We all have those days where running is the last thing we want to do. Whether it’s from a stressful day at work, the pouring rain or you’re just dreading that weekly long run, lack of motivation is not uncommon for us runners.
When that self-doubt kicks in our brains always try to convince us why we shouldn’t go for a run. Why skipping the run is the better option.
It’s too cold out. I’m tired. I’m just not feeling it today.
We know we need to shut that voice up and go for that run. But it’s never just always easy. Here are the strategies I use to smash through that self-doubt and get my run even when I’m feeling unmotivated or uninspired.
1. Just Run One
Some days it’s tough to even make it out the front door, let alone run more than a couple of miles. If I really don’t want to run, I tell myself that I only have to run one mile. Outloud (yes I talk to myself). Even if my plan says 10 miles, I tell myself I just need to go and run one mile, then I can come home.
Doing this helps me overcome the mental hurdle created by my lack of motivation. Once I’m running and my blood is flowing, I inevitably feel great and then am able to mentally handle the remainder of my scheduled run. It’s a small mental tweak that can make a huge difference.
2. Move & Dance
Everyone has that one song that puts them in a great mood. For me, it’s some kind of rap/hip-hop — usually Drake. When I’m really lacking motivation, I’ll throw in my headphones, blast my favorite song, and dance! (Tip: I also close my door so my roommates don’t have to see my horrible dance moves!)
The song alone is a great way to get my spirits up. But, by adding in some dance moves I’m able to get my blood flowing, in turn increasing my mood and eventually creating that motivation to make it out the front door.
3. Motivational Speech
I know these aren’t for everyone, but motivational speeches really get me in the zone. I usually listen to one of my favorites as I’m getting dressed and tying up my shoes before the run. It’s become part of my little pre-run ritual that gets me motivated to attack my goals.
There are literally millions of inspirational/motivational videos on YouTube. From running to success to living a happier, more fulfilled life. I recommend finding 5 or 6 videos that really resonate with you to lean on when the motivation seems to be nonexistent.
Here’s one of my go-to video:
4. Revisit Your Goals
I oftentimes find that my lack of motivation stems from simply forgetting why I started in the first place. Sometimes I just lose sight of my goal.
When I’m struggling to run I take a couple of minutes to review my original goal. But more importantly, I make sure to imagine how it will feel when I accomplish that goal. And what type of emotions I’ll have if I don’t accomplish it.
This simple exercise helps remind me why I started in the first place and usually kicks me back into gear. Whether it’s to run a marathon, to look better, or simply to feel better/healthier — it helps to revisit the reason for running in the first place.
When all else fails, I usually resort to coffee or pre-workout to get the juices flowing. Now obviously this can backfire as us runners already have enough stomach issues to worry about.
That said if I have a short run scheduled and nothing else is working, I find that a small cup of coffee or pre-workout about 45 minutes before my run will boost my energy and mood.
All in all, I simply use these strategies to help me make it the door and get me started. Once I’m 5–10 minutes into the run, I let the endorphins do the rest. The mood-boosting effects of a run can last up to 24 hours, possibly enough time to keep you motivated in time for your next run.