Duncan Larkin November 05, 2013 TWEET COMMENTS 12

Unmotivated to Run? Read This.

6 “head games” to play to help you get running again

Photo by BigStockPhoto

“People make a big mistake when they say, ‘I need to be motivated.’ You motivate yourself. I might inspire somebody, but that person has to be motivated within themselves first. Look inside yourself, believe in yourself, put in the hard work, and your dreams will unfold.” –Billy Mills, 10,000-meter Olympic gold medalist at the 1964 Tokyo Games

Editor’s Note: In his book ‘RUN SIMPLE: A Minimalist Approach to Fitness and Well Being,’ Duncan Larkin offers runners tips for simplifying—ditching fancy gear and gadgets in order to reap the “maximum physical and mental benefits of running,” along with eliminating boredom and preventing burnout. In these excerpts from chapter 8, ‘Head Games,’ Larkin explains how to deal with six negative sentiments that often plague runners.


I Don’t Feel Like Running Today

You aren’t human if this thought doesn’t enter your mind at least once a week.

Running takes a lot out of you. It can be especially rough on your feet and legs. Your body remembers this, and so you can become conditioned to resisting this prolonged bout of inevitable suffering. Throw in elements like a blizzard, heat wave, or tropical storm, and these negative feelings are compounded.

The best way to combat this thought is to tell yourself that you are going to put on your trainers and run for at least 10 minutes. No matter what, you will put forth that small effort. That is the arrangement. If you start trying to make deals with yourself—crafting excuses why the 10-minute rule is baloney—then set the timer on your watch, take a deep breath, and put feet to pavement.

Usually, by the time your alarm goes off, you’ll be happy you’re running. Ten minutes is a good duration, because by the time it expires, it will take you at least 10 minutes to return home, giving you approximately 20 minutes of running for that session—not a bad period of time of exercise when you were contemplating doing none.

One thing to try when you’ve lost all sense of motivation in the middle of a run is to start walking. Walking is not going to give you the same training stimulus as running, but it’s decent exercise nonetheless; it’s putting your legs in motion, which is better than calling a loved one and asking to be picked up at the side of the road.

Something else to think about when you have no desire to run is the nobility of any type of self-improvement. By being a runner of any ability, you are someone who is taking positive steps toward improving your health. Many people make excuses not to exercise, but on this particular day, you weren’t one of them. You got out there and gave it your best. When the bad times come for you, think of this concept. And when you get outside and take your first steps on a run, listen to your feet hitting the pavement. Count the steps and think that for every step you hear, you are getting healthier and transforming yourself into a better runner.


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