Running has enriched the quality of my life in so many ways, and yet finding the motivation to head outside still isn’t always easy. It occurred to me on Global Running Day, as I was thinking through my reasons for running and loving the sport, that it’s really too bad more people don’t get past those struggles to experience all running has to offer.
The uphill battles running often presents are enough to make us question our sanity and do anything we can to distance ourselves from the pain.
Overcoming Running Obstacles: Week 1
For the next four weeks, I’m going to be writing a series of articles dedicated to overcoming running obstacles. The benefits of running far outweigh the struggles and pain, but that doesn’t make the struggles any less significant. Each and every runner encounters an uphill battle at some point on the roads, whether they are a beginner or a pro.
Even before lacing up your shoes and getting started, you’ll most likely encounter a challenge. That challenge is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons why so many give up on the sport.
Low running motivation.
Whether you’re a brand-new runner lacing up for the first time, or a seasoned pro feeling a tad burnt out, low running enthusiasm is something we’ve all struggled with.
There are those days when you get home from work and all you want to do is plant yourself on the couch for the rest of the night. Or those moments in the middle of marathon training when you’ve just lost the desire to run another long run. And those first few weeks of trying to increase your speed or mileage, after the excitement of setting a new goal fades, feel like a constant uphill battle.
Struggling with having no running motivation is an obstacle that all runners face. Luckily, in most cases, it’s possible to regain that running motivation and feel inspired to lace up once again.
If you are determined to keep running and conquer that loss of running interest, there are a few simple ways to make that happen. Here’s what to do when your running motivation fades, and how to regain your mojo.
5 Ways to Overcome Low Running Motivation
Mix up your workouts.
Eventually, running often begins to feel monotonous. Whether you run 2 days a week or 6, you’ll eventually become familiar with the pounding of your feet and twists and turns of your regular route. Familiarity can sometimes be our own worst enemy. Running no longer feels as exciting; there are no regular PRs or new sights. We hit a plateau and suddenly find ourselves with no running motivation left.
In times like these, it’s important to mix up your workouts. Whether that means incorporating a shorter speed workout, running a new route, or adding some strength training moves to the middle of your run is up to you. Find something new and add it to your weekly routine – even if it’s just once a week. Try out a new interval run, a treadmill run, or fartlek run. Once you find something new and exciting your running enthusiasm is bound to return.
Set a goal.
Heading out the door with no purpose is bound to leave you with no running motivation at some point. If you’ve lost your running motivation because you don’t know what the point is anymore, you need a goal.
Setting a running goal doesn’t have to mean signing up for a marathon or winning 1 place in your local 5k. A simple goal, such as running a 400 faster than you did last week, or running half a mile further before turning around is usually enough to keep you motivated. Set a goal and then break it down into manageable chunks that you’ll be able to accomplish on a regular basis.
Creating a goal gives your running a fresh spin, and helps each mile feel purposeful. If you’re stuck in a routine and don’t want to run anymore, try setting a new goal for your workouts.
Run somewhere new.
The monotony you feel running the same routes day in and day out leaves very little to the imagination. Running quickly becomes something you could do with your eyes closed, which really zaps the excitement. Try a new route or local trail. If you regularly run on the sidewalk, check out a trail through the woods.
Trying something new keeps things interesting and helps you regain running interest. A new route could be challenging or simply provide new scenery to observe. You may discover new hills or flat roads that are perfect for racing. Keep your mind engaged by mixing up your routes and try something new.
Join a group or run with a friend.
If you’re stuck in a rut with no running motivation, there’s no better way to regain that enthusiasm than finding someone who will hold you accountable. It’s so easy to let low running motivation take over and convince you to skip a run when you’re the only one who’s counting on it.
Once you get a friend or group involved, you are responsible for showing up for more than just yourself. Having others with you on your run may be enough to help you regain your desire to run and feel excited about logging some miles. You may meet someone new, find someone who pushes you, or just listen along for some laughs.
Designate a break.
When you feel like you’ve tried everything possible and still have low running motivation, it’s time to take a break. Even just a short break (for a day or two) can help you mentally refocus. If you have no desire to run anymore, listen to your body and give it a few days off.
Take some time to rest, relax and not feel guilty. After a few days, you may find yourself wanting to get back out there. If you’re doubtful as to whether or not you’ll actually return after a break, schedule one into your training plan. Plan to take two days off, a week off, or a month off – whatever you choose, write it in! Writing something down holds us accountable. We know ahead of time when this break will end, giving us less opportunities to make excuses to extend it.
Get to the bottom of it.
Whenever I find myself losing running motivation or feeling burnt out, I make a point to determine why this might be. Have I been running just because I feel like I have to? Am I working towards any goals? Has it been a long time without a break?
Asking yourself questions like these will help you determine what needs to be done to fix it. Running is a truly wonderful sport, but that doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses. Persevering through those moments where you have no running motivation strengthens your willpower, which will make you stronger on the run. Pushing through those tough moments makes the reward that much sweeter.