Staying motivated can be tough. It’s easy to be excited when everything is going according to plan, but that feeling often fades quickly as soon as the novelty of training wears off or injuries start creeping up.
Personally, I know that my motivation levels also seem to correspond with the hours of daylight. During spring and early summer I pop out of bed as soon as the sun starts peaking through my windows and I (usually) have no problem getting myself out the door in the morning. As it starts getting lighter later and darker earlier, my willingness to get out of bed (or maintain productivity later in the day) becomes much more short lived. The weather also plays a major factor for me. In the spring and early summer the warm days are a welcome break from the never ending winter that we experience here in Chicago. However, by late August my ability to tolerate the constant 95% humidity levels has also started to wane.
I think that this year has been a *little* easier to stay motivated because of the Olympics (because seriously, how can someone not be inspired by Meb’s finish line push ups). But now that the Olympics are over and fall racing season is upon us, it’s time to start thinking about other ways to keep the motivation levels up.
- Change Up Your Routine – This is one of the easiest ways to stay motivated but often times is the hardest to execute. Are you running the same routes (at the same time) every day? Are you running the same mileage and workouts week after week? Most of us are, so it’s no wonder that running is going to get boring (there are only so many loops that one can do around their neighborhood). Stop making excuses and change it up (and don’t overthink it)! If your schedule isn’t flexible enough to change the time of day you run and you don’t have time to run anywhere but your neighborhood – run your route in the opposite direction. Run randomly down different streets. Instead of running the same distance every day, split up runs or break up the mileage differently across the week. Little changes will go a long way to breaking up the monotony.
- Join a Running Club – I’ve said this many times, but joining a running club is one of the best ways to keep motivated. Not only does meeting with other runners provide great conversation (all normal societal standards are off when it comes to conversations during runs) but also helps you to share in the goals and accomplishments of like-minded people. Find a running club near you by checking out the RRCA Website.
- Experiment With New Gear – I am addicted to running gear. I own more running clothing than I do regular clothing (and still seem to always be needing more). While I don’t advocate buying a whole new running wardrobe every time you don’t feel like going for a run, sometimes a new top or pair of headphones is enough to make you want to get out the door.
- Read Inspirational Books or Watch Motivating Videos. You don’t have time? (Dare I ask how much time have you spent on Facebook today?!?) Personally, the book Born to Run always gives me a spark of renewed energy whenever I start feeling like I am in a rut. Don’t want to read a book? Check out Runner’s World’s 101 Kicks in the Butt or Arnold’s Six Secrets to Success.
- Set a New Goal. If you aren’t training for a race, think about adding one to your schedule. If you’re burned out from racing (or constantly training) challenge yourself to try something different. If you’re always running marathons – think about doing a relay or an obstacle course run (or think about working with someone else to help them meet their goals!)
What do you do to stay motivated?