Running: How to Stay Motivated

I think all runners experience burn out at some point. I absolutely love running, but sometimes my motivation is really low. This summer it has been a little bit low and I partially blame it on the heat. Sometimes when I am just so hot and sweaty (before I even start running) I wonder why I bother doing it.

So how can you keep yourself motivated when you aren’t really feeling it?

running motivation

Write it Down

This is a huge motivating factor for me. I follow a training schedule that is written out in a little notebook. After every run, I write down how many miles I actually ran. If I am suppose to run 8 miles, but only run six then it kills me to write down that I only ran 6. Writing it down, really keeps me accountable. I also keep track of my miles in my weekly workout recaps.

Remember your Goal

Are you trying to build up to running a 5K without walking? Are you trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Whatever it is, we all have goals. Even very casual runners who don’t want to race have goals. Maybe it is to run 3 times a week every week. Whatever it is, remember your goals and use it as motivation to push you out the door on those sluggish days.

My goal: PR at Long Beach

Set Small Weekly Goals

An 18 week marathon training program is long and sometimes the goal of PR’ing at a race that is months away might seem too distant. Make small goals for each week, such as doing a plank every day or running 5 times in one week. It can be motivating to achieve your small goals each week.

Get a Training Partner

For some people, writing down your training might not keep you accountable, but a training partner will. If there is someone you know you have to meet by 6AM in the morning, you aren’t going to hit the snooze button. You’re going to get your butt out of bed. Plus, having someone to chat with while running can make it much more enjoyable.

Watch a Motivational Video

Limitless? Spirit of the Marathon? You’ll be ready to lace up before the movie is over.

Look for Online Motivation

Read about what your favorite running blogger’s recent race or check out pinterest for some motivation.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Even Olympic runners have bad days and bad runs. Take whatever you can from the “bad run” and move on. Beating yourself up over it isn’t going to help your motivation.

Celebrate the Small Victories

Didn’t hit your target pace on your tempo run? Well at least you made it out the door and finished your run.

no matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch

Ditch the Garmin

Run for the fun of it and enjoy yourself. Don’t put any time pressures on yourself.

Volunteer at a Race

Being on the other side of a race will probably make you wish you were running and will also inspire you as you watch so many others racing and competing.

How do you stay motivated?

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12 thoughts on “Running: How to Stay Motivated

  1. Beth @ Racing Robsons

    I found you via Fitness Friday.

    Great post and awesome advice! I love the part about running Garmin-less. Especially on easy runs, I think it’s important to ditch it so I don’t get caught up in going a certain pace. And, like you mentioned, signing up for races is always motivating. I just finished a blog post about it, but I currently have about 6 races planned for the next few months. It helps keep me excited. :)

  2. Sami

    Great post! I love the idea of setting weekly goals, it puts things in perspective so much better. I have a race goal in mind but it is months away. I’m a little nervous but I think setting a weekly goal will make it more realistic.

  3. Matilda

    Sometimes changing the time that you run can be a great motivator. Use to running in the morning, try evening instead.
    For me a great motivator is a new playlist. Nothing like new tunes to get you pumped.
    Great tips though, and I have done them all.

  4. Kate (@FitParentsAus)

    This is a FANTASTIC LIST!! I will be saving it for future reference. I also find downloading some new songs to listen to while out running helps a great deal, as well as buying a new top or running shorts. I will have to track down that movie, thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Kacie Post author

    thanks for the other suggestions everyone! I can’t believe I didn’t think to add music to the list. I usually run without music but on days when I’m having trouble getting out the door I will bring my ipod and it definitely helps!

  6. Jen @ Run Beside Me

    Stopping by from FF. Great post! Sometimes we get so caught up on the number of miles we’re supposed to run, or our pace, that we forget why we chose to run in the first place. For the love of lacing up our shoes and getting out there. I log all my runs on a post-it note type app on my phone, but I love your idea of physically writing it down. I would imagine that would make it all more meaningful. Anyways, stop by and say hello sometime! Looking forward to reading more!

  7. Chris

    Great Post! Really.. every tip is solid and at one point or another I have done all of them!
    One I might add is changing it up after a major race.. what I mean is if you just did a marathon (and had a long and tough high mileage training routine) than work on getting faster at a 5K (or the mile or the 400M.. why not?) for a couple of months. The speed will transfer over to your next long race and the change of pace (and reduced timed on the road) can be really motivating. I will never been one of those that does marathon after marathon.. I need to shake it up. I did a track series in June and am now training for my first 24 Hour race in December.. definitely a serious change :)
    Totally agree on the Spirit of the Marathon (worth buying for sure). I wasn’t as hip on SITM II (was an official reviewer from the producers) when I saw it at the theaters here
    It’s worth seeing but was a bit of a disappoint from the awesome original.
    Another one that is crazy motivating is “Racing on the Sun” about Badwater (but it looks like it is out of print.. ughh) and definitely Unbreakable (about the Western States 100) Even if you never run over a Half Marathon.. that movie just makes you want to press pause and go for a run! :)
    Great post and a great site!


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