You may have achieved making running a habit in your everday life. However, you know the times all too well when you struggle with maintaining your running motivation and the little devils in your head trick your mind into staying at home in order to enjoy pure laziness. While this may be a good treat once in a while, you can make use of several tips and strategies that let you stay active and help you defeat your weaker self in the long run.
Pursue a goal
A critical key to maintaining running motivation consists in defining a clear goal that you aspire to reach in the near future. Goals can be as unique as you are as an individual runner with your very own needs. First, think about the type of goal you would like to pursue, which can be losing weight, reaching a certain running mileage and/or duration as well as improving your average pace for a chosen distance. Second, pick a date by which you intend to have reached your defined goal state. If you are just starting out, this should not be too far in the future (e.g. 3-6 months) so that you have better control over your short-term progress. However, such smaller goals or so-called milestones can eventually be part of an overall goal that you may define for 1 year or longer from now. Third, think about a concrete target value for your defined goal that pushes your comfort zone but still feels achievable to you. Once your goal is set, keeping a schedule can work wonders to maintain your running motivation.
Run with friends
It can often be helpful to have at least one other person to hold you accountable for completing your scheduled workouts, even better if you have a friend with a similar goal. Meeting frequently for working out together contributes even better to forming a habit. Besides, running together with friends is even more fun while pushing one another to reach a new personal best. In case you do not have a close running friend to rely on, simply join one of many online communities for runners and take part in their virtual challenges e.g. offered by Strava, Endomondo and others.
Discover new routes
We often tend to have only a few selected running routes that we make use of even though our living area may offer so much more variety to enjoy. There are many ways to research new routes such as browsing Google Maps or find routes already created by other runners and published in the aforementioned online communities. If you are a more of the spontaneous type, rely on the navigation of your smartphone or smart watch to run based on your own intuition but always have control over returning safely to the starting point.
Get new shoes and gear
Buying new running shoes or other equipment such as new shorts or a fancy running jacket may give you a better feeling to go out and be more active. Having made a significant monetary investment into your training efforts can additionally fuel your running motivation but should never replace your underlying intrinsic drive to make progress. You can also reward yourself once you have achieved a certain goal and shop for new running gear.
Alternate your workout routine
While running may appear monotonous from time to time, it does not have to be that way. Spice up your workout routine by adding interval runs, hill runs or sprints to your weekly schedule. Not only will it be more fun but also more effective in reaching your goal. Another tip consists in trying new sports and activity types that let you recover from your running efforts more easily such as going for a swim or yoga.
Depending on the specific factors that weaken your own running motivation, you may need to develop additional strategies that work for you. Let us know what keeps you going and lets you achieve your goals.