Motivation tips for runners
In today’s world with all of the pressures that life brings, it is not surprising that sometimes we struggle for motivation or lose sight of why we chose to take on a half marathon in the first place. For the most part we run purely for leisure, for fitness, for competition and for sanity.
It's one of the most efficient, inexpensive, and effective ways to burn calories and stay in shape.
Consider that the average women uses 105 calories running a mile, while the average man burns 124 calories (walking is 74 and 88 respectively) - that’s over 1,360 calories for a woman and over 1,600 for a man for your half marathon.
But even though we know running is effective, it's still extremely easy to resist. Motivational dips cause declines in regularity, distance and pace, and finding the drive to strap on your trainers is a constant struggle. Fortunately, seasoned runners have several tools for maintaining the inspiration to run.
So if you are truly struggling to get out the door, try one or all of the following:
Take a trip down memory lane
Think of the last time you didn’t want to run but went anyway. Remember how you felt after the run. 99 out of 100 people say they feel better after a run and never regret having done it. Those are pretty good odds. The solitary person who did not feel better doesn’t count because they were probably lying!
Plan a meet up
This is really obvious. But it works and is the reason I include it in this list. Plan to meet up with a friend or a running group for some of your runs. This is one time when being the victim of peer pressure is very effective. People won’t like you if you don’t show up and you’ll feel bad too.
We're creatures of habit, so it's best to embed running into your schedule in the same way you would brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Choose a regular running schedule, and be honest with yourself. Are you a night runner, early-morning-catch-the-worm type or lunchtime stress buster?
Put your race on the calendar
Right so you’ve signed up for your half marathon, now write it on the calendar in big bold letters, next count back the number of weeks you have until the race, write those on too. Nothing will motivate you better as you see each week how long you have until the race.
Although racing is a great way to stay mindful of goals, it's easy for many runners in training to become overly fixated on numbers and statistics. Hit a popular running route and you'll observe people constantly glancing at their GPS-enabled watches, heart-rate monitors, and other stat-spewing gadgets. Don’t get me wrong these tools are great for tracking training regimens, but they can also often make you forget why you took up running in the first place. If you feel burned out on the minutiae of lap times, interval training, tempo runs, and other clock-driven running styles, it might be good to disconnect from your watch and phone and just enjoy the pure simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.
Change is a good thing, honestly. Keep your body and mind guessing. Have a variety of routes so that you're not running the same one every day. Choose different distances and terrains. Consider a five-mile run in your neighbourhood one day and a three-mile trail run another. Vary your pace by alternating shorter, faster runs with longer, slower ones.
Yes that’s right try to get lost. You already know that changing up your routine can re-energise your running habits and hopefully by now you may realise that the joy of running isn't always about records and personal bests. What you might not know is that turning your daily run from an exercise activity into an adventure can totally change what your running is all about. Your two feet are among the best tools ever for exploration. It doesn't matter whether you live in a densely-packed city or a rural town, there are always new places you can explore and investigate. Even if you've driven a road 100 times, you'll see things in a very different perspective when you're on foot.
Last but not least 'take 10'
If all else fails, give yourself permission to head out for 10 minutes and to turn around if you cannot take another step because you are just that unmotivated. Something physiologically and mentally happens when you start to run. This transformation is so powerful and immediate that you usually want to keep running. Odds are you will not turn for home after 10 minutes, but if you do, at least you know you tried.
When all is said and done, you will reap the rewards of the effort that you put in, you will cross the hallowed finish line, have great memories, new friends and a sense of accomplishment that you have earned every step of the way. What are you waiting for, stop reading, lace up and go out and run!