Ask a Runner: How to Stay Motivated

A few tips to stick to your workout

The Questions

  • How do you stay motivated to run? I can run on a consistent basis for about two weeks and then it seems like “life” gets in the way and I don’t have the time. – Kelly
  • What is your best advice for keeping up my motivation for running? It seems like I am always starting, run for a few weeks and then I stop. – Carolyn
  • When I was 14 I started running, I found it fun and exciting. I ran four days a week after school for two years straight but then after I realized that I liked the way my body looked, I stopped and haven’t ran for about a year now. I have started to realize that I am gaining a little bit of weight because I was so used to eating whatever I wanted, but now that I don’t work it off the pounds keep slowly adding up. For five months now I’ve been starting to try and run again but now I find it boring so I end up giving up. I’ve tried many things to make running more fun but after each run I end up bored and discouraged. Any ideas to keep me motivated and to make running seem more fun? – Megan
  • I’m a very athletic person now and I’ve always ran, but I’m having a hard time right now to get the motivation to run for longer than 5km. What do you suggest? – Jenn

A Runner Responds

Kelly, Carolyn, Megan, & Jenn,

I find this question a bit difficult to answer, because everybody is motivated differently. Some of us are motivated to run because it helps clear our minds, while others are motivated because they’ve got a race goal, and some are motivated to run purely for aesthetic reasons. I can’t tell you where you fit in, nor why certain people seem to stick with it and why others can’t. What I can recommend, however, is what works for me.

I love entering local running races–you name it, I’ve done it. The crazier it sounds, the more brutal the terrain, the more game I get. Entering my name in something that is slightly above my comfort zone gets me out the door on a rainy Sunday morning. I write out my runs and distances in my daily planner and physically check off my runs as I complete them, along with picking up the groceries and taking back my library books. My runs, and other workouts for that matter, are pieces of my day that belong to me and are scheduled events. I enjoy the solitude, but I am busy interacting with people all day long. If you are someone that works from home, or is shut away in an office, try forming your own run club, or enroll a committed friend to meet you at a scheduled time on scheduled days in order to hold yourself accountable. As hard as it feels to get going sometimes, you should always feel great when you are finished.