitness goals.

Why do I have no motivation to run?

It’s possible that you’re experiencing burnout from overtraining or feeling overwhelmed in other areas of your life, which can contribute to a lack of motivation to run. Remember to listen to your body and take a break if needed to regain your enthusiasm for running.

What are the benefits of having a personal reason for running?

Having a personal reason for running can provide you with a powerful motivation to keep pushing forward and reaching your goals, especially when following a training schedule. It can help you stay focused and dedicated to your running routine. So, find your reason and let it drive your passion for running!

How can setting small, achievable goals benefit runners?

Setting small, achievable goals can benefit runners by making their journey less overwhelming and more attainable. This approach allows them to break down their aspirations into manageable steps, helping them stay motivated and committed to their running routine.

How can adding variety to a running routine help with motivation?

Adding variety to your running can prevent boredom and burnout, keeping things fresh and interesting.

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