Sometimes we need to mix things up. Hang up the running shoes for the day and jump on your mountain bike or skis instead. Go to the gym. You may just need a change of scenery. You’ll still be working on your fitness, but you’ll be viewing the world from a different perspective. And you’ll be giving your running muscles a necessary break.
Feed Your Brain
Stream an audiobook, podcast, or crank up the tunes. It’s a great way to multitask. My wife was struggling to get out the door a couple of summers ago, but 19 hours of Jane Eyre gave her the motivation she needed to lace up her shoes. I like listening to podcasts of all kinds, from endurance training and nutrition to politics. Once while pushing hard in the Arkansas 100, I listened to Freedom by Rage Against the Machine eight times in a row. Whatever gets you moving.
Join a local running club or check out your local running store for scheduled group runs. Some of my best running memories are from 12 years of Footzone’s Wednesday noon runs in Bend, Oregon. I rarely missed a Wednesday. Looking for something more intimate? Call a friend and schedule a running date. The greatest conversations happen while running with a friend.
Grab a Carrot
Sign up for an event. Having a race on your calendar is a great way to keep you motivated to get out the door. You paid money and there’s skin in the game. No time to slack. Need a reward? Bodywork is one of the best things you can do to keep your body functioning properly for the long haul. Treat yourself to a massage.
Set out your clothes the night before. Plan your route. Spending a little mental time beforehand makes it more likely you’ll follow through. Keep running clothes in your car for unexpected opportunities. You never know when a group from the office might get together for an impromptu run.
Run in the Morning
The early bird catches the worm. Getting your workout done early means you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day. Plus, you begin your day on the right side, with all of the benefits that come with physical activity: increased blood flow, improved circulation, and a clear head. I often engage in a strength challenge with my athletes. There’s nothing better than getting my workout done first thing (though admittedly, this doesn’t always happen).
Enjoy the Health Benefits
Running comes with a plethora of health benefits, and sometimes it’s helpful to remember just what those benefits are. According to a group of Dutch researchers, running just two and a half hours per week is associated with a reduced risk of dying from heart attack or stroke, reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and a lower risk of developing cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Their study, known as the Copenhagen City Heart Study, found that joggers live, on average, six years longer than people who don’t jog.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the beauties of running is its simplicity. It’s just you, some comfortable clothes and your favorite pair of running shoes. If you find your motivation is lacking, use these tips as inspiration.