Need some running motivation tips? Whether you’re training for a marathon, or getting started with Couch to 5K, you might find that your running motivation dips from time to time – it happens to us all!
We asked our Run Mummy Run community members for their advice to get motivated, and stay motivated, for those times when it’s hard to get your trainers on and out of the door.
Run Mummy Run: What running motivation tips can you share for days when you don’t feel like running?
“Sometimes I’ll say, ‘just one mile’ and usually by the time I’ve done one mile, I’ll do a couple more as I’m already out. A social run always motivates me as it feels like fun or chat rather than a run”. – Amy
“I have plenty of days like this! I try to remind myself that I don’t have to run a specific distance or a certain pace, I can simply run. I run for fun and wellbeing so reminding myself that these things aren’t subject to distance or pace really helps.” – Jenna
“I never ever regret getting out there and running; sometimes I run continuously and other times I jeff. I’ve set myself the challenge of competing an event every month of my 50th year. I’m not putting pressure on myself I’m ensuring I stay focused by giving myself something to aim for.” – Elizabeth
“I keep myself accountable by thinking about what sort of role model do I want to be for my little one. Generally one of the first things she asks me if she’s slept at her dads is, ‘Did you go for a run?’”– Helen
Run Mummy Run: Do you have any specific strategies for getting yourself out the door on those tough days?
“Putting on my running clothes before I can change my mind. Sometimes a running errand helps so running to the shop to buy the bread or milk we need.” – Amy
“It’s a bit silly, but I give myself a short countdown. In my head, I say a firm, ‘OK, in 5 seconds, get up and go for a run… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!’ I’ve never not listened to myself!” – Jenna
“If I’m having a difficult day, I put myself on autopilot, because I know once I’m out of the door, I will enjoy my run. I’ll be deciding what kit to wear, having checked the temperature, how far to go and which route to take, how many miles I’m running that week, etc. It focuses my mind.” – Heather
“On the days that I feel I don’t have a run inside me, I think of the moment I passed the finish line in London back in April and I remind myself of what I can achieve if I put the effort in.” – Elizabeth
“My strategy for getting out the door is telling myself that any distance is better than none. Generally once I get started I can then cover a decent distance. I also like to have a couple of races booked so I have something to ‘train’ for’” – Helen
Run Mummy Run: Have you found that running with a partner or group helps to keep you accountable and motivated?
“I love running with a friend. The miles feel easier, and it gets me out of the door at a set time rather than procrastinating.” – Amy
“Yes, very much. I do enjoy running alone sometimes, but I always feel motivated if someone else is joining me on a run. The time passes a bit quicker and it usually feels easier as there’s someone there to share the tough bits with. I enjoy chatty, social runs so group running is great for that. I always run further than I thought I would manage, when I run with a group.” – Jenna
Run Mummy Run: Are there any mental tricks or mantras that you use to push through the mental barriers of not feeling like running?
“I find running is often more of a mental battle. It’s a bit extreme, but this quote always come to mind: ‘Don’t give up now. If you give up now, you’ll be right back where you started. And when you were back where you started you were desperate to be where you are now’.” – Amy
“I know I love running so it’s always a paradox when I don’t feel like doing it. I repeat to myself, ‘Just get out the door, just get out the door’ as I know most of the barriers to running happen in my house – there’s too many chores left to do; I’m scrolling aimlessly through social media; I can’t be bothered to put all the kit on! Usually getting past the household barriers is enough, but if I’m really not feeling like it, I try to hone in on why. I do think there are some circumstances when I shouldn’t push through. For example, if it’s exhaustion or if emotionally I need to just stay at home, then I try to accept this and trust that not running is the right thing to do today and it’s just a temporary lull.” – Jenna
“Running is a gift and a joy. Trying to be the best version of [myself] is what motivates me and keeps me going. We are never too old! It’s never too late! At nearly 60 I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and have achieved more in my 50s than at any other time in my life! My first marathon was at 56. Remember, every run matters and every run makes a difference. Reason enough!” – Heather
Run Mummy Run: Do you find that having a set training plan or schedule helps to keep you motivated, or do you prefer to keep things more flexible?
“It’s a really personal thing, but I don’t like to follow a plan or schedule. I find it too demanding, too pressured and, for me, it sucks the fun out of running. I like to go with the flow, with just a rough framework in my head of what I’m hoping to achieve. I have trained for 2 marathons; once with a structured, but generic, marathon plan from the internet, and once with my own fairly flexible ‘this is what I want to do this week but if not, I’ll adapt’ plan. The first one, I was a DNS (did not start); I completely burnt out and ended up ill. With the latter, I loved the training, ran a great race and hit all my own personal targets. The structured plan took me to 20 miles in training, while with my own plan I got as far as 18, yet on race day, I was much better prepared than before and had a fantastic run that I’m so proud of. It’s such an individual thing though; I know lots of people who’ve had great success with structured training. There’s no one right way to run!” – Jenna
“I’ve never followed a plan in my life. I’ve come to know what works best for me and stick to it.” – Heather
Run Mummy Run: Have you ever taken a break from running altogether when you’re feeling unmotivated or burnt out? If so, how do you get back into it?
“I have. It can be quite scary as you feel like you’re ‘quitting’ or letting yourself and others down, or that it means you’re not a runner anymore – even though none of that is true!). I think in the past I have fluctuated between two extremes: not taking a break at all when I’ve needed it; and then taking a really long break because I’ve let myself get too burnt out. I’m going to try harder to remember that having breaks little and often can be a good thing, and not beat myself up if I miss a week of running. Hopefully this means I won’t have to take a longer, enforced break down the line due to lost mojo. I think a good tip for getting back into running after a break is to be forgiving of yourself. Don’t try to go straight back to where you were before and be proud of the small wins! It’ll feel like a slow process at first, but it’ll all come back quicker than you think once you settle back into it!” – Jenna
“The only breaks I have ever taken have been illness or injury breaks. It’s so hard to get going again after a break, so I try to work through with a very sympathetic physio who helps keep me going when and where he can, as he knows how beneficial running is not just physically, but mentally too.” – Heather
What would you add? Share your own running motivation tips in our Facebook community.
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