I could share hundreds of ideas on getting and staying motivated to get out and run. Unfortunately, I don’t have the finger strength, and I doubt any of you have the interest in reading all of those. So I’ll focus on five main ideas that can help you get up, get dressed, and get out the front door.
#1. Value-based goal setting
I’m not one for creating and targeting random goals. My philosophy is ‘if you don’t believe in it, you won’t try for it.’ This is something that applies to all aspects of our life. Goals should reflect our deepest desires and values.
Basing your plans around those will guarantee success. For example, if running to lose weight is your goal, your goals should not be on miles or race results but weekly weigh-ins, healthy eating, running duration (walking & running), and effort. On the other hand, if you want to achieve a new personal record in your next 5k or 10k, your goals should reflect the effort it will take to shave off those minutes and seconds. These goals will help you focus and motivate you to get out and start training.
#2. Sign up
Often just signing up for an event is enough to motivate you to get out the door when the back of your eyelids is telling you to stay in bed. Once you’ve put out the money, you are committed. That commitment will carry over to getting you psyched to get to work. I have a close friend whose entire running career was based around that first time he signed up for a sprint triathlon and wanted to finish well. Twelve weeks and 50lbs later, he was a machine ready to race. He is now a successful ultra and mountain runner.
#3. Make it public
Tell the world. Scream it from the hilltops. Tweet, Facebook, email, or even hang a sign in the window. Holding yourself accountable will guarantee you won’t give up. Not only will you feel the pressure to live up to your commitments, but when everyone knows, they will get on board and help you achieve your goals. I’ve seen this work for people in all aspects of running, from those who want to lose 5 lbs. to those who have committed to running their first 100-mile ultra-marathon. It’s incredible what holding yourself accountable to others can do.
#4. Find a partner
Like making your goals public, having a personal running buddy automatically makes you accountable. It makes it easier to get up when you know you have to be up and out of bed to meet your training partner at 5 am. Having a training partner is also helpful when trying to go farther and faster. They can motivate you to go the extra distance when you’d instead stop for a donut or push more quickly on that interval when you’d instead slack off. Having someone who shares the same goals and values towards running is just icing on the cake!
#5. Seek out inspiration
This is an exciting source of motivation and highly diverse. I often get motivated by watching YouTube videos. As a mountain runner, I watch ultra-marathon races or adventure runs videos. It doesn’t need to be about that. I’m often motivated by videos of people who have shown a lifestyle change resulting from their dedication to running. You can be inspired by role models or heroes, people you can admire and who are worthy of admiration and emulation.
Whether you know the person or not, they can be a great source of motivation. Maybe they aren’t even a runner, just someone that helps you find the better you when you need it most.
When you say “as I said,” do you mean that “there are dozens. In some small way, I hope that these five tips will hit home and help you achieve your goals. My motivation is simple; the dirt on the trails, the leaves on the trees, and the summit of mountains get me out there, rain or shine.
I enjoy outdoor activities, especially hiking in the mountains. I find it hard to imagine a better person to follow than.