Have you ever looked at other runners and envied what seems to be a natural ease to conquer their daily workouts and their intense dedication to everything running?
A lack of running motivation is more common than you think and can be due to numerous causes, such as stress in the workplace or at home or simply a lack of habits and goal planning.
Whatever the reason, let’s try and use running and our workouts to our advantage to help pump up our running motivation.
Each of us is motivated and inspired in different ways. What works to boost one’s running motivation level is not a sure-fire hack for someone else.
I have put together the following running motivation hacks that help me get revved up for each workout and keep me excited and motivated to keep on going day after day. Some may seem a bit silly, but give them a try and see which ones work for you. I hope I can help get your running motivation firing on all cylinders!
Let’s jump in!
Running Motivation Hacks To Propel Your Training
#1 Set Attainable Goals
Maybe this is an obvious one, but many runners out there lose their motivation for not having a clear plan and concrete reasons as to why they are running. Yes, some may just love to get out there and pound the pavement or race through the trails, but most of us need a north.
Set short and long-term goals that are specific, concrete, and attainable.
The best way to do this is to choose a goal race. Whether it be your first 5k, a marathon, or an ultra, choose a long-term goal race that will amp up your running motivation.
Would you like to use your race to travel somewhere you’ve never been? Or run a local race that your town is always raving about?
Either way, make plans, sign up, and feel that sense of commitment. Now you have to train because you want to be well-prepared to have an incredible race.
Set short-term goals in between so your long-term plan doesn’t seem so far off that you may procrastinate and feel you have plenty of time to go.
Enter shorter competitions as milestones throughout your training, work on a training-plan running streak (respecting your planned rest days, of course), or choose a specific aspect of your running to improve, like cadence, form, speed, or strength.
The next couple of running motivation hacks are silly little things I like to do daily, but they really help me get out the door.
#2: Take A Quick Rinse Before Your Run
Now, I’m not expecting anyone to get up even earlier than necessary when we know it can be tough enough to get up for these early-morning sessions. I’m talking about a super-quick rinse-off.
Take a 1-2 minute rinse in the shower, preferably cold or cool water, with an invigorating body wash that will tap into your senses and energize yourself to the max.
You’ll feel fresh, squeaky clean, and ready to conquer the world.
Brushing my teeth after my pre-run snack is another one that helps me out. It just adds to that morning-fresh feeling.
This hack doesn’t just apply to a morning run; it works the same for an afternoon workout. After working all day, whether sitting in an office or being up and about, taking that rinse off will help boost your mood.
#3 Look Forward To Your Pre-Run Snack
I feel I’m not the only runner who looks forward to food, in general. Yes, I have the “I run because I really like cookies” teeshirt, and I will run for a long list of delicious treats.
Plan and eat a pre-run snack that you love, so you look forward to waking up in the morning, running into the kitchen, and devouring it.
Mine is a peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal ball. It’s like eating a Reese’s cup! I know that when that alarm goes off at 4:30 am every morning, the first thing I’m going to do is enjoy that energy ball, and it gets me right out of bed.
If you don’t often eat before a run, then make your exciting meal breakfast. Don’t just eat something to eat something. Make it special, something you will always look forward to and enjoy.
#4: Keep Your Training Interesting
Instead of running at the same pace, on the same route, for the same amount of time every day, mix it up! Running in a monotonous manner isn’t just dull but doesn’t prove to be the best way to improve all facets of your running.
Keep your training plan interesting with a variety of workout types.
There are endless options such as intervals, tempo runs, Fartlek runs, hill sprints, progression runs, and more. At least once or twice a week, when you aren’t focusing on your aerobic base, spice up your training plan with some more exciting workouts.
It’s best not to just “wing it,” though. You’ll want some help planning those workouts, but we’ll get to that later.
Switch up your routes every now and again. Doing so during the work week may be tricky as just getting training sessions in can be challenging. Therefore, try switching up your routes for your long runs.
Travel a bit, and explore new terrain. It’s worth taking a bit more time to plan, so when you get to your run, the experience will be running motivation in and of itself.
#5 Hang Your Training Plan On The Fridge
First, following a well-thought-out training plan crafted by a professional directed at your specific goal is essential.
That way, you’ll not only know exactly what to do each morning and have a particular purpose and objective, but you’ll be improving!
After you have your race or goal-specific training plan, go old school.
Print out your training plan and stick it up on the fridge.
Get pumped about your workouts, load them into your watch, and after completing them, check them off, X them out, or throw a sticker on there. You can also do this digitally, but I find it more fun to actually cross it off with a marker.
Checking off each day becomes an obsession. You won’t want to have unmarked boxes at the end of the month, so this running motivation hack pushes you to be consistent.
#6: Keep A Running Log
I see this running motivation hack in two ways, high-tech and old-school.
Let’s look at the more tech-oriented crowd first. Nowadays, we don’t need to actually write down what we ran because apps such as Strava and Garmin Connect track all of our workouts, each mile, each heartbeat, everything.
For some, a digital log is incredible running motivation as you can get lost in endless stats and track your progress to a T. If you love numbers, get into it. Learn about the interminable features your watch has to offer and track your progress with each different piece of data.
If you aren’t very into the tech world but perhaps like journaling, put together a manual running log. Include columns such as workout type, mileage, time, heart rate, and most importantly, how you felt. You’ll be able to spot patterns later on that will assist in making adjustments to your training and, in turn, improve your running.
#7: Hire A Coach
If you are the type of person who needs a bit more push and personal guidance, look into hiring a coach.
Having someone check your runs, follow your progress, and push you along can be a great source of running motivation.
There are numerous online running coaches who can meet with you virtually and create a specific training plan for you to follow, or you can look for a running coach in your area with whom you could have actual personal training sessions. Choose whichever style you feel will motivate you to train at your best.
#8: Love Your Gear
Whether it be a pair of neon pink shoes, a matching outfit and headband, or a spiffy new GPS watch, choose something you look forward to using on your runs. It could be anything from clothing to gadgets; whatever gets you excited to get out there.
#9: Make Training “Me” Time, or “We” Time
Training shouldn’t be something you dread, but actually something you look forward to. It’s time for yourself, something you do to have fun, get in shape, and work toward a goal. As each of us has different needs and enjoys time differently, you may want to take your running time as “me” or “we” time.
Some of us may desire that time to be “me time” to think about anything on our minds, transport ourselves to a happy place, and enjoy the ride. You could use it to listen to your favorite tunes, a podcast you’ve been dying to get in, or just get lost in your own thoughts while enjoying your personal time.
On the other hand, some excel better in the presence of others as opposed to being alone. In this case, running motivation will come from having company while running. Someone to talk to, share stories with, or just have by your side.
Get a friend or relative to join in and run with you, or join a local running club to meet plenty of others who love doing the same thing you do. They will help motivate your runs, and in turn, you’ll help encourage them.
#10: Delve Head-First Into The World Of Running
I find excellent running motivation in watching running documentaries, reading inspiring books such as the classic “Born To Run,” and following the fantastic accomplishments of others.
Find a runner to follow, a running podcast to listen to, or a great running book to read. Watch the Olympics or other races, look up record times, or go to a local track meet. Others’ success will spark excitement and help bring your running motivation to the next level.
If you are currently lacking in running motivation, I hope one, two, or all of these hacks can help you get back on track.
If you are currently looking for a training plan for your next goal, you can check out our training resources for all different distances and race types here.