Updated: Mar 8
Staying motivated to run can be hard work - as the days and weeks tick by, the initial stages of excited adrenaline and feel-good vibes can slip to make way for the dread of heading out for yet another pavement pounding run.
You are not alone, even seasoned runners can feel the pain of the early dark mornings or the chill of the late night runs. The key is to give yourself the best possible chance of staying motivated by making the pathway an easy one.
So what can YOU do to help yourself stay on track?
Give yourself a goal. Not just a long-term goal of a particular distance or time; break that goal down into small, manageable stages and write it down.
Commit the time to it. It can be hard to get out of the door, so have a stern word with yourself, get your kit on and don't overthink it.
Have a plan. Have an idea of what you want from a run. Have a route in your head, or a session planned - but don't be afraid to deviate from that plan - it's not set in stone.
Listen to your body. Start steady; walk to warm up and get those muscles and joints mobile before you start. Walking puts your body through the same range of motion, just without the impact because you aren't landing with force. If your motivation has hit rock bottom - just walking is a great place to be.
The running bit. Start slowly and build up to a pace that feels comfortable(!) It's tempting to head off with a spring in your step, but just hold back a little until you settle into your stride.
Walk if you need. There's no shame in stopping to rest, nor walking for a bit. You are out there and you are doing it. Be kind to yourself.
Log that run! Now it's not the be-all-and-end-all, and I'm not encouraging the competition and comparison to others - unless you want to! There are a number of useful ways to log your own progress without sharing it with the world. However, the encouragement you can get from friends, family and strangers on social media, can undoubtedly boost your confidence and make you feel good about what you are doing.
There are apps that link to your phone/ smart watches such as Strava, Map my Run, Garmin - but there is also the good old-fashioned way of making a note in your diary.
Mix it up
It can be really easy to head out at the same time to run the same route, especially as you get an idea as to how long it will take and where the downhills are! However, by mixing up your routes, it'll add interest to your run and prevent the monotony from setting in.
Change the terrain you run on - head out onto the fields or canals or local woods. Drive out somewhere and explore a new area. Take a friend.
Run with others
As mentioned before, the online running community is so supportive on many platforms, but there is nothing like heading out to run with other people. If you have no friends who run, then check out the local running clubs and groups - you don't have to be an elite runner to join - there are often Beginner's groups in the local clubs.
Our small Running Circles groups offer amazing support to each other, we have runners of differing abilities, and sometimes it isn't about getting together to run as fast as possible - mostly it's about the connection, the chat, the community and the friendship.
Our remote online community provide key support and motivation and having a training plan which is personal to you, can make all the accountability difference.
So with all this in mind.... get those laces done up and get out there. If you have no-one else to tell about your run... you can always tell me!