Struggling to fall in love with running?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to the Why We Run Survey only 8% of runners actually love running, with majority taking part for the incredible health and mental wellbeing benefits.
Finding the motivation to run and actually sticking to it can be tricky. But the better you get at something, the more you enjoy it – so here are some quick ways I motivate myself to run and whilst running…which in turn, makes running enjoyable!
The first and most important one when trying to build up your cardio is visualisation. Before going for a run, I mentally prepare myself at least an hour before. Setting a positive mindset and telling yourself that you’re looking forward to going is the best way to start believing it.
It’s really important how you speak to yourself; if you speak low of yourself, think that you’re not good enough, can’t run very far and can’t be bothered – you won’t get very far! So be kind to yourself as if taking your friend for a run for the first time and be patient, understanding and encouraging.
When I’m feeling really tired or like I want to stop, I give myself to the next lamppost or tree – giving yourself an end goal whilst pushing yourself that little bit further each time will build up your stamina and your mental strength.
Plan a route
Planning a route beforehand sets yourself a goal and a purpose. I use Mapmyrun which you can use online or download the app. You simply put in your address and it gives you a birds-eye view of the roads, parks etc (just like google maps) and then you can draw out your route using the pins.
Mix it up
Mixing it up is the best way to stay motivated and not get bored. I have two or three different routes which I rotate continuously, but I have one which I use the most as it is closest to my house. Doing the same route over and over can get tedious and a little boring, so I mix it up by doing the route backwards and also adding some hill sprints where I can – this keeps your run engaging and fun! Also try to mix up the distances you want to run. Some days do shorter but faster runs and some days do long distance.
I also mix up what I’m listening to each time. I have a running playlist of all my favourite songs, but then I also have a set of podcasts which I listen to when I’m feeling particularly unmotivated. I find that listening to podcast rather than music helps you focus on something other than the run, which makes it go so much quicker and so much more enjoyable! Some of my favourite podcasts to listen to when running are;
The Girls’ Bathroom
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day
Help I Sexted My Boss
The High Low
The Guilty Feminist
I also highly recommend running without any headphones! I love running headphone-free in the mornings when the birds are chirping, just being present and taking in all the surroundings.
Listen to your body
Some days you’ll run the furthest you’ve ever ran and barely break a sweat, and the next you could run only an 1/8 of your usual route and feel absolutely exhausted – both are perfectly fine and don’t beat yourself up about it.
After running for a few years now, I’ve learnt to listen to when my body needs to stop or when I need to push through. When my knees hurt I know to stop, but when it’s a stitch I know to slow down the pace and breath through it.
Plan a treat for yourself after your run
My treat is my chocolate flavoured protein shake which tastes like an Oreo milkshake, followed by eggs and bacon…yum! It makes me excited to do the run because I want the reward afterwards.
Start slow and build it up
Anyone can be a runner, and you can build it up and be running an easy breezy 5km in no time! Know that every time you get out and run, the next time will be easier and more enjoyable. Stick to it and know that one day you’ll look back and think oh yeah, I really struggled to run 1km…look how far I’ve come! There’s no better feeling.
I use the Runtastic app by Adidas to track my distance and time. It keeps track of all your previous runs so you can compare and start trying to beat your previous time – which is great for encouraging yourself to get better!
Really take note of how you feel after your run – knackered, tired, breathless, but also proud because you pushed yourself and your body to it’s limits and achieved something when you wanted to quit. Sometimes I really can’t be bothered, but because I’ve taken note of just how good I feel after a run, I know that it’s worth doing it even if I don’t want to, because I will feel so much better after.
And finally – don’t think, just do!
This is something you may have noticed I’ve said before on here, but it really does work. By the time you’ve thought about all the other things you could be doing than going for a run, or how awkward you’ll feel doing it, you’ve already talked yourself out of it. Don’t think about it, just do it!
So there it is, a quick snapshot of how you can motivate yourself to run and also enjoy running.
All of the points above are important, but for me, the most important is how you speak to yourself. Be kind, be encouraging, and know that you can achieve whatever you want to.
The better you get at something, the more you enjoy it!
Do you have any tips on motivating yourself to run? If so, leave a comment below…