Monday, June 15, 2009

25 Tips to Keep You Motivated on the Run!

New runners dealing with the physical pain of beginning a running program. The everyday runner whose work and family commitments leave little time for running. The elite runner who’s burned out from consistent training. No matter if your a novice or an elite runner, at one point or another, lack of motivation can become a problem for some. If you're not careful and you don't take time to refocus and re-motivate, before you know it, 5 runs a week turns into 4, turns into 3, turns into none. Does this sound like you or does it sound like a running buddy of yours? If so, try one or more of the 25 motivation tips below to help you or your friend regain the fun in running.

1 • Setting realistic goals—shooting for the moon is great, but don't set yourself up for failure. If you're just beginning to run, maybe a 5K or 10K is a more realistic goal rather than a marathon in 6 months.
2 • Tell people about your goals—having the support of others while working on your goal can be very motivating. Also, when others know about your goal you'll feel more accountable for your training.
3 • Remember the good you're doing—don't forget how easily those pounds come back if you stop running.
4 • Improve on race times—set a goal to get a PR in a favorite race.
5 • Spice it Up!—do your weekly routine in reverse; begin a run at the end of a familiar route and run to the start; throw in a fartlek; add something, anything to your normal routine to break the monotony.
6 • Run with a friend—a long run with a friend can seem half the distance of running that same route alone. Running with someone a little faster than you can provide the extra little challenge you've needed.
7 • Take a short break—if you're truly worn-down physically or mentally, let yourself "officially" take a week off. Use this time to refocus and set some running goals for yourself. Then when you "get back to it" you'll have a refreshed outlook and a refreshed body.
8 • Add some cross training—not only will cross-training (swimming, cycling, hiking, walking, strength training, etc.) add some variety to your week, it will also strengthen other muscle groups that can actually end up improving your running.
9 • Keep a log—monitoring your progress in a hand-written log or on an online log such as, can help you see trends in your training. It also holds you more accountable for your training. Nobody likes to see a blank week in their log.
10 • Have a running mantra—when the going gets tough, having a mantra or saying that you can repeat to yourself can really help pull you out of some tough times during a run. For mantra ideas [click here].
11 • Celebrate accomplishments—reward yourself when you reach that new milestone, no matter how small. Buy that new pair of shoes, get those racing shorts you've been looking at, go to a movie, do something to acknowledge your achievements.
12 • Have fun—"fun" is a relative term. Hard to believe you're having "fun" when you're sore, tired, and hungry on a 20-mile run, but if you're a runner you definitely can. If you're not experiencing that fun, then you may be over training. Re-evaluate your workout routine and pull back some or throw in some more cross training days. Do a fun race you've been wanting to do. Make sure you're doing some runs with your running buddies to help boost your spirits.
13 • Get some new running duds—admit it, you know when you put on that new outfit for work, it makes you feel good, hip, in style, current. Same thing can happen with your running attire. If you're still running in your knee-high tube socks and terry-cloth sweatband, maybe a new running wardrobe is called for.
14 • Make a running playlist—running to some upbeat tunes can help keep you motivated and on pace in your runs. Create your own playlist or download one specifically created for working out and/or running. [Click here] for some ideas.
15 • Map out some new running routes—running the same routes over and over can get very old. Explore a new route. Check with your local parks & recreation department to make sure you're aware of all the available running trails, parks, and greenways in your community. Try an online mapping site such as where you can map your own routes as well as check out routes of others in your area.
16 • Leave your watch at home—focusing so much on time, can sometimes drain the fun out of your runs. Try leaving that watch at home and just enjoy running.
17 • Seize the moment—if an opportunity arises for you to run even though it’s not your normal scheduled time, take it! Go run!
18 • Watch a good running-related movie—A movie like Run Fat Boy Run will surely get you motivated.
19 • Read a good running-related book—the cult novel Once a Runner, will have you refocused in no time.
20 • Join a running social site—social running sites such as are a great way to stay connected with other runners. If you're the only runner in your family or circle of friends you may or may not get the support or understanding you need, but at a site like, your running buddies are just a click away!
21 • Run for a cause—Join a training group that raises money for a charity such as Team in Training for the Leukemia Society or the Arthritis Foundation's Joints in Motion.
22 • Take time to smell the roses—If you're fortunate like me and have awesome greenways to run on, take a moment and slow down on a run and just appreciate the flora and fauna around you. You'll be surprised how it will reinvigorate your running.
23 • Post your running schedule for all to see—Somehow when something is in writing, it holds more importance. If your running seems to get pushed aside, try posting a calendar or schedule of when you're running for the rest of your family to see.
24 • Take a trip—pick a race (could be a 10K, half marathon, full marathon or whatever) to run each year in a fun location away from home. Make the training and the trip itself an adventure. Take some time to explore the city you visit before and/or after the big run.
25 • Start a blog—create a blog and use it as an online journal of your running adventures. There's an entire world of running bloggers out there who are ready to support you and learn from you, as well as teach you a few things.
Check out the video clip below and hear what motivates James, a young runner, to run.

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Ann said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! I love running and I am such a sap but WOW, I love this video. Thank you very much for posting it.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Ann! Thanks for the feedback!The young runner who made the video clip definitely has a strong will and huge determination.

Tanya said...

I had no idea, when I started running, that such a big aspect would be the mental side. Now, that's something that really intrigues me and I've used every trick in the book to keep going! The video truly sums up why we runners do what we do. Truly inspirational-thanks for sharing!

Running Through Life said...

Great Advice! Sometimes we all need another reason to keep things going and fresh.

IraFromSyosset said...

Great video! thanks for sharing it!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Tanya! Yep, that video was a great find. You're right, there's a lot more to running than just the actual moving of the ole feet. Thanks for reading and your support!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Running Through Life! Yep, we all need reminders from time to time. As I was writing this post it really helped me remember to enjoy what I'm doing and concentrate so much on time and figures. Thanks for the support!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks for reading, Ira!

Kathleen said...

Those are some great tips! It's nice to have so many of them all together in such a concise form.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Kathleen! Thanks! Hope you find them helpful!

Matt (No Meat Athlete) said...

My favorite tip is #2. Telling as many people as you can about your goals and commitments is such a great way to make sure they happen! Most people will do so much more to save face for others than they ever will for themselves.

I don't know about #1 though...I'm definitely in the "set huge goals" camp. More realistic goals don't get me out the door when it's raining, I like the ones that make people laugh when I tell them. That's what keeps me going.

RunnerDude said...

Hey NoMeatAthlete! I'm kind of with you on #2 as well. I was thinking that would be good for newbies to running who already have the huge challenge of just getting started. I kind of like shooting for the stars sometimes too.

Lady Southpaw said...

Hey these are great! It was cool to go back and look at mantras too. Quality stuff :)

RunnerDude said...

Hey Lady Southpaw! Thanks for the feedback, Erin! Be sure to let me know when The Songs for Running has been released!

Lady Southpaw said...

It's live on Amazon!

Still waiting on iTunes...

Didn't watch the video the first time around on this, truly amazing! I just posted a song on my blog with a similar theme:

Michelle said...

Running is so awesome! I love running and I am so happy to have it in my life!!!

Great video!!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey LadySouthpa! Awesome! I'm headed to Amazon now!!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Michelle! Me too!!