No matter how much you grow to love running, there will be times when it’s hard to keep your momentum going. Learning to overcome the barriers between you and your favorite activity will make the difference between a passing phase and a lifetime of fitness.
Even the most committed runners will suffer from dips in their motivation. During your first few months of running it can be especially hard to keep going as you readjust to the new routine. As you continue running, though, you will find that it is as much a mental exercise as a physical one and consciously working on your drive to run is one of the keys to a long, successful running career.
There are many reasons for loss of motivation, perhaps you are frustrated at your slow progress, or are not seeing the radical changes you had hoped for. Maybe you feel that running means making too many sacrifices in other areas of your life. Even a spell of bad weather can sap your will to go out and run.
The first thing to remember is that missing one or two runs is not necessarily a problem. It is good to allow your body to recover from all the hard work you have put it through. At the same time, it is important to stop yourself from drifting into a habit of making excuses. A good place to start is revisiting the reasons you took up running in the first place whether that was losing weight, getting fit or relieving stress.
If running is not helping you meet those targets, ask yourself why. If you wanted to lose weight but are failing to do so, perhaps you are eating more to make up for training without realizing it. Think about the other, less tangible benefits of running, such as its effects on your long-term health.
Finding Solutions. You Cannot Run Alone.
If external factors are giving rise to excuses for not running, think about solutions that will deal with these problems permanently. For example. if your family or partner is resentful of time you spend running, try to get them involved by having them cycle with you along the route, if they don’t want to be involved, plan to spend quality time doing something they enjoy. You could also encourage work colleagues to run with set up a lunchtime running club and your boss how running can make the team more productive.
At the time you may find that applying some of the techniques use at work your running will help your motivation. Review your running goals at regular intervals as you those at work. If you find that they have gone stale or were unrealistic in the first place, set new goals. For example, if an original goal was to lose 5 kg and that has been achieved, look at setting a goal to improve your running instead. If your goal was to lose 10 kg and you only lost 2 kg find a achievable target. Make sure your running goals are SMART, specific, achievable, realistic and timely.
Forge good running habits by setting yourself golden rules that will last all of your running life so that lack of motivation never stops you. For example, change into your running kit as soon as you get up or get home from work, make the rule that once you are wearing the kit, you have to run. Have an answer ready for every excuse and tell yourself that you are only allowed certain treats on the days that you run.
Properly Manage Your Expectations
Often people lose motivation to run because it fails to live up to the expectations they had when they started out. In most cases there is a reason that running has not fixed a particular problem or given you a desired outcome and in some cases the problem is just that your expectations were too high.
Common Reasons for Disillusionment Are:
Failing to Lose Weight.
If you took up running to shift a pounds and its not working, first of all ask yourself if you’re doing enough. Remember that to lose 450g per week need burn an extra 3,500 k cal, that’s equivalent to running for 50 minutes every single day. Try being more active in other ways such as walking more or cycling to work and keep a food diary to make sure you’re not eating extra to ‘make up for’ running.
Not Feeling Fitter.
Though you should feel some benefits after just a couple of runs (mainly because of the feel-good chemicals released in to your bloodstream when you exercise), it will take six to eight weeks of regular running before you find it more comfortable, as your heart, lungs and muscles need time to adapt.
Being ‘Bad’ at Running.
Perhaps you were a great runner at school or maybe you thought you were naturally athletic either way, being slower than hoped is disappointing. Again, you need to give your body time to adapt to training before it can run fast, even the best athletes take years to reach their peak, so be patient.
Feeling Stressed Out.
Aside from the physical benefits of running, you may heard that it’s good for stress relief, only to find that it’s another thing on your ‘to do’ list, leaving you feeling even more strung out. Reorganize your timetable before you commit to running regularly, so you can always fit it in easily. For most people the simplest way to do this is to run early in the morning, then it should help to relieve stress about the day ahead and it’s one thing off that ‘to do’ list before you’ve even reached the office.
The best way to tackle lack of motivation is to run with other people and often the idea of letting someone else down is more powerful than the thought of letting yourself down. If this is impossible, you can still share your training with others, try setting up a blog or visiting forums on running websites for support. Showing your training diary to a friend regularly can also help, as you will be embarrassed by any skipped sessions.
Try being your own coach too. Remind yourself much you have achieved since you started and give yourself pep talks. If you find yourself thinking can’t face a run this evening, tell yourself
I always feel better after running.
I’ve done this in the past and know I can do it again