Just Keep Running: How to Stay Motivated Throughout Training
As you embark on your training journey, sometimes it can be tough to get in the groove. The key is to find ways to pull yourself up when you’re down—and get out the door. Here are few sure-fire ways to get fired up:
Tell people about your race plans. If you find it tough to keep yourself accountable, recruit your friends, family, and co-workers to do it. By blabbing about your half-marathon to enough people, they’ll invariably ask you how your training is going. It feels a whole lot better to be able to say, “This weekend I ran double-digits for the first time,” instead of, “Oh, I haven’t run in two weeks except when I nearly missed the bus.”
Get up early and get it done. Sure, we’d all like to sleep in or lounge around, but by waking up and working out in the a.m., you don’t have time to debate skipping your run—sometimes it’ll even feel like you aren’t fully awake until halfway through your mileage. Also, when your run is the first thing checked off on your to-do list, real life can’t intrude: No boss to make you work through lunch or convincing friends who rope you into happy hour to sidetrack you later in the day.
Create some playlists. Music is a proven mover so load up your iPod with some fresh tunes. Or download a podcast or audio book (many public libraries offer them for free). When you don’t feel like hitting the treadmill, the desire to listen to the next episode of the My Favorite Murder will get you going.
Just go. Engage in head games. Tell yourself you only have to run for five minutes, then you can come back. Chances are good that once you’ve gotten started, you’ll remember how good running makes you feel, so you’ll keep going.
Prep yourself. As with most things in life, preparation for running is key. Lay out your clothes the night before your run or keep your packed gym bag by the back door. It’s harder to blow off a workout when your gear is staring you in the face.
Put on your music before you get dressed. Shaking your bootie a bit will get you revved up to run. Trust us.
Find a training buddy. It’s one thing to bail on your own run, but quite another to leave someone in the lurch, standing on a street corner at 6 a.m. In addition to being an incentive to not press the snooze button, running with someone turns a run into fun. It’s a great way to multi-task: Get in your workout and catch up on your pal’s wedding plans or work drama.
Reward yourself. Sometimes the run is reward enough, but it also helps to have something extra-special calling to you. Tell yourself that after you accumulate 50 training miles, you’ll treat yourself to a pedicure or a bottle of bubbly. Or we’ve heard of gals who sock away a dollar for every mile run, then spend the dough on a shopping spree post-race.