Although running is one of the most common sports, and with the approaching holiday season will only grow in popularity, many people fall into a rut when it comes to getting outdoors and hitting the trails. Perhaps it is raining, your busy schedule or you feel you lack the energy; whatever the reason, read the tips below and choose one to get you back on your feet.
1. Find a new route
This one might seem obvious, but with careers, families and other commitments all fighting for space in your weekly schedule, many people find themselves lucky to find the time to run, let alone plan a new route. While it might be convenient, stomping on the same ground day after day can leave your head feeling bored and your body unmotivated to get outdoors. If finding the time to map out a new route is impossible, check websites like www.mapmyrun.com or www.walkjogrun.com, where runners map contribute their running routes for others to try. Otherwise, set aside the normal amount of time you run, but go somewhere different and choose your route on a whim.
2.Get some new gear
Probably the most popular motivator, nothing beats the excitement of tying on a new pair of trainers and testing them on your favourite trails. While this motivational tip is not the most economically friendly or environmentally sustainable, if you find yourself needing new clothes or gear then choose something you want and meets all your needs, rather than whatever is the cheapest.
3. Listen to some new tunes
Listening to the Rocky soundtrack while exercising lost its humour about ten years ago; if you listen to music while running, try creating a new playlist, shuffling your collection, or adding some new songs on there to change your running routine. Has one of your favourite bands just released a new album? Promise yourself not to listen to it until you start running. When choosing music, some find it helpful to match it to their running pattern, i.e. coordinate fast-paced songs to sprinting sections, or choosing songs around the same beats per minute ratio.
4. Incorporate new fitness moves into your run
As the old saying goes, ‘variety is the spice of life’, and even the best running route can lose its appeal. With obstacle course running events growing in popularity every year, why not try to incorporate some exercises from these events into your daily running routine? Try jumping over benches, swinging from bars or pausing every so often to do some push-ups or sit-ups.
5. Give yourself goals….
Without a personal best to beat, a charity to raise money for or a gruelling event to complete, running without a distinct purpose can leave some feeling uninterested or disheartened. Instead, give yourself fun personal goals, like running a route in a record time, or reaching a certain distance or landmark.
6….Or none at all
For others, the pressure of having to achieve a certain time or the risk of not raising enough money for a charity can suck all the fun out of running. When you start to feel like that, the best thing to do is forget about training plans or personal bests and just go out for a fun run. Bring your friends, go as fast or slow as you like, just make sure you remember why you like running again when you finish.
7. Treat yourself to something afterwards
Like the old adage goes, ‘lead the donkey with a carrot’, encourage yourself to go out running by rewarding yourself with something afterwards. Just remember to make it something healthy or nourishing for your body post-run, like a banana smoothie.
8. Remind yourself why.
People run for a variety of reasons; some for the love of it, others to lead a healthier lifestyle and many to prepare for a holiday or event. Whatever your reason, the best way to motivate yourself if you’ve tripped into a rut is to place a visual reminder of your goal where you will see it often. Whether it is a picture of your holiday destination or writing your aspirational PB time on a large piece of paper, make sure it strikes a chord with you to motivate you to get outdoors.
9. Find a partner-in-crime (or preferably running)
Running on your own week after week, especially after a day spent in a quiet office, can lead to anyone feeling like a social outcast. Turn running into a social event and invite some friends to come with you. The best method is to ask someone of similar running ability, but why not organise a weekly running group with friends and motivate each other to run each week? For those that like a bit of friendly competition, websites like www.mapmyrun.com offer weekly progress reports and comparisons of your running progress and times with friends.
10. Don’t beat yourself up.
Everyone gets disenchanted with running at some point, and if you find yourself uninspired to run for a prolong period of time, take a step back, accept it, and try another activity instead. Forcing yourself to constantly run when you don’t want to will only make you dislike it more, and life is too short to spend it doing something you dislike. After awhile, come back to it, and you will more than likely rediscover the joy it used to bring you!