|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.
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.
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.