A person who doesn’t run will say that running is dull, tiring, and sometimes painful. Still, running is one of the most popular individual sports in the world today, with millions and millions of people doing it.
This number doesn’t even include the people who run seriously for competition. How do they keep going and what keeps them going?
Loss of motivation
Running can sometimes be boring, tiring, and painful because it is usually done alone. Some runners, both beginners and old pros say that it can be hard to stay motivated regularly.
Many things, like being bored, having muscle pain, or not having enough time, can make you lose motivation. At other times in your running career, you may have felt like you didn’t want to run.
It starts slowly, with missing one or two runs, and before you know it, it gets to the point where you don’t run as often as you used to.
Setting realistic goals is a good way to fight losing motivation. One of the most common ways to keep yourself going is to just finish a race.
Another good way to keep yourself going is to choose your race, train for it, and then compete in it. Your choice should depend on what you want to achieve. If your only goal is to get yourself going, it might be best to compete in those short races now and then.
Setting goals that can be reach is the best way for a runner to stay motivated and work hard enough.
You can always choose the distance you like best (5K or 10K or a marathon). Your choices, thought, actual preparations, and the competition are enough to keep you busy (training) and motivated (recognition and prizes).
Other runners get motivated by setting bigger goals for their training (if they are competing) or for running in general. Setting their next goal on getting faster or going farther.
They won’t get it right the first time, of course. Trying to do better is a great way to keep them going.
Runners can also stay motivated by making their program more interesting. They can change the courses (and terrain) they run on (for example, they can jog through the woods or on the tracks), as well as the distance, speed, and intensity (for example, they can sprint on straight tracks and jog on curves).
Running with a friend (in pairs or groups of three) can sometimes spice up an activity that would otherwise be boring. Thinking about someone joining you on a run can be a great way to get yourself to do it. Working alone makes it seem very appealing to stay in bed on a cold morning instead of going to run.
Runners have to take a break from running every once in a while. Even though this doesn’t make sense, it works.
Cross-training is a good way to stay in shape that is different from running. (This is in addition to the fact that you DID stop running for a while.)
Add a week to your workout schedule every two months when you might not run at all but do something active instead. When you take a break from running, you feel refreshed and ready to run again.