Staying motivated to run is one of the problems
which faces many runners. Whether you are a novice runner or a runner who has
been running for years, it can be difficult to stay motivated to run on a
regular basis. There are a number of factors which may contribute to a loss of
motivation. Some of these factors may include boredom, muscle soreness or even a
lack of time. If you are like most runners, you have likely faced a lack of
motivation at least once in your running career. It may start out slowly with
you skipping one or two runs here and there but it may gradually progress to the
point where you are rarely running, if you do not find ways to stay motivated.
This article will provide a number of different tips for keeping a runner
motivated to stick with a running program.
Setting realistic goals is one of the easiest ways for a runner to stay
motivated to continue running. One of the common goals runners like to use to
stay motivated is a goal of completing a race. Selecting a race and training for
and competing in this event can provide a great source of motivation which can
prevent a runner from abandoning a running program. You may select a long
distance event such as a marathon or shorter events such as a 10K race, a 5K
race or even shorter events. The distance of the event you select should depend
on your personal goals. If you simply want to stay motivated to run on a regular
basis, competing in short races periodically is an excellent way to stay on
track. Setting a goal such as completing a race is motivating because the runner
is capable of focusing on the training which will motivate him to continue with
the running program.
Another type of goal a runner may wish to set in an effort to stay motivated is
to improve on race times on a regular basis. For example a runner who recently
completed a 5K race in 35 minutes may set a goal of completing a subsequent 5K
race in a faster time of approximately 33 minutes. With this goal in mind the
runner will likely stay motivated to continue running so they can achieve their
goal when they enter the next race. Runners can then continue to set
progressively faster goals or may branch out and set goals of running longer
races once they reach a point where they feel as though they cannot improve on
their speed anymore.
Runners can also stay motivated to keep up a running program by incorporating
variety into the running program. Many runners make the mistake of believing
running laps on a track or following the same course through their neighborhood
is the only way to stay dedicated to a running program. However, this couldnít
be further from the truth. This type of mentality can lead to both mental and
physical burnout. Additionally, the runner will not likely improve under this
type of program because the body will become more efficient at completing the
course and as a result will require fewer calories and tax the muscles less to
complete the running course. A better approach to running is to vary the courses
you are running in terms of distance, speed, intensity and terrain regularly to
keep both the mind and the body challenged.
These types of variations in a workout are relatively easy to incorporate but
can be very effective for keeping the workouts interesting. The terrain can be
varied by running on trails which have a series of hills. This change of pace
will likely make the surroundings more interesting and the varied terrain will
challenge the runnerís body in new ways. Runners can vary the intensity of a
workout by incorporating sprint intervals into the running. A runner who
regularly runs four miles on a track can modify his workout a few days a week by
sprinting on the straight sections of the track and jogging on the curved
portions of the track for a portion of the workout. These sprint intervals make
the workout seem to go faster and also challenge the muscles in a different way.
Running with a friend is another way for a runner to stay motivated to stick
with a running program. Running does not have to be a solitary activity. Having
a friend along can not only help to keep you motivated but can also make the
runs more enjoyable. You can chat with your friend about a number of different
subjects to pass the time which will make the running seem less monotonous. You
can also challenge each other to improve by having friendly competitions.
Another reason, running with a partner helps a runner to stay motivated is most
people are likely to fulfill their obligations when someone else is counting on
them. Sometimes just knowing someone is waiting to run with you can motivate you
to complete your workout. Conversely, if you were working out alone, it is much
easier to decide to take the day off.
Finally, it is important for runners to take some time off from running
occasionally, in an effort to stay motivated. This may sound counterintuitive
but it is actually quite effective. Cross training can help a runner to stay in
shape but can also give him a well deserved break from running. One way to
incorporate cross training into your running program is to participate in
another type of activity in place of your running 1-2 days per week. For example
you may wish to ride a bike on these days instead of running. Another day to
incorporate cross training into your workout routine is to take one week every
couple of months where you donít run at all but you engage in other physical
activities. After your brief hiatus from running you will likely find yourself
recharged and less likely to give up your running program all together.
The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.