Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Training Tip: 4 Ways to Get Motivated When You Really Don't Want to Run

I've dealt with motivation issues a lot lately, having a wonky knee and missing my big goal race added a lot of discouragement. One thing gets me out of my routine and then it's so hard to get back into it. Sticking to a routine, especially one that involves getting up early in the morning when it's cold out, is hard work. Once you have the routine established it's a lot easier to stick to a training plan or schedule but how to you get there? How do you start or reestablish that routine when a big part of you doesn't have the drive, or has lost the motivation? As long as you're not dealing with real over-training, I think I can help.

Moms Run This Town is a great and free group to join


1. The most common piece of advice I've seen for motivating yourself to get out the door is to join a group. Committing to meet people is supposed to keep you accountable. This doesn't always work well for me, if I know it's a good sized group then I know I'm not leaving someone waiting for me or standing them up if I don't show. What works better for people like me is to agree to meet one or two people, that way if you don't show you're not just unreliable but you're a terrible person (okay, so you're not a murderer or anything, but you are a stealing someone's time and abusing their trust, which makes me feel terrible). So, make a plan to meet someone, stick to it, don't be a flake.


2. Make a deal with yourself. For every week that you stick to your plan, you buy yourself one new song to listen to. I try to stay away from food rewards but if that's what motivates you and you're trying to stick to an eating plan or lose weight, only allow yourself a cheat meal or special treat if you stick to your training plan all week. Some things that would work for me would be a new magazine, renting a movie through Amazon (since this is something I don't normally do), or getting a new flower/plant from the nursery.


3. Register for a race. Whether it's a big race like one of Disney's marathons or halfs, or even just a local 10k, registering for something gives you a goal to work toward. Who wants to back out at the last minute after paying for a race? Who wants to show up without training and suffer through it? It's important to make the goal race be a bit of a stretch for you. You don't want to sign up for a 5k if you're the type of runner who can knock a 5k out like it's nothing on very little training. If that is you, you can still do a 5k but give yourself a time goal. That particularly helps me because I hate speed work so when I see those days on my schedule I'm much more likely to skip them or just do an easy run instead. However, if I have a time goal, I know I need to get the work done to meet it. That's the point with registering for a goal race, you want it to be something you know you'll have to work for.

istock photo

If paying money and setting a goal isn't enough for you, combine it with one or both of the first two tips! Find a running buddy that runs about the same pace as you, pick a race to run together, and run all or most of your training runs together. This way you're keeping each other accountable. Combined with tip number 2, you would reward yourself if you meet your goal, whether that's completing the race or getting a new PR. Since you're now rewarding yourself for following your whole plan and meeting your goal, this can be a bigger splurge of course, maybe there's a new pair of running shoes or other gear you've been eyeing.


4. Find something to listen to and only listen to it when you run. It seems really simple, but this one has really worked well for me in the past. I think the first thing I tried this with was the Serial podcast. Unfortunately, season two hasn't been able to captivate me the way season one did so I've had to find other things to listen to. Whether it's a podcast or an audiobook, find something that keeps you wanting more, like a good mystery, or maybe a podcast or lecture where you're learning more about a subject you're really interested in. It may take a few tries to find something that really gets you hooked, but once you do, only allow yourself to listen to it when you run. This really works for me because running is pretty much the only time I have to myself where I can listen to something undisturbed. I'm also out of the house so I'm not going to be shamed into doing chores or distracted by Netflix. If you run on a treadmill though, Netflix is your friend here, instead of a book or podcast, find a show you're interested in and only watch it while you're running.

So, have you tried any of these methods before? Did they work? What else keeps you motivated to run?

Once you do have a routine established, it's important to stick to it. That might mean running the same days and times every week or always running every other day. Keeping that habit, even when you don't have a particular goal in mind (though I always like to have goals for my training), will do a lot to keep you out of that motivational rut.


4 comments:

  1. Good tips. I tend to bribe myself, too, including food (chocolate milk comes to mind) and nonfood (new gear). I see the email come from my favorite apparel company and I get a sudden urge to go run (Pavlov's dogs much?).

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I have a similar trigger (bell, I guess, lol) whenever I read about running I get the urge.

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  2. Consistency. Routine. Preparation.

    Make working out part of your life, not something you have to get "up" for. Have your workout clothes, fuel, accessories, etc. ready to go the night before.

    And remember: It's an optional activity. We do this because we love it. If you're continually trying to motivate yourself, maybe you need to find an activity you enjoy more.

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Yes, do what you love, if you don't love it find something else that you do love. I love running, I just have to find the balance, it's hard not to turn off the alarm as a mom of three little ones :)

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