15 Approaches to Staying Motivated … From Linda English
I am just your average runner who is fascinated by how to keep myself motivated to run. And while I am not the fastest runner in town, I can tell you that I am one of the most consistent runners. So in thinking about how I can contribute to the group, I thought I would write about a few of my ideas. If you have any additional ideas, then drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Make running a social event. I really try not to run alone: running partners and running groups are absolutely THE BEST! When they don’t work, I run in public areas so I at least see other people. Sometimes I run with people who are NOT my speed (so we take off together). When I am absolutely desperate, I beg my husband into jumping on a mountain bike and riding next to me. (Kids on bikes are fun as well!) Dogs are also great for running, especially the ones who sit by the front door on rainy day and can’t wait to go with you.
2. Schedule your running. On Sunday night, when I book out my whole week, I include running as the VERY first thing on my calendar. Sometimes I will even book it 2 or 3 weeks out, just to make sure that I have the time to run. If I know I am going to have a really busy day, then I arrange my day off to land on that day. (If it’s a really stressful day then I still try to squeeze in a quick run, if anything for a stress release!)
3. Give yourself a GOLD STAR! I absolutely believe that when it’s a horrible day for a run (raining, was tired, or really didn’t want to go) or if I have a really good run (ran an extra mile, ran faster than last time) that I deserve a GOLD STAR. It might be star I drew on sticky and stuck to the back of my phone; it might be a star I drew on my hand, or …. You get the idea. I will keep it with me all day to remind myself that I deserve the extra credit! (Sometimes I send others gold stars as well.)
4. Read the running magazines. I have been reading Runner’s World since as long as I can remember. There’s always something in the magazine that gets me excited about the week ahead.
5. Live by the 10 min rule. If I am really tired and don’t feel like running, then I DRAG myself out the door. If I don’t feel better in 10 minutes, then I quit. No questions asked. 99% of the time, I have a terrific time and feel absolutely terrific after wards. The times when I do quit, tends to be a sign to my body that I am about to come down with a cold or the flu.
6. Make the most out of what you have. I have been stuck in hotels in scary cities for days … and learned to play, “CHASE THE ELEVATOR”. (Essentially, you start at the bottom floor and try to run to the top floor to catch the elevator before it reaches the top. Then you can take it back down so you don’t put too much strain on your knees.) I have run in a mall before it opened, airports during the middle of the day (pushing my bag in a cart), and even just run in place in a hotel room.
7. Try out a “Barn Sour” run. The 2nd half of the run is usually slower than the first. So I run 20 minutes out, as fast or as slow as I feel like. Then I turn around and try to see how much faster I can run going back, always thinking of being that barn sour horse that could always make it back to the barn in no time at all.
8. Run errands …literally. When we have a movie that needs to go back to the store or I need to drop off the car at the mechanic, I just “run the errand.” It’s wonderfully productive!
9. Tell them about it! I tell everyone my goals for the week, even my mom who has Parkinson’s Disease and can’t remotely understand my running. But my mom knows then on Tuesday she can look at what I sent her and then ask me how my run went. She feels part of the secret of my success.
10. Don’t be afraid to call in the reinforcements. If I am hesitating to go running, I have about 5 people I can call. I will just say, “Hey, it’s me. I am trying to push myself out the door, can you help?” They each have different tactics to get me out the door, but they know that it’s their goal to give me that little extra push.
11. Buy cool running clothes as a reward. When I run a big race or stay on track for my training, then I will buy myself something cool. Even running socks often feel like a huge reward. I also only wear my running clothes (especially my running shoes!) for running.
12. Create a “no excuses” group. At the beginning of the week, I email out to a group of people my plan for the week. Then at the end, I have to tell the group if I did what I said I was going to do. If I did not, then I have to tell them my excuse. If I have no excuse or the group votes that it’s not a valid excuse, then I owe the group $10 to put toward our next lunch out.
13. Use the iPod form of math. I hate running using a stopwatch so I don’t. Instead, I use my iPod to help me count. I just create a running playlist of music for my iPod that adds up to about 40 minutes. When a really good disco song comes on, I have to pick it up a smidge (If you see me sprinting, you can guess that I am listening to the B52s!)
14. Run a road race. I don’t race because I am going to win a thing, but rather so I stay motivated. Every year, I pick about 4 races that really matter to me and then I train for them. I always laugh that on the day before the race, I have already won. Why? Because I ran all the workouts to make sure that I was ready for “the big day.” (There are lots of training plans you can use for a race.)
15. Try a new route a week and don’t be afraid to get lost. I always try new places to run … new trails, new neighborhoods. Sometimes they are horrible runs but sometimes they are “keepers”. When I think they might be a keeper, then I immediately start coming up with a name for the course so I can commit to doing it again. (A few of my favorite courses in Bend: Silly String, Blue Mule, Bad Barbie, Dead Dilly Bar, Big Besse, and Rio Grande.)
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