Thursday, September 19, 2013

ways I stay motivated to run

I'm sure I've said this before but one of the ways I manage stress is making sure I get my runs in.  It can be so hard when things get busy to make sure that exercise is a priority, but experience has shown me time and time again that the best way to deal with all I have going on in life is to just make sure I go out for a run.  Then I feel like I've at least accomplished SOMETHING even if I haven't crossed everything else off my list. Plus, running helps me sort out my thoughts and figure out what I need to prioritize when I have some time.

A couple of my friends have mentioned that they have trouble staying motivated to run, especially when the heat of the summer never seems to end.  That got me thinking of a list of ways I stay motivated to run and I thought I'd share them here.  I hope it helps you to find some time for exercise and if nothing else, I can at least go back to this post when I'm having trouble getting myself out the door.

Ways I Stay Motivated to Run

  • actually writing down my mileage in a little notebook - I didn't used to do this because I could always look on RunKeeper to see how far/long/when/where I ran last, but Zoot taught me that actually seeing the list in writing helps you to recognize how far you've come over time. Now I got one of those little pocket notebooks from the Target dollar bins and every few days I'll jot down my mileage in it. At the end of the month I total it up and put the monthly total in the front. It's so encouraging to see the total numbers and it's fun to say to yourself at the beginning of the month that you're going to beat your total from the previous month.
  • buy some new gear - Of course this isn't always an easy one to do, but it certainly makes an impact. Get a new headband and you'll want to test it out. Find a new technical tank top to try and you'll be more apt to put it on for a workout.

  • stop timing my runs - Sometimes I'll find that I'm burnt out because I keep focusing on time and/or improvement.  Then I get discouraged because I want to be faster or think I should be improving more when it's not always visible.  I've learned that occasionally it's better to just run.  Don't take the Garmin or turn the volume down on your phone and just run for the fun of it, not worrying about pace.
  • put a race on the calendar - I'm sure you've heard a story or two about somebody competing in an event (and possibly even doing well) without training for it, but nothing will get you training like having a deadline on the calendar.  Setting a goal for an upcoming event will help you get off the couch.

  • ask a new friend to meet me - I've become active in a couple of different message boards for runner's in our area. There's a few Facebook groups that post local meetups for running around my town and of course through the Fleet Feet group I mentor there are all kinds of opportunities for group runs.  Even our Mellow Mushroom hosts regular run meetups and I would have never heard about it had I not been a lurker on some Facebook running group page.  If you start to look for it, you'll find that there are people out there who want the accountability of meeting someone for exercise.  Ask a friend to join you. Obviously put safety first on the internet, but don't be afraid to post on a running group page that you're looking for a buddy.  I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at the motivation you find just by knowing someone's waiting for you to show up.  

  • download a new audiobook to listen to - I love to listen to audiobooks on my solo runs. I just download a new book from the public library website and put it on my iPod. If I can get lost in a good book it makes me want to go run so that I can "read" more and it also makes the time pass quickly.

  • take a look at social media inspiration - Now that hashtags are everywhere you can quickly and easily do a #running or #motivation or #fitness or #fitspo search in Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or wherever and immediately have some inspiration to get out an exercise.

  • change into running clothes as early in the day as possible - Sometimes if I'm not looking forward to going for a run that day I'll go ahead and make myself change into my clothes ahead of time so I'll be more likely to make it happen.  It would seem silly going to bed at night knowing that I wore workout clothes all day and never had a need to wear them.
  • volunteer at a race - I really don't do enough of this, but I hope to make more time for it in the coming year.  It can be very inspirational to watch competitors cross the finish line at any kind of event.  I know I am super-encouraged by the supporters that come to races I participate in and I think returning that favor would  be awesome. I've volunteered at a couple of Ramblin' Rose triathlons and it's a lot of fun to cheer on the participants and they don't even realize how much they're blessing me as I watch. Very encouraging!

  • make a new playlist - This one is hard for me to do because it takes me so darn long to actually do it.  At any rate, getting a few new songs and switching up the music you listen to on a run will definitely make your run more exciting.
  • run trails/find a new location or route - Our local Fleet Feet posts a bunch of running routes on their website but a lot of times I'll just drive to a new park or something and scope out some new places to run.

I'm sure there's more things I do to stay motivated and I'll come back and add them as I think of them. In the meantime, if you have any ideas to share please leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Now, get up and move!

1 comment:

merritt said...

I loved your list!! It's so great!

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