The mind craves novelty. It loves those new ideas filled with promise. It loves the idea of running when you’re well rested and haven’t begun, but after a week or two, the novelty will wear off. When this happens, you are left disappointed and headed for the ice cream because eating is easier than running two miles.
What you decide to do when the novelty has worn off is what will separate you from those who wish they had your discipline. Here are three ways to stay motivated long after you’ve settled into a running routine.
- Sign up for a race. For me, this is a sure fire way to make myself run, even when I would rather sleep. I don’t sign up intending to win any kind of prize; I’m actually not that fast. I sign up and let the race act as a kind of accountability. Not only does signing up for races keep me motivated, it also supports my community or, in some cases, a charity. If you’re a beginner, start with a 5K or a Color Run. If you’re a more seasoned runner, stretch yourself by signing up for a half or full marathon.
- Figure out the why. Ask yourself “Why am I running.” Really think about this. This reason is what will get you out of bed when it’s thirty-five degrees, and you have ten miles to do. It will light a fire under you when you’ve had a long day and still have a two mile run to do on a treadmill. Are you running to lose weight and become healthier? Or are you running because it relieves stress? Figure out why and remind yourself of the reasons before each run.
- Relieve that pressure. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. One of the reasons people give up on running is because they think they will be an Olympian from day one. That’s just not a thing. You’re going to struggle with running. It’s hard. Give yourself permission to walk. Give yourself permission to run slower than those around you. Challenge yourself, but give yourself the grace to learn and grow as a runner.
For me, running is still a struggle, but I stick with it because of how it affects my whole person. It is transforming me physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Stick with this running thing. If you give it some time and sincerely hate it, then switch exercises, but don’t give up altogether. Each form of exercise is going to require some motivation. So break out of the pattern of always needing a novelty, and practice the discipline and motivation it takes to be a runner.