Tips for Staying Motivated

Connect

Timm Huffman

Timm Huffman is a New Hampshire-based long-distance runner, outdoor enthusiast photographer and writer.He believes the Northeast is one of the best places to live in the U.S. and strives to share that with others through his blog outdoorsnh.wordpress.com.As a competitor in races from 5-ks to 50 miles, Timm has a wealth of practical running advice to offer runners of all abilities.
Connect

Latest posts by Timm Huffman (see all)

never-give-up

Running is a lot of fun.  But let’s face it, from time to time it looses its flavor and our motivation to train begins to fade.

According to the Hanson Marathon Method, consistency is one of the five components to improving running ability.  So a lack of motivation, whether because of life events or our own minds, can lead to inconsistencies and not putting in our daily dose of pavement pounding.

Not to worry, though.  There are many tried and true methods to staying focused.  Here are five practical tips I use to keep on task, even when things get tough.

  1. Set new goals.  If you find yourself in a running slump, it may be time to set a new goal.  If you are a 5K runner, step up to the 10K distance.  Or, instead of working to run farther, work on running faster for a while.  Whatever the goal, it should present you with a challenge that will keep your mind and body engaged.
  2. Think about the long-term.  Sometimes the daily grind of running starts to wear me down and I just want to throw in the towel.  When that happens, I try to focus on my long-term goals and priorities.  For me, that means staying in shape so that when opportunities to go on crazy outdoor adventures pop-up, I am ready.  For you, maybe it is eventually qualifying for Boston or running a 5K PR.  Whatever it is, focus on that goal to pull you through the dry spells.
  3. Variety is the spice of life.  If you just cannot run one more step, then don’t.  But do not stop training.  Go for a swim, hop on your bike or go rock climbing.  Pick another sport that will make your body stronger, work a different set of muscles or challenge your cardiovascular system.  That said, try not to stay away from running for too long.  Specificity in training is an important factor and if you stray for too long, you will start to lose your running fitness.
  4. Find a friend.  Sharing the experience of running with someone else is one of the best ways to stick to your training.  A friend will help get you out the door on those days you’re lacking motivation and vice-versa.  Plus, once you start running with others, you will find many new friendships.  I should know. In addition to the many close friends I have made along my running journey, I also fell in love with my wife through running.
  5. Take a break. Training year round can become very monotonous after a while and sometimes it is okay to just take a break.  Taking a break will allow your mind and body to rest and recharge.  Use the time off to focus on new goals, cross train and reflect on where you are at in your running.  You should plan ahead of time how long you will take off and be sure not to take longer than two weeks.

Remember, consistency in training is an important part of the puzzle to improving your run.  Next time you hit a wall, I hope you will find one (or all) of these pointers helpful in keeping you motivated and on schedule. Now go run!

Do you have a different trick to staying motivated to train?  Have a favorite cross-training activity that works well (I just read about someone who climbs trees)?  I’d love to hear about them.  Leave a comment below!

8 Comments

  1. Cecil @ Dreadmill Drummer

    Sounds like some great advice. I would like to add a part B to number 1. Revisit your goals every so often to see if they are realistic or to see if you come up with something else you want to challenge yourself at. Like instead of transitioning from 5k to 10k changing your goal to a 5k mud run.

    Reply
    1. Matt Orlando

      Great point!

      Reply
    2. Timm Huffman

      Yes, good point. Changing up goals is a great way to refocus your efforts and get pumped up again.

      Reply
  2. Ernesto Burden

    Good list! I’d add one from my own training – I love making great use of my time on long runs (the aerobic pace ones, where I don’t need to concentrate too much) by listening to audio books and podcasts. Knowing I’ve got some great content waiting for me on the road, and that I’ll come back from my run not only stronger, but also smarter, gets me out the door!

    Reply
    1. Matt Orlando

      So true…you have to maximize your time, and enjoy doing it!

      Reply
    2. Timm Huffman

      I totally agree, except I prefer to listen to some of the great running podcasts out there instead of books. http://www.ultrarunnerpodcast.com is my favorite.

      Reply
  3. Robert Sholtis

    Here are my thoughts: http://trailrunningdad.blogspot.com/2014/05/mind-over-matter.html

    I guess finding your inner motivation is key. They always say “Know why you are doing it”. I guess – all this time, i still don’t know. I do know that my life is better by the challenges presented in running – and I’m a better man for it. It brings balance to my life. But that day – to – day motivation… I find it in social media (our community is an awesome one!!!), pictures of past races, and really by just putting PT gear on. It’s a pavlovian response… LOL.

    Happy trails ya alll…. Good blog!!!
    @TrailRunningDad

    Reply
    1. Matt Orlando

      Thanks for checking in Robert! Life IS better with running!

      Reply

Share Your Thoughts: