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7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Run

Improve Your Running Motivation


Updated June 14, 2014

Maintaining your motivation is critical to sustaining your running habit. Try some of these ideas to help you stay motivated to run:

1. Start Your Own Running Tradition

Marathon runners.
Kristian Sekulic/Vetta/Getty Images
Pick one race that you run every year. You'll look forward to training for and running in the race, and you'll stay motivated to keep your "streak" alive. Try to get some friends or family members to do the race with you, so you can all make it an annual event.
Also see: How to Find Local Road Races

2. Be Prepared

Overland Montecito gym bag
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
Keep a bag packed with running clothes and shoes in your car. You'll be prepared to take advantage of any unexpected opportunity to run. Even if you can only run for 20 minutes, some running is better than no running, and it will help you maintain your running habit.

3. "Adopt" a New Runner

Two women running
Photo by Chase Jarvis
It's always motivating and exciting to watch someone who's new to running get interested in and enthused about the sport. If you know someone who wants to run, but doesn't know how to get started, offer your assistance. You can provide him or her with some basic training advice and gear knowledge and, more importantly, much-needed encouragement. Consider going on some runs with this person. Although running with him or her may not be challenging physically for you, seeing the sport through a new runner's eyes will help renew your motivation.
Also see: 9 Ways to Help Beginner Runners

4. Run In the Morning

Snow running
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Whenever I run in the morning, I always feel like I gained a couple of hours during the day. I love not feeling pressure to run in the evening, since I already got my miles done in the morning. Finding time to run in the evening always get tough when work and home responsibilities start popping up. Runners who run early in the day are more consistent with their running than those who try to do it later on.
Also see: How to Find More Time to Run

5. Take a Break

Man and Woman walking
Giving yourself breaks in training is important for staying motivated and preventing injuries. For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular recovery periods. Build rest days into your weekly running schedule, and plan for "recovery weeks" (when you decrease your overall weekly mileage) every four weeks. Also, make sure to work cross-training, such as walking, biking, or swimming, into your training schedule, so you don't get burned out (mentally and physically) from running every day.

6. Be Creative

Hill Running
Photo by David Madison
You'll get bored or burned out if you keep doing the same workouts days after day. Change your runs by finding some new running routes or adding speed or hill repeats to your workouts.
Also see: 6 Ways to Not Be a Lazy Runner

7. Place Your Inspiration Prominently

Woman on computer
Photo by Tripod
Surround yourself with reminders and stimuli that will inspire you to run. For example, place running books or magazines on your coffee table, make one of your race photos your screen saver on your computer, or post motivational running quotes in prominent places, like your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
Also see: Run Like an Olympian
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