Athletics Magazine

How To Get Off Your Butt and Run (aka Finding Motivation)

By Brisdon @shutuprun

Don’t pretend you haven’t experienced or felt it. Don’t act like it’s never happened to you. It’s a widespread and sometimes infectious disease that we all contract every now and again. What do I speak of?

Loss of Motivation

I received a message the other day from a reader that might just resonate with a few of you, especially this time of year.

“Recently my running motivation is gone. Nowhere in sight. My work out motivation is still there... is this normal? Possibly my body telling me I need a break? I freak out since I'm not running as much, but when it comes time to run, I choose sleep.”


Oh, what to do about this? Or, not to do about this? Well, there’s always the option of eating Cheetos and drinking Coors Light and ditching running altogether. But, in lieu of that…

Sometimes loss of motivation to run is your body’s (and your mind’s) way of saying “Hey, give me a break. You’ve been killing me all year and I’d really like some down time.” Give yourself permission to pull way, way back. After awhile, you might actually find yourself craving the run again.

If you really haven’t been running that much and still don’t feel like running maybe you just don’t like to run (Gasp! What are you crazy?). Is there anything else you can think of that excites you more? There are lots of ways to be active, running is only one. I will agree that with running you get the most bang for your buck if you only have a thirty minutes or so – but if you HATE it, why do it?

That said,  if you truly do like to run, but have just plain lost your motivation, here are some tips I’ve found helpful:

1. Shut Up. I think the single most self-sabotaging behavior that keeps people from doing what they say they are going to do is that they think too much. If you tell yourself you are going to get up and run in the morning, then freaking get up and run in the morning. Do not wake up and look at the temperature and decide it’s too cold. Do not check in with your body and decide you are too tired. Do not look at your calendar and decide you are too busy. Do not take time to think up excuses that will keep you from doing what you said you were going to do. Otherwise, you’ll just find yourself in the same boat tomorrow morning. Only you’ll feel even worse about yourself.

2. Go Naked. Don’t have a race, time or distance goal. Leave your watch at home. Go run just for the sheer pleasure of running. You might like it more that way.

3. Sign Up and Pay Up. Do the opposite of #2. Pick a goal. Maybe you need the extra motivation of having a race PR to work towards or a distance you want to dominate.  Then, sign up and pay money so you actually do it.

4. Write It, Don’t Fight It. Every time you run or workout, come home and write down how you feel. Keep it short. A few words will do. Invigorated. Energized. Confident. Then, the next time you don’t want to run make yourself read your post-run list.

How To Get Off Your Butt and Run (aka Finding Motivation)

5. Grab a Warm Body. Make someone go with you. This one works because if you can’t be held accountable to yourself, maybe you care about not letting someone else down. Set up a running date with a friend or sign up with a group. Scientific research shows you’re 80% more likely to show up if someone is waiting for you (I made that up, but it sounds good).

6. Keep It Real. If you overwhelm yourself with high mileage goals or paces that you aren’t ready for, you’ll only get discouraged and quit. Start where you are. And, for God’s sake, don’t compare yourself to others. Just because some bloggers run multiple marathons per month or put in 120 miles per week (f&ckers), doesn't mean you have to shoot for those goals. This is your journey. Do it right for you, which might mean taking very, very baby steps.

Got any tips to beat complete loss of running motivation?


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