It’s 5:15 a.m. and your alarm clock is buzzing. It’s time for your six mile run, but … it’s dark. It’s cold. The wind is whipping outside. And you’re snuggled cozily under your warmest blanket. You just need five more minutes.
Five minutes pass. Then 10. Then 20. You start bargaining with yourself. You could just do three miles instead of six.
Another couple of minutes tick by. Maybe you’ll just run after work. Yeah, that’s it. You’ll run after work. Problem solved. At least until after work, when another list of excuses arises, and the decision to put off your run is made. One skipped workout won’t hurt, right?
We’ve all been there – from newbie to advanced marathoner – lacking the motivation it takes to get our butts into gear and out the door. The occasional lapse is understandable – some days you just can’t. However, once the occasional becomes the routine, that’s when you need to rethink your strategy.
Luckily, we have your back. The following eight tips will help you get – and stay! – motivated to run, no matter the season.
1. TRACK YOUR WORKOUTS
One of the most effective ways to stay motivated is by keeping a workout journal. When you track your workouts, you can see your progress – from the number of days you’ve run that week to the total number of miles to how many calories you’ve burned. This data can encourage you to keep going. That said, let’s be honest. Writing all these numbers down post-run is just another task in danger of being neglected on your never-ending to-do list. That’s where the Wahoo Fitness RunFit app paired with a TICKR heart rate monitor comes in handy since they automatically track and calculate everything for you, from heart rate to cadence to distance. Plus if you want to take it to yet another level, once you’re done with your run, RunFit allows you to share your workout on social media. Studies show if you share your workouts, you’re more likely to accomplish your goals. So don’t be shy. Be proud!
2. SET A SPECIFIC GOAL
Run a marathon! Break a seven-minute mile by spring! Tackle an obstacle run! Whether it’s a certain race or a certain pace, a clear goal with an end date encourages you to stay on track. It’s what gets you out from under that blanket in sub-zero temperatures. When you know you have something on the horizon, or you have a clear-cut mission in mind, you’re much less likely to roll over and hit snooze in the morning or jump on the couch at the end of the day. Not to mention, if you sign up for a race, you likely have to pay up front and no one likes wasting money.
3. SWITCH UP WHEN or WHERE YOU RUN
It’s a simple switch, but one that can yield big results. If you’re normally a morning runner, try running at night; if you’re a night warrior, move it to the morning. Or, if your schedule allows it, head out for a midday run. Can’t adjust the time of day you run? Switch up where you run. Instead of your usual loop, head to a local track or trail. The change in scenery, whether it’s from the time of day or from the actual place, will give your brain a boost, cure your boredom and excite you to lace up those sneakers.
4. CREATE A RUNNING PLAYLIST
Music has been proven to make you work out harder and longer. By creating a playlist of music that gets your juices flowing – no mater if it’s up-tempo dubstep or somber ballads – you’ll be motivated to lace up and hear your favorite tunes. (Pro Tip: Only include music you listen to while working out, because if it’s a song you’ve heard a million times and you’re sick of it, it’s not likely to do you much good.)
5. TREAT YO’ SELF
A little bribe never hurt anyone, and in this case, a little extra something-something might motivate you to hit the road. Whether it’s a headlamp so you can see in the dark, an extra warm, cozy pair of pants that make the evening runs more bearable or a heart rate monitor like the TICKR X that gives you a brand new set of data to track (see tip number one), get yourself something shiny and new that will excite you to run.
6. SKIP (OR SHORTEN) THE RUN
If the thought of slogging through another 10K fills you with dread, shorten your workout but up the intensity, or simply do another workout. Sometimes you just don’t want to run. That’s totally fine, but it doesn’t mean you should completely skip exercising that day. Try one of the HIIT workouts on the RunFit app – do the 7-minute workout or the core strength exercises – hit the elliptical or take a spin class. As long as you get your heart rate up to your high intensity level, which you can monitor with the TICKR X heart rate monitor, you’re not skimping on your cardio. In fact, you’re training smarter and making the most of your time.
7. RUN WITH A PARTNER
If you know your pal is waiting for you at 5:30 a.m. in 20-degree weather, you’re much less likely to hit snooze. No one wants to be a flake, which is why study after study shows setting up a run date is one of the best ways to stay motivated and actually get your runs in. The chance of you breaking plans with yourself are much greater than that of breaking them on someone else. Plus, you help one another stay motivated and push each other through the literal and figurative dark times. Don’t know any other runners? Find a running group to join
8. GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD
Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. We’re the ones who convince ourselves that it’s too cold, too early or too late. We convince ourselves that we’re too tired, too old or too everything and anything. Stop. You’re fantastic. You’re strong and tough and nothing can hold you back. Don’t let that little voice in your head telling you to go back to sleep or to get on the couch. You’re the boss, after all. And you’re going to run! That’s it. It’s decided. Conversation over. Sometimes a little tough love as all we need. Trust us, you’ll be so proud of yourself once you’re done.