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Mental Training

5 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Run

We all have the moments (or weeks) where we don't want to run. Here are a few simple tricks to break out of that.

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Have you ever felt like you just didn’t want to run. Nope, not happening today.

Try as you might, sometimes we can’t find the motivation to lace up our shoes for whatever reason. There may be a really great reason or we might not even know why we don’t want to. Wither way, the couch calls our name.

When these moments, days, weeks and sometimes months strike, the first thing I do is to replay all of the great moments that have happened in my “running life.” I think about the marathons I finished and felt high as a kite, the races where I thought I would run terrible and ended up coming in first in my age group, the days where everything came together and I ran a personal record, or even those long runs where I was completely alone yet couldn’t stop smiling.

Sometimes reliving these memories is enough to get me moving. When it’s not, here’s how I get motivated to run.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Set More Mindful Goals

Sleep in my running clothing

When my alarm goes off, I literally have no excuse why I can’t roll out of bed, put my shoes on and walk out of the front door. If I can’t run first thing, I still put my running clothes, watch, or shoes on—something that I only put on when I go running. This way I will feel terrible if I have to take off said items but haven’t run.

Just 2 miles

When I think I have a pretty good excuse for why I can’t roll out of bed—hello 4am darkness —I tell myself I don’t have to run what is on my schedule for the day. I just have to run 2 miles. If after 2 miles I want to quit and run home, that’s okay. Out of all of my years of running, I may have only come back after 2 miles once.

You WILL feel awesome

When the idea of running 2 miles feels like running a half marathon, I focus on how great I feel on days I run vs. how terrible I feel on days I don’t. I know myself pretty well, so I know pulling the I will do it later excuse doesn’t work. I won’t do it later. I know that if I have a chance to run at that moment, it’s the only moment I will GET to run that day. Focusing on how awesome I plan on feeling usually motivates me.

I’m having a bad bad day

When focusing on how great I’m going to feel doesn’t work, I focus on how bad my day is. Really I do! I sing the lyrics from I’m Having A Bad Bad Day from Despicable Me. It makes me half smile and laugh to myself every time. (Don’t believe me? Just try it.) It’s just a run. It’s not my job. It’s something I do for fun, enjoyment and my health. A run does not cause a bad-bad-day. Focusing on how absurd it is that I am letting my attitude get in the way of doing something I love smacks me every time. Even if the run happens to be crap-tastic, it was still a run and I’ve never regretted a run, ever.

Need another source of motivation? Know that you’re not alone. The pros have to get through it, too. Professional runner Stephanie Bruce has great advice about how to handle the rough days:

Just get through the first seven minutes!

“Over the years I have found that seven minutes is the time it takes to be on a dreaded run before it turns into feeling glad you did it,” she says. “It’s that easy—and quick. There’s something unexplainable that happens to you within the first few minutes of a run. Call it endorphins or a physiological spike in adrenaline—whatever it is, your mind starts to drift away from the dread you felt before starting the run. In fact, you wonder why you ever stalled on lacing up and heading out the door in the first place. Yes you might still feel sluggish or drained on the entire run, but that’s a normal part of training. You can’t feel amazing every day, and putting those expectations on yourself will lead to a feeling of disappointment. So on those days where it feels really tough to get out the door, give yourself 7 minutes. And if you’re still not convinced you should be running, then head home and plop on the couch (but I have a feeling you won’t turn back.)”

From Women’s Running