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Date

The Long Run

Pip Coates was a swimmer until life got busy and she discovered the addictive simplicity of running. She's never looked back.

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You'll never regret going for a run if you can just get yourself started!

You'll never regret going for a run if you can just get yourself started! Photo: Ben Rushton

Most runners I know struggle from time to time with motivation. And I don’t mean the motivation to keep going in a marathon or maintain the pace to beat a PB in a 10k race. I mean the motivation simply to get started - to get out of the door and just get it done.

For me, the battle between my inner runner and my inner sloth is a regular thing.

Sure, there are days I’m just itching to lace up my shoes and get gone but there are plenty of others when I end up hitting the snooze button or feel pinned to the couch thinking of a dozen reasons to can that planned training run.

But I’ve also got to the point where I can pretty much silence my lazy alter ego and get out the door. Over the years I’ve evolved a few tricks to win the motivation battle. Here are 10 that come immediately to mind and which have worked for me.

1. It’s all good
Remind yourself that you never finish a run and think “Gee, I which I hadn’t done that.” You always feel better after a run.

2. Go early
There is something very special about being out and about while most other people are sleeping, and there’s the added benefit of getting training out of the way before the rest of the day begins. You might also find you’re out running before your body really has a chance to wake up and object!

3. Reward yourself
Promise yourself a reward after you’ve finished your run. Ideally, this should be something healthy (but if it happens to be a glass of wine with dinner, don’t stress).

4. Sleep on it
Go to bed in your running gear (freshly washed, naturally). When you wake up you’re good to go with no excuses about not being bothered to get changed.

5. Pair up
It’s very difficult to back out of a training session if you have arranged to hook up with a running partner. There’s nothing like the fear of letting someone down to make yourself accountable.

6. Enter a race
Put in your entry then mark it on the calendar. Only 6 weeks to race date? Better get off your butt and do that tempo run.

7. Get cross
If you really, really don’t want to run for whatever reason (or maybe you have a niggling injury), then don’t can the session completely – do some cross-training in the pool or on your bike

8. Change it up
Maybe you just can’t face running that same old loop you’ve been doing for the past five years. If you feel like you know every crack in the pavement on your route, try going in the other direction or even head off road.

9. Lie to yourself
Perhaps you just don’t feel up to a 10k this morning. Promise yourself you’ll just do 5km. Chances are, however, that when you hit the 5km mark you’ll be in your stride and happy to push on further.

10. Make a meal of it
Looking forward to that roast dinner tonight? You’ll enjoy it a whole lot more if you’ve burned off the calories in advance in a training run.

Is getting started sometimes a problem for you? Have you used any of these motivation techniques? What works for you?

25 comments so far

  • If you are doing it first thing in the morning: set more than one alarm. Also set the alarm on your phone/clock and put it on the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you are actually out of bed getting changed will be much easier.

    Commenter
    matt
    Location
    syd
    Date and time
    October 11, 2012, 2:58PM
    • God, I hate the "run first thing it feels great!' cheer squad. I have tried over and over to enjoy excercise in the morning, and it's horrible. A run in the evening while everyone else is asleep or getting ready to sleep is much better for me.

      Commenter
      Owl
      Date and time
      October 11, 2012, 3:32PM
      • Absolutely agree

        Commenter
        RTTB
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        October 12, 2012, 9:36AM
      • It's also easier and healthier for you - there's lots of research that exercise first thing when muscle fibre is 'tight' causes more strain, including on the heart, whereas the body is ready to stretch out in the middle of the afternoon. Practically it also fits with a slump in attention. Here's just the latest article to mention it

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578018294057070544.html?KEYWORDS=the+peak+time+for+everything

        Commenter
        Dr J
        Date and time
        October 12, 2012, 9:38AM
      • I agree Owl. I am a much much better runner in the evening. I feel better, I run significantly faster times and I enjoy it so much more (particularly when day light savings kicks in). It's a shame that in this article of ten things to help motivate (particularly when it includes something as spurious as sleeping in your running gear!!) that the author couldn't have simply said - "try running at a time that suits you best".

        Commenter
        choo
        Location
        melb
        Date and time
        October 12, 2012, 11:03AM
      • Ditto. I'm not a morning person at all. A run at sunset or just after is great.

        That aside, some good tips in this article.

        Commenter
        Chris
        Location
        Marrickville
        Date and time
        October 15, 2012, 4:51PM
      • Whatever works for you I think. Personally, I'm not a runner - I've never really enjoyed running, so I do cycling instead. I don't really enjoy that sort of stuff when it is really cold, I prefer to be out when it is at least a bit warmer, I seem to perform better and my muscles are happier too.

        It also means I don't have to get out of bed as early. It takes time to get ready, do stretches, that sort of thing, but otherwise all I have to do is get dressed and get put water in one bidon and a mixture in the other one and some food in a sachet (mint-chocolate gel, yummy)!

        I'm pretty well motivated - to the point where I'm unhappy if I miss a ride. I'm sure the runners get that too if that miss out on a run. It's a marvellous thing.

        Point 5 and 9 in the article are great - but point 9, if you don't feel right, don't push it, you'll just injure yourself and you'll be grumpy for the next week while you recover because you can't run or ride. Been there, done that.

        Commenter
        Whatever works for you
        Date and time
        October 17, 2012, 10:07AM
    • sleep in your running gear? seriously? that's even more off-putting than going for a run in the morning, so how pray tell do i motivate myself to sleep in my running gear, in order to help motivate myself to go for a run? bizarre. if you have to sleep in your running gear to motivate yourself, maybe running's not for you...

      Commenter
      jay
      Date and time
      October 11, 2012, 3:33PM
      • I think that's ridiculous too. Does the running gear Nick sleeps in include running shoes? I don't even wear pyjamas. When I wake up next to my partner in the morning I'm ready to go - but not running.

        Commenter
        yeah-no
        Date and time
        October 15, 2012, 8:27AM
    • I'm more of a swimmer than a runner, but I agree with 1, 2 and 4 for ensuring I don't pull the pin on my training. I don't wear my gear to bed, but I lay it out the night before so I just have to get up, put it on and I'm out the door. Going early is a must and I always feel energised the whole day when I train in the morning :)

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 11, 2012, 3:57PM

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