8 Ways to Stay Motivated to Run

Improve Your Running Motivation

Maintaining your motivation is critical to sustaining your running habit. Try some of these ideas to help you stay motivated to run:

Start Your Own Running Tradition

Marathon runners.
Kristian Sekulic/Vetta/Getty Images

Pick one race that you run every year. You'll look forward to training for and running in the race, and you'll stay motivated to keep your "streak" alive. Try to get some friends or family members to do the race with you, so you can all make it an annual event.
Also see: How to Find Local Road Races

Be Prepared

Runner's Tote Bag
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Keep a bag packed with running clothes and shoes in your car. You'll be prepared to take advantage of any unexpected opportunity to run. Even if you can only run for 20 minutes, some running is better than no running, and it will help you maintain your running habit.

Run on Mondays

When I'm planning out my weekly workouts, I always try to make sure I get a run or workout in on Monday. Why Mondays? Starting out the week with a run sets the tone and pattern for the rest of the week. You're beginning the week the way you want the rest of it to go.

Running on Monday also helps if you know you want to get in a certain number of runs during the week. It means that you're starting the week with one already under your belt.

Feeling that sense of accomplishment so early in the week gives you a boost of motivation and confidence that you can take through the week.

Also, social events are less likely to pop up on a Monday evening, so your evening running plans are unlikely to get derailed by a last-minute invitation to dinner. You can make it to the gym without feeling like you're missing out on something. And, let's face it, Mondays can be stressful! Running is a great stress reliever and a good way to help you deal with the challenges of a new week. 

"Adopt" a New Runner

Two women running
Photo by Chase Jarvis

It's always motivating and exciting to watch someone who's new to running get interested in and enthused about the sport. If you know someone who wants to run, but doesn't know how to get started, offer your assistance. You can provide him or her with some basic training advice and gear knowledge and, more importantly, much-needed encouragement. Consider going on some runs with this person. Although running with him or her may not be challenging physically for you, seeing the sport through a new runner's eyes will help renew your motivation.
Also see: 9 Ways to Help Beginner Runners

Run In the Morning

Snow running
Snow running. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Whenever I run in the morning, I always feel like I gained a couple of hours during the day. I love not feeling pressure to run in the evening, since I already got my miles done in the morning. Finding time to run in the evening always get tough when work and home responsibilities start popping up. Runners who run early in the day are more consistent with their running than those who try to do it later on.
Also see: How to Find More Time to Run

Take a Break

Man and Woman walking

Giving yourself breaks in training is important for staying motivated and preventing injuries. For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular recovery periods. Build rest days into your weekly running schedule, and plan for "recovery weeks" (when you decrease your overall weekly mileage) every four weeks. Also, make sure to work cross-training, such as walking, biking, or swimming, into your training schedule, so you don't get burned out (mentally and physically) from running every day.

Be Creative

Hill Running
Hill Running. Photo by David Madison

You'll get bored or burned out if you keep doing the same workouts days after day. Change your runs by finding some new running routes or adding speed or hill repeats to your workouts.
Also see: 6 Ways to Not Be a Lazy Runner

Place Your Inspiration Prominently

Woman on computer
Photo by Tripod

Surround yourself with reminders and stimuli that will inspire you to run. For example, place running books or magazines on your coffee table, make one of your race photos your screen saver on your computer, or post motivational running quotes in prominent places, like your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
Also see: Run Like an Olympian

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