Struggling to find the motivation to get out and get those miles in the bank week in and week out? Here are my reflections on why I keep going and my top 10 tips on how to motivate yourself.
I run a great deal and if time allows, during a good week I may spend 20 hours or more running. When you consider I have a full-time job, a family and a home, it is easy to see that my spare time is run time!
“How do you find the motivation for all this running?”
I choose to spend almost all my free time exercising and yes, that may well seem a little incomprehensible for many. Finding the motivation to go for a run is never really an issue for me. A run is something I long for through my day, it motivates me to get the work done knowing that a release will come with time to exercise. At weekends, I value the additional time to travel, run longer distances or yes, rest! Rest is a very important part of a balanced running plan.
More than running
Running provides an opportunity to discover new places. Nothing better than watching the sun rise from the top of a hill a chilly winter morning or being on a quest for the best cinnamon bun places in the forest around Oslo.
Sometimes, I run to find peace in my soul. There is something meditative about running all alone out in the wild. I focus on the breath that goes in and out and the path ahead of me. Running provides isolation, escape from distraction and an opportunity to really clear the mind. Sometimes, I run to solve a problem or find a solution to something I have been pondering on.
Laughter and trail magic with friends who share my enthusiasm for terrain and ultra-running is a guaranteed way to make every run or exploration exciting.
Running is mostly escape and moving; fun! Sessions, be they fast or hill work make up an element of what makes me tick. How fast I can run a specific Strava segment? How many reps can I do at a consistent pace? Can I do 10 x my local hill? Structured speed and strength work will make you a better runner.
While it is good to be free and escape with a run, at times, one needs to be specific and hone one’s training to a specific goal, target or race. As an example, In order to prepare my body to run far in the heat and humidity at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, I had to swap long runs on beautiful snowy winter trails with various treadmill sessions at a fitness center, wearing full winter clothing, followed by a long stay in the sauna. I had to be specific!
Despite having a goal with sessions, often motivation can vary. The escape of a run can soon become like work, especially if one is being very specific with speed and intensity. The need to focus is essential and importantly understand the why! Counter this by making sure you add the escape / freedom runs to balance the hard work of the session runs.
Shake things up and be flexible. I was in a very focused block for Costa Rica, preparing for heat and humidity. But a last-minute opportunity to travel to Morocco and the Atlas Mountain was too good to resist. Fresh air, mountains and adventure tempted me so much more than the treadmill and sauna sessions. Find a balance.
Enjoy what you do
Remind yourself, why you run. Experience beautiful nature; challenge your-self both physically and mentally. Share the experience with other trail enthusiasts and enhance your life with new and rewarding experience. Go see new places, make new friends and live a life less ordinary.
Top 10 tips
1. Go cinnamon bun hunting (or cake if you prefer). Find out where you can get good buns and plan your run around those places.
2. Take the train or bus far away and run home. Destination running is much more fun than just running a loop. Why not make it a fastpack? Take a tent and sleeping bag and journey over 2/3/ 4 or more days.
3. Bring a friend who always makes you laugh.
4. Bring a good lunch and LOTS of chocolate.
5. Explore new trails and areas.
6. Do you know somebody who runs a lot in an area you are not familiar with? They probably know about all the best places. Trail runners don’t usually mind sharing their trails with other trail runners.
7. Go on a quest for pretty viewpoints. Besides getting a nice view and Insta pictures you’ll get a good amount of elevation gain as well.
8. Sign up for a race that is a little bit outside your comfort zone when it comes to distance. It’s easier to motivate yourself when you have a goal.
9. The right equipment – Running becomes much more enjoyable if you have shoes with a good grip that feels right on your foot and that gives you good grip and clothes that protect against the elements.
10. Music (of course)! Create a long playlist that you only listen to when you run. Make sure it’s got some of your favorite songs on that really gives you a boost.
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