I typically display (mildly annoying) enthusiasm for running. Motivation is my middle name. I am always excited to go for a run no matter the time of the day, the weather, the niggles… But believe it or not, recently, I’ve been struggling to motivate myself and far too many runs felt like a chore rather than a pleasure, which is scary for someone who takes pride in being a joy runner. Not sure if it’s the time of the year, the lack of sunshine, the fact that I have no immediate races to train for, the combination of all, or something entirely different, but every time I go for a run I genuinely struggle kicking my own butt outta door. Yesteday, I postponed my morning run to the afternoon, and am already dreading the upcoming club 5K time trial.
So, when all the “standard” motivational techniques fail, and/or you are the one who is normally the motivator, but now you are in a desperate need of some motivation, try my three “last resort” motivational steps:
- Force yourself
That’s right. Sod motivation. Just force yourself to do it. Say you “must” run because that’s what you do. It’s your duty. It’s your thing. Your life depends on it. If you stopped, you’d lose your identity, you’d lose yourself, you’d lose the confidence boost and the sense of achievement that you love so much. The fear of loss is a motivator strong enough to spring one into action.
- Bribe yourself
I’m a master of bribery. I found it’s an excellent way to make my 2 yr old coach comply. Just like I bribe my child, I bribe myself. Carrot is often more effective than a stick. I promised myself a hot bath with a glass of prosecco after my 10 mile run yesterday afternoon. So if running justifies afternoon lazing in bath and sipping bubbles, than running is what I want to do! Try whatever works for you. Pay yourself a pound for each mile ran – an excellent running shoes fund! Or promise yourself a slice of cake! Eating cake after a run is always better than eating dust and not running! Whatever works for you. Promise yourself the world as long as it gets you out of the door.
- Run because you can
What can be a better motivator to run than the fact you simply can. Every time I run, I think of all those who would love to run, but cannot, and of the time when I was and will not be able to run. I feel like I need to run because I owe it to them and most of all I owe it to my past and future self. Being able to run but not running, should be a criminal offence. If you were gifted with functioning legs, you need to use them for something better than getting from the sofa to the fridge (although that sometimes seems terribly far away). You ought to run, now, today, because you can, and because there is no guarantee that tomorrow you will be able to. But today, today, you’re fortunate enough you can, so get those running shoes on! Your future self will thank you.
Happy running 🏃♀️