Running is just about the easiest physical activity to take up. This simplicity, though, can also be a negative when it comes to maintaining motivation. While there are scores of dedicated runners who stay on top of their training and have fun while doing so, there are countless others who struggle to bring themselves to lace up and hit the pavement.
The explanations are many: it’s painful, it’s boring, it’s lonely, and so on. It may seem this way to casual runners, but while it isn’t often a case of love at first sight, there are many ways to ensure that you stay motivated and get the most out of this hugely beneficial form of exercise.
Switch Things Up
If you’re doing the same thing over and over again, it’s no wonder you’re starting to get bored with your training, and struggling to stay motivated. Doing the same circuit around your neighborhood every day is a sure fire way to fall out of love with your running, so why not try something new? Finding a great view can take your mind off the discomfort or boredom you may be feeling, whether it’s the park, the beach or along the bank of a river. If the views aren’t great where you live, why not take a short drive, park the car, and enjoy the new scenery?
Set Yourself Goals
Some people might just run for the health benefits, or even the fun of it, without worrying too much about their time, but it’s a lot easier to stay on the right track if you’re working towards something measurable. If you’re competitive, then trying to get that little bit better every time is a fantastic form of motivation, and seeing your times come down gradually can be quite rewarding. Running in official events could be one realistic goal, whether it’s a local 5K race or even a marathon. If you’re allied with a cause such as a charity, especially if you have a personal connection to it, then you’ll work that much harder knowing you’re helping others. Even if not, paying the registration fee alone means you’re more invested in your training and putting up a good show.
Maybe you love running for the peace and alone time it provides. Others, however, need the camaraderie and support that comes from running with someone else. It could be a friend, partner, or a running club. Having another person there with you is a great form of motivation; it makes you hold yourself accountable and makes it harder to quit, which could result in you dragging yourself to new heights that you didn’t even know were possible, and helps you get into a routine.
Play Some Tunes
Left alone with your thoughts, you might be all too aware of how your lungs are bursting, and your legs are on fire. If you’ve got some music playing, there are few better distractions and ways to take your mind off the physical aspect of running. You can’t deny how motivating it is to get to a challenging section of road only to have your favorite song come on and help push you through it with a new spring in your step. What music is best? Well, everyone is different; some like heavy metal, others prefer electronic music, while you might have a soft spot for classic rock. Whatever gets you through when you’d otherwise think of quitting is the best choice, but it’s a good idea to update your running playlist frequently, so you don’t get sick of the same few songs.
Do What Works for You
Hopefully, some of these ideas have given you some inspiration, and something to work with the next time you go out running. Whatever your reasons for doing so, whether for the health and fitness benefits, the competition, or the peacefulness, it’s important that you stick to your training and be the best version of yourself both physically and mentally. Not everything will work, and these are just a few of the many ways to stay motivated, but try them out and see which is best for you. If you tough it out, you’ll see how beneficial and rewarding (and also enjoyable) running can be.