Finding motivation can be hard, but, damn, when you’re working out, it can be like pulling teeth. You know exactly the type of days I’m talking about, where your brain just doesn’t want to get on the same page as the ambition you have to go sweat a little bit. And, if you’re anything like I am, then you probably don’t mind getting out there and pounding the pavement as the go-to workout each day.
Running is great for the mind, body and soul, giving people a chance to listen to music and just clear their heads. At least, in my case, that’s why I like it so much. But, damn, it can be hard AF to find motivation a lot of days to get out there and do it.
You know the excuses: I’m too tired. I’m too busy with work. I’ve got other plans I’d rather do. I’m too sore from running yesterday. I’ll run a couple extra miles tomorrow to make up for the time I lost today. Sound familiar? Probably.
For those who are able to dig deep and get out there for a run, just because you’re being active doesn’t necessarily mean you’re feeling it. Struggling to run a simple mile can be tough, with your lack of energy and focus holding you back — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Like a life coach who gives people motivation to conquer their goals, I’m giving you some mental secrets that can help push you to go harder, faster and longer while running. I’m not saying you’ll become a marathon winner by doing these, but, hopefully, when you apply them while you’re on a run, you’ll find yourself more focused and less distracted, making your workout more enjoyable all around. So take a look at some of the mental secrets below.
Get Motivation From Seeing Your Progress
Running apps like RunKeeper and MapMyRun, along with smartwatches, are helpful in tracking distance and pace, so make sure you’re utilizing these resources to your advantage. Believe it or not, guys, these weren’t made to brag to your friends about how fast you completed a 5k — although, let’s face it, it feels good to do it sometimes.
Instead, use these things to track your progress and motivate yourself while running, helping you find that extra gear in order to complete a route faster than you ever have before. Think it, do it.
Visualizing Your Success Will Help Push You
I’ve got a personal rule while I’m out for a run: When I think I want to stop at a certain mile, I extend that even more, challenging myself until I can’t go any further. For instance, if I set out to go 4 miles, I’ll see that I’m at 3.75 and, rather than stop after reaching my target, I might extend the route to hit 4.5 miles. When you can adapt and visualize your success during a run, the more likely it is you’ll find the necessary motivation you need to get through it. Compete with yourself, always.
Accept The Pain And Change How It Impacts You
Running sucks, I’m not going to lie. Whether you’ve been doing it for a long time, or are just getting started, your body will ache and your mind will want to stop. That’s not how you’ll be successful in anything in life, though, right? No pain, no gain.
So, instead of focusing on how your legs are sore and how that discomfort holds you back for a run today, as long as it’s not a serious injury, retrain your brain to think that your legs hurt because you’ve been so active lately. This simple mental shift gives purpose to the pain, and gives a rewarding feeling of “working hard” rather than “I’m tired.”
Don’t Set Your Goals Too High
Man, ambition can be a real pain in the ass, can’t it? Just when you think you’re going to hit the road for a good 5-mile run, you find yourself lacking motivation and struggling about a half-mile in, looking at your watch to see how long it’s been since you left. That’s distracting, and definitely won’t make things enjoyable during a workout. That can lead to disappointment when you don’t reach the goal you set out for.
Instead, listen to your mind and body to determine what you can and can’t do. A 5-miler might sound great, but even just getting out and doing 2.5 miles is healthy and can help you unwind a little bit.
Let Your Music Bring Motivation (And An Inspiring Motto)
Want to know my go-to song when I need a pick-me-up on a run? Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which I literally rap in my head when I’m looking deep for some motivation. The line “success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not” has become my so-called motto, lifting me up and competing with myself to keep at it until I reach my destination.
Remind Yourself You’ve Done This Before
Even if you’re running a new route for the first time and are nervous about the obstacles in front of you, take a deep breath and remind yourself of a very basic reality — you have done this before. It might sound so simple, but in your lifetime, you’ve probably run up steeper hills than what you’re about to try. You’ve endured worse conditions. You’ve been successful and crossed the proverbial finish line. Don’t overthink your run and find motivation from the fact that you’ve got this.