• Heini Tallent

5 Runner Motivation Hacks

Some days, it can feel like too much to get out the door and run. Occasionally feeling low on energy is perfectly normal and could be a sign you just need some extra rest. However, after too many days of low motivation or skipping your runs, it’s even harder to bounce back.

Here are five ways to form healthy running habits that will reduce low motivation days and make it easier to stay disciplined.

1. Identify what motivates you

Think about your favorite runs. What made them so great? Was it the music you listened to? The time of day or place you ran? Did you run alone or with others? Sometimes it’s just a feeling, but if you can identify aspects that made a run rewarding, you can try to incorporate them when you feel uninspired.

If you can’t pinpoint anything in particular, try something new. Run in the morning instead of the afternoon (an excellent running tip for summer!), try classical music instead of pop songs, or run in the park instead of the neighborhood. Reflect on how it feels to switch things up.

2. Set goals

Setting a goal combats low motivation because having a “why” will help you lace up your shoes on days when the couch is calling your name.

Pick something simple. Anything that lights you up is great. If the goal doesn’t make you excited (and maybe even a little scared), then it’s not for you.

You can choose two types of goals: An outcome goal, like setting a personal best, completing a specific distance, achieving a qualifying time, or running a bucket list race. Or a process goal that is more about changing habits and setting small milestones. For example, you can aim to run three times weekly to reach your half marathon goal or train for a 5K on your way to attempting a 10K.

3. Plan it out

You need a map to get you to those goals, which you will find in a training plan. Look for a plan that meets you where you currently are and takes you where you want to go in a healthy, safe, and gradual way. Consider your other commitments, too, to make sure that your training plan is realistic for your life schedule.

A training plan takes the decision-making and guessing out of your workouts, boosting motivation by making it simpler to get out.

4. Track your training

Progress is not linear, so it’s easy to believe that sometimes you’re not excelling. By tracking your training, you can see trends of improvement and success markers that will spur you on. Seeing evidence of your progress is a great motivator to keep going!

There’s no wrong way to track your progress, as long as you do so consistently. Try a training app (such as Garmin, Strava, or Runkeeper), a paper journal, or even a simple spreadsheet on your computer. As you get closer to race day, it can be a huge confidence boost to look through your training log to see the work you’ve put in.

5. Lean on community

Accountability is critical, and we’ve seen women runners transform by the power of community. Your circle of runners can encourage and inspire you on days you feel like throwing in the towel. Ask a friend in your corner to join you when you crave friendly competition. When you need extra support, chat with them about your difficulties. Talking to people who can relate is sometimes all that is needed to push past mental barriers.

The Elements Running Education group programs connect like-minded women runners and offer expertise from a certified running coach, delivering accountability and encouragement to keep you committed to the sport you love. We’d love for you to join us so we can cheer each other on throughout our running journeys!

For more motivation tips, including a 5-day plan to boost motivation – complete with printable worksheets, journal prompts and templates – subscribe to our newsletter.

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