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21 Tips For Running Motivation (Make The Time To Run)

The big deal with running motivation is it’s not enough just to be keen. You need to make the time to run.

Even the most enthusiastic new runner must plan their running. Leaving it to chance, hoping you can squeeze in a run at the end of the day, just leads to missing sessions.

Something always comes up. You’re finishing off a piece of work and forget the time. It’s your turn to cook or you get snarled up in traffic. Miss several sessions and you can be back at square one struggling to restart your running.

These running motivation tips will help you out. Work out how to fit running into your daily life and you’ll start building a regular habit.

running motivation

Get Motivated By Making The Time To Run

Make A Plan

Start off your week with a plan. Get your diary out on a Sunday night and check your running schedule. Work out how you can fit your running around your daily activities.

Prioritize Your Running

Your running is important. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can scrub a session when something else comes up. Stand firm. Emergencies aside, put your running first.

Run Early

If you have a family or a demanding job, running early in the day can make a big difference. Children and work can derail even the most committed runner.

Fitting in your run while everyone else is still in bed can be a good solution.

Look For Opportunities

Taking your children to the park? Instead of sitting on a bench while they play, run loops around the playground.

Running errands around town? Go on foot instead of taking the car. Taking an inventive approach to fitting in your running can make all the difference.

Get A Dog

When you’re tired, late home from work, or distracted by other events, a dog still needs exercise. That imploring look telling you it’s time to go out NOW is impossible to ignore.

Go For Quality

If you’re time-poor, a quality run is often better than a longer run at a slow pace. Most people can fit in a 20-minute run.

Warm-up for the first 5 minutes, up the pace for 10 minutes, then cool-down for 5 minutes. More experienced runners can aim for a tempo pace, but as a beginner just try and run a little faster than normal.

Another option is to try fartlek. Warm-up, then alternate short bursts of faster running with slower recovery sections.

Set Short-Term Goals

Many new runners start off with some BIG goals. Having a one year plan to run a marathon is pretty daunting.

It’s easy after a tough run to think your goal is so hard and difficult that you’re wasting your time.

Instead, break your plans down into short 3-week goals. Initially, it could be running 3 times a week for 3 weeks. When you hit this goal make another one. Your series of small goals will make a big goal become more realistic.

Just Show Up And Run

For complete beginners, it’s enough to just get moving. Speed sessions or long runs are for later when you’ve built up some leg strength.

Novice runners just need short, frequent runs. Just 20 minutes a day, building a running habit will be the best way to start getting results.

Run With A Buddy

It’s a lot easier to find running motivation if you have someone to run with. It’s hard to make excuses when someone’s standing on your doorstep waiting to run with you.

Find a partner with a similar fitness level and running goals. You can encourage each other to keep your running plans on track.

Running Motivation Tips To Help You Make It Out The Door

Lay Your Kit Out

It’s much easier to get up and run if you lay your kit out the night before. There’s no need for excuses if your kit’s ready and waiting. Heading out for a run becomes automatic.

Build A Routine

Some people can run on empty first thing in the morning. Personally, I need a cup of tea and a few crackers before a short morning run.

If it’s a longer run, I get up an hour before my run to eat some porridge.

Experiment and find the routine that works best for you. Some people can run on empty and fat-burn their way around a run. I find I need to eat some carbs to make sure I don’t run out of puff halfway round.

Dress In Your Running Kit

Of course, this depends on your lifestyle, but if you’re working from home and plan to run later on, wearing your running kit around the house helps!

If you put your running kit on when you get up in the morning, you’re going to feel pretty bad if you change out of it later without actually running. It’s a good reminder to fit your run into your day.

Visualize Your Run

Remember the last run you had and visualize how good you felt running. The satisfaction of getting out and exercising. How it made you feel better for the rest of the day.

Run Somewhere Inspiring

Find a running route you really look forward to. Somewhere you’re going to want to go even when you’re feeling tired or not in the mood to run.

Tell yourself you’ll head off for your run and just see how it goes. Your favorite wood or canal path will inspire you to keep on running.

Race Day Running Motivation

Enter Frequent races

If you’re aiming for a big race, such as a marathon, use shorter races to keep your motivation going. Racing at least once a month gives you short-term running targets.

It also helps to improve your running. Competing against other runners makes you stronger and faster. For beginners, look for local fun runs to take part in where you’ll be running alongside other newbie runners.

Get A Fan Club

Take your family along to watch. Having some friendly faces cheering you on can make a big difference.

Go With Some Friends

Races are a lot more fun with a group of running friends. Joining a running club is the best way to find other people to race with.

Keeping Up Your Running Motivation

Be A Bit Selfish

Your running is important to you so make it a priority. Sometimes this may seem a little bit selfish.

Just remember, if you’re not running your physical and emotional health will suffer. Fitting in runs may seem selfish, but it’s your route to hitting your goals and being healthy.

It Helps To Be Realistic

Dreaming big is fine but make sure there are some realistic smaller steps to get you from where you are now to the person you want to be.

Realism also applies when life takes over. Illness, injury, busy times at work, or family dramas don’t mean you have to give up on running. Just do what you can, revise your schedules, and get through the difficult periods on reduced mileage.

Flexibility Helps

If something comes up always try to re-work your schedule. It’s better to delay your run than miss it completely.

Legendary runner Ron Hill managed a 52-year running streak, breaking it only at the age of 78. He always found a way to run – although some of his ideas, such as running a mile when injured, aren’t such a good idea.

Remember To Have Fun

Running has so many benefits from improving your health to boosting your mood and adding adventure to your life.

Make sure you enjoy your running by adding in variety and running in nature. To quote Dr Seuss:

You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!
(Oh, The Places You’ll Go!)

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I motivate myself to run in the morning?

Get to bed early, lay out your clothes ready to grab in the morning and make sure your alarm is out of reach so you have to get up to turn it off. Put a glass of water by your bed so you can quench your thirst. Plan your route the night before so you’re set to go. The best tip is to arrange to meet a friend – you won’t want to let them down!

How do you motivate yourself to run when it’s cold?

Have something warm to drink before you set off and make sure you’re wrapped up in winter running kit. Go for warm winter tights, base layer, mid layer, gloves and hat. Make sure you wear a windproof jacket or a waterproof running jacket if it’s wet. If you wear several layers you can always strip them off once you’ve warmed up. Don’t set off fast when it’s cold. Your body needs time to ease into your run.

Is night running safe?

Running in the dark is relatively safe if you take some precautions. Run in good well lit neighbourhoods. Wear high viz clothing to make sure you can be seen by motorists. Use a headtorch to make sure you don’t put a foot in any potholes. Tell someone where you’re going. Take a cell phone and ditch the headphones. Stick to a route you know well. Try and run on traffic free routes. Carry ID just in case. If possible run with a friend.