How to Stay Motivated for Running

Wanting to stay motivated for running has frustrated many runners.  We sometimes find ourselves in a rut and struggle to get going again. What is motivation for running and how do we get it when we really need it?

According to Wikipedia, "Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals." We all want to stay motivated for running as we know how powerful it is. Motivation is a driving force that cannot be deterred and when we are truly motivated, there is no obstacle that can prevent us from achieving our goal. 

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We all have desires and ambitions, but without motivation, they will probably not be fulfilled. We need physical energy to run and train, but our emotional energy is what keeps us motivated to achieve our goals. So how can we increase our emotional energy and learn how to stay motivated for running and training?

In order for humans to take action or to be motivated, we need a good reason. We need a specific goal and a specific reason for achieving this goal.  So it really helps if we can remember why it is that we want to run and to get very clear about it.

Get Motivated to Run


Is it a long term goal such as to get healthy, lose weight, be active, be social, for fitness, to feel good, or some other reason? We also have short term goals, such as to set a personal best for a particular distance or to run a new longer distance. Whatever the reason, it really helps create motivation for running if we focus on our goals at times when we really don't feel like running.

Your first step towards getting motivated for running then is to state your long or short term goal and then your reasons for wanting to achieve it. Some examples would be: to lose weight so I feel healthy and more confident; to complete a charity half-marathon to raise money for a cause that's especially important to me; or to set a new personal best in a 10km race to learn to run faster.

Know what your goal is and know why you want to achieve it. Write it down and place it where you can see it every day. It will help you get motivation for running when you really don't feel like doing much of anything.

Emotions can Negatively Affect your Motivation

Negative emotions can interfere with running motivation. Some days you will feel positive and energized and other days you will not. Don't fight your emotions. Acknowledge that you are experiencing a particular emotion but become identified with it or let it consume you. Recognize it, name it, and then find a way to distract yourself from it, which will help you release it. Remember that any physical activity (including running) creates positive feel good emotions, which can be very helpful when you are  experiencing negative emotions. Develop your emotional awareness to prevent your emotions from taking over and interfering with your goals.

Strong Emotions Can Be Felt in the Body

We sometimes experience strong emotions such as fear or anxiety.  Usually, when we experience these emotions, there is a reaction in our body, such as pain, tension or uneven breathing. The quickest way to release these emotions is to control the reaction we feel in our body. We do this by breathing slowly and deeply into our belly and we continue to do this until we begin to feel relaxed and at ease again.  

Without the tension or uneven breathing, we feel better and are able to think more clearly, with a healthier perspective on whatever is happening at the moment. We are also able to more clearly focus on our goals and building our motivation for running.

Tips on How to Stay Motivated for Running

Motivation creates energy and drive.  It is a powerful driving force that cannot be deterred or side-tracked. A motivated runner knows no obstacles and these tips can help. Use them to help you stay motivated.

As you practice these various ways to stay motivated, remind yourself why your specific running goal is so important to you and your reasons for wanting to achieve it. They will form the basis for your inspiration and running motivation.

How to stay motivated for running:

  1. Have a clear vision of your goal and do visualization techniques.
  2. Always keep the end goal in mind by reminding yourself daily of your goal.
  3. Find inspiration through success stories, books, movies, videos, magazines, photos, etc.
  4. Have a vision board and add your most inspiring pictures and stories.
  5. Be persistent despite setbacks.
  6. Don't procrastinate.
  7. Make a commitment to stick with it and finish what you started - don't give up!
  8. Don't let fear and self-doubt stop you from achieving your goal.
  9. Use positive affirmations and motivations quotes, e.g. I can do this, to strengthen your commitment.
  10. Spend time with others who have the same goals. Encourage each other to succeed.
  11. When you are lacking in motivation, talk to your running mates about it. Their encouragement will help you focus on your goal again.
  12. Be consistent in your training.
  13. Make your training fun and the best part of your day. Enjoy your time alone or your time with running friends.
  14. Track your progress and follow a schedule so you will always know how much you have already accomplished and what is left to do.
  15. Reward yourself after each accomplishment. For example, a special, delicious dessert or drink after completing your long run.
  16. Have confidence in yourself and your accomplishments to date.
  17. Be patient and focus on where you are presently. Savor and enjoy each stage of your training. It will be over before you know it!
  18. Give yourself an incentive to finish. Reward yourself with a new gadget or new shoes.
  19. Get excited!

Now it's your turn. How do you stay motivated for running? If you have had ever struggled with running motivation, how did you overcome it? Please share your tips on how to stay motivated for running. Leave a comment below and maybe it will help someone else.


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