Motivation for the Nation

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It might be the weather. Or the fact that marathon training is starting to take it’s toll. It could be an avalanche of work. Or maybe niggles are starting to creep in. Whatever the reason, there are times when it simply feels like too much effort to go for a run. So what do you do to make sure you get your running kit on and get out of the door?



Here are my top tips (in no particular order):

  1. Find a training partner – whether you are meeting them for a run or simply reading about the training they have been doing, finding someone of a similar level to you is a great way to keep your enthusiasm high.
  2. Write down the whole of your training – it is especially important, if you get your training weekly, to have a wall planner or something that allows you to see the weeks ticking by. That way, you will know how long you have before your key race and how much training needs to be done by then.
  3. Keep a training diary – if you write down all the running you do, not only will you have a record of how well you have done, you will have to admit, to yourself at least, when you have skipped a run.
  4. Get inspired – there are some great films, videos, books and magazine articles that should have you bouncing around and ready to run. One of my favourites is the classic battle between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley over 26.2 miles in the 1982 Boston race, which is known as the  Duel in the Sun:
  5. Don’t think too much – training is tough. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be much point doing it. And for many people the thought of a hard session can be enough to have them roll over and go back to sleep or find an excuse to not go out. So one tactic is to simply look at your training plan and GO! Don’t give yourself time to worry about what you are supposed to be doing. Just get on with it.
  6. Bribe yourself – if you are struggling to get out of the door, promise yourself a treat if you get the run or session done. You may well find that a more instant reward will be more likely to get you going.
  7. Visualise – think about what you are doing all this for. Sit quietly for a few minutes and imagine the finish line of the race you are targetting. Imagine looking up at the clock on the gantry over the finish line and seeing the time you have been striving for shown there. Then remember that if you want that, you need to work for it now.
  8. Compromise… to start with – if you are thinking that your 2 hour long run is a bit much or all you want to do is go for an easy run rather than a hard session, decide to just go out of the door and see how you get on. You might find that after 10 minutes you’re actually getting into it and before you know it, you’ll have done the long run or the session anyway.
  9. Run a race – it is sometimes a good idea to incorporate a race into your long run or do a Parkrun instead of the threshold session you had planned for Saturday. Simply toeing the start line of a race can be enough to reignite the desire to get on with the rest of your training
  10. Remember why you run – if you’re lacking motivation, get back to the reasons that you run in the first place. Sometimes, especially when training for a marathon or an ultra, it is easy to lose sight of why one actually runs. Think about that and get back to your running roots. Then simply get up, and go for a run!

So what are your top tips for getting motivated? How do you get yourself going when you would rather stay on the sofa or pop down to the pub? Share your thoughts in the comments and I’ll pick my favourites and send out some thanks you prizes!


  1. I tell my boyfriend my weekly workout schedule as he’ll prompt me “weren’t you going for a run today?” And I won’t want to wimp out! Also my friend and I who are training for a 10k together have a Google Drive document where we record our times etc- bit of friendly competition and we can write encouraging comments too 🙂

  2. Get injured – nothing has you champing at the bit like a few weeks or months on the sidelines.

    Or more seriously, try visiting someone unwell in hospital or a care home. Really brings it home how important your good health is and how you can never afford to take it for granted.

  3. 11. Get yourself online and keep up to date with what other runners are doing. There are tons of runners out there from world champions through to weekend fun runners sharing their experiences in blogs and on twitter.

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