Motivation for Days You Don’t Want to Run

I used to be the motivated one in the house.  Last summer, during a heat wave, I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30 am just so I could get my training run in before the sun came up.  What happened to me?  How did I become so lazy about my training?

Let’s be honest – I know what happened to me.  I started taking seven credits of graduate classes while working full time.  I started taking a fitness class before work twice a week.  I started working night lab at least once a week, keeping me at work until 10 pm.  I started volunteering after work one day a week.  My schedule has gone from normal to crazy in the last few months.  And what’s getting left behind?  My running.  But that has to change.  Grandma’s Marathon is less than three months away now!

Earlier this week, I found the perfect blog post.  It was called Motivation on Days When You Don’t Want to Run.  And it was exactly what I needed.

So, here’s some motivation for you.  Goodness knows, I need some, or I’m going to be running Grandma’s basically cold turkey.  And that would be bad.  Very bad.  Yikes.

  1. Crank Up Some Tunes.  This always helps me.  My most recent discovery?  The soundtrack to Divergent.  I like a combination of songs that will pump me up and songs that will make me think, so my brain is also working while I’m running.  That soundtrack is perfect.
  2. Give Yourself a Shortcut.  Ever since I started running, I’ve had this mentality.  Even if I don’t run exactly what I am supposed to, at least I got out the door.  One mile is better than eating a bag of chips while sitting on the couch watching reruns of Criminal Minds.[i]  Even if you don’t hit the 5 miles you were supposed to go, at least you got outside and ran a little bit.  That’s enough to keep your training on track.
  3. Run With a Group.  I love running with other people.  It’s often more fun to me to talk to someone, rather than just listen to music.  Some days I like that, too, but I’d always rather run with a buddy (or several buddies).  I’m excited about this weekend, because I’m going to get to do my long run with H’s mom (who is also training for Grandma’s).  Her training is a little more advanced than mine, but we get to run the majority together, and that makes me look forward to it a lot more.
  4. Take a Quick Shower.  This is one I can’t do, but I understand why someone would.  Once I shower, I’m hesitant to get sweaty.  But a quick dip into some steaming water could be exactly what someone needs to get them out the door.
  5. Have a Mantra Ready.  When I’m having a hard time, or just want to stop, I usually can hear my dad’s voice in my head, bellowing at me, saying, “You can do it!  I know you can do it!  And you know you can do it!”[ii]  And, believe it or not, it often is enough to get me to keep going.
  6. Surround Yourself with Positive People.  A no-brainer.  Negative people suck the energy out of any room, or person.
  7. Write Down the Reasons You Run.  I’ve never done this, but it’s a great idea.  Make a list!  Hang it on the fridge!  Remind yourself why you’re doing this.  I can almost guarantee that it will help.
  8. Reward Yourself.  Some days, this truly is the only way I get myself out the door.  I tell myself, when I get home, I’ll sit down with the bag of chips and watch Criminal Minds.  But I can’t do it until after my run.  Again, more often than not, it works.
  9. Register for a Race.  This was the only way that I stuck with running at all.  I ran at least one race per month from May through October last year, and by the end, I was so in love with running that I didn’t ever want to stop.  It’s a great motivator, because you’re competing against yourself.
  10. Run Because You Are Grateful that You Can.  I don’t think about this enough.  Yes, I got hurt, but I have been healing and making myself stronger.  I run because I can, and I truly am grateful for that.  Not everyone is as lucky as I am.  I have to remember this on the days where I’m feeling crappy and hating everything.  I should be happier, because I am able to put one foot in front of the other.  It’s such a gift.

And guess what?  This morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 am and took Ole for a three-miler.  No, it wasn’t as far as I wanted to go, but it was sleeting, and Ole was trying to drag me after rabbits, and the sun hadn’t even risen yet.  But I feel accomplished now.  I feel like I’m getting back on the right track.  That’s what I need.

What motivates you to run when you just don’t want to?



[i] Not that I’ve done that, but…

[ii] It’s his Bela Karolyi impersonation, circa 1996.  If you don’t know who I’m talking about, look up just about any interview with him.


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