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10 easy ways to motivate yourself to run

Running is great… but sometimes, it isn’t as rewarding as other times. Maybe you just weren’t feeling it or maybe the weather was against you, or maybe, just maybe, it’s your motivation that’s lacking. If that’s the case, here are 10 easy ways to get you back out on the track.


1. Listen to something different

Music has been shown to have a big impact on performance, and so changing up what you listen to can in turn, change how you perform. The trick is to really change up your style. If you listen to the same songs every run, change them up for the top hits of today. If you already listen to rocking beats, listen to a podcast or audio book instead - get hooked on one and look at how you’ll make any excuse to head out for your run.


2. Track your runs

In the past few years, technology has brought new ways to measure how you run. From heart rate monitors to GPS wrist watches, quantifying our lives has become mainstream – as has quantifying our running. Apps like Strava give you a great place to store where you run, how far, how fast and how high, and can show you local routes and roads you may not know. If you’re looking for a GPS running watch that syncs with Strava, check out our friends over at Polar. If you don’t track your runs already, this can prove to be one of the most effective (and easy) ways to boost your running motivation. We recommend joining the On running club on Strava for even more motivation from the community there.


3. Have a challenge to conquer

If you already track your running you’ll have a great base to build off to set yourself a personal challenge. This could be running a faster time over a certain distance, which you try for once a week, or maybe pushing your longest distance, or elevation, or total runs you do in a month. The point is to have some kind of personal goal to measure each run against, giving you more excuses to head out there with purpose.



4. Treat yourself to new running toys

Remember being a kid and not being able to wait to head home to play with the new toy that was waiting there? Well you can emulate that same feeling for your run. Picking up something new to do with running – whether it’s new running shoes, new fitness tracker, new running clothes, new pre-run snack – can give you motivation to want to head out on the run and test it for yourself.


5. Join a real life run club

If virtual run clubs aren’t for you, most cities have major run clubs or clubs part of local gyms that you can join to make running with others a part of your routine. Running in these kinds of clubs is a great way to meet new people, find new routes, and add in elements of competition and motivation. If there are none near you, there’s no reason why you can’t create your own run club with a few friends. Even running with one other person from time to time can give you new excuses to get out there running.


6. Change how you measure your run

If you always run for an hour, change it instead to running 15 kilometers, however long that takes. If you always run to the same spot and same route, run instead for a certain amount of time and when your timer goes off, run back. The point of this exercise is to vary your motivation and to try different things that have you less focused on the end, and more on the journey itself, breaking routine and finding new interest in how you run. With time out of the picture for instance, you can concentrate instead on form or changing your breathing. Changing your goals gives you freedom to try new things.



7. Read a book on running (or watch a movie on it)

Humans were born to run, yet many of us don’t understand the mechanics behind why the human body is so great at running great distances. Or about the history of great runners and races. Or about what goes in to making a running shoe. The point is, when you have a deeper understanding of something, you have more interest in it, and running is no different. Find a book or film where the major theme is running. See how it in turn gives you new reasons (and appreciations) for running and inspiration will follow.


"Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running." - Julie Isphording, Olympic long distance runner 


8. Work more workouts in to your run

Running isn’t just moving from point A to B as quickly as possible. A lot of sports involve running, from soccer to hockey to CrossFit. To add a new spring in your step, try integrating aspects of another sport in to your run, the easiest of which is a body workout. A simple starter’s workout to follow for a taste of this mix workout approach is:


  • Run 3km

  • Do 3 sets of: 25 push-ups, 35 sit ups, 25 arm dips, resting 1 minute between each

  • Do 3 sets of: 50 meter sprints, resting 2 minutes between each

  • Do 3 sets of: 15 alternating lunges on each leg with 1 minute of plank afterwards and 1 minute of rest between

  • Run 3km home


9. Have a race in your sights

One of the ultimate ways to motivate your running is to have a race in your sights. If you’re a veteran of the local running events, aim big and aim exotic: a trail race through a tropical destination, an adventure obstacle race, one of the big 6 world marathons. The point is make it something you’ll be proud to have done, then begin training for it to watch that motivation flow.


10. Run somewhere new

New places bring new feelings with them, so if you’re finding your current running route lacking luster, head somewhere new. Again, running apps can give you insight as to some of the major running hot spots near you that may be worth a go. Or if you usually run at a certain time, change it up: see our running at night guide for more ideas. You can even change the kind of run you do – from city running to trails, change can breathe fresh life in to the sport. This kind of change also goes hand in hand with needing new gear, which (see point 4) can further increase your reasons and motivations to run.



Found another way to be motivated running? Share it! Head to our Facebook or Instagram page or use #onrunning #motivation to inspire other runners (and us here at On).