Staying motivated…

Motivation: where are you?

I have days where I just don’t feel like running.  This is a bit of a problem because I have a marathon to train for and those miles aren’t going to run themselves.  My occasional lack of motivation stems from many factors – general fatigue (remember, my son doesn’t sleep through the night so neither do I), the weather (it’s hard to want go for a run when it’s hot and like a 1,000% humidity outside), aches and pains (that I worry will turn into a legit injury), or boredom (not with running, but with running the same route again).

So what to do? What to do? How do I keep myself going when I don’t feel like running?

That's me right there

The simplest solution: put on my running clothes as soon as I wake up.  If I’m dressed the part, I have a better chance of actually going for a run.  This is also a practical choice because with a toddler running around, I don’t have time for multiple wardrobe changes in the morning.

So I’m dressed, now what? During the week, I bring Zain along for most of my runs.  Generally, the only reasons I don’t bring him are bad weather or if he’s sick (in those cases, I get up earlier and hubby hangs out with him while I run).  I feed him breakfast before our run which means plenty of time for me to stand around and think about how I’m so tired and don’t feel like going for a run.  I have to tell that inner naysayer to hush and keep going through the motions until we’re out the door.

I get Zain situated in the stroller and make sure we both have water, in addition to my keys, cell phone, etc.  Then we walk to the corner where I usually start running.  What happens when I get to the corner and I still don’t feel like running? I tell myself to just start nice and slow and try to make it to a mile and if I still don’t feel like running at that point, I will stop and walk.

I haven’t stopped yet.

Once I get going, sometimes it takes me at least half a mile to warm up, especially when I’m pushing the stroller, but once I’m going, I’m going.  I don’t need to stop.  My body has done this and it can do this again today.

I know I’m making myself sound like a slacker.  The scenario I’m describing does not occur on a daily basis, I promise! It happens maybe once a week or once every other week.  It’s a mental obstacle that I can overcome with my physical abilities.  I feel like I can’t run, but I can run.

I encountered pretty much this exact situation during one of my runs this past week.  The reason for the lack of motivation that particular day was without a doubt the heat and humidity.  I struggled through every minute of my run, feeling like I could not breathe because the air was so thick.  I kept telling myself to make it just another half a mile and I eventually made it to 4 miles.  It was grueling, but I was proud of myself for sticking it out.  I felt better for the rest of the day because I ran.  I have to remind myself sometimes that I will be glad later that I pushed myself now.

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, the weather has really zapped my motivation lately.  I rarely felt this way in the Spring when it was a comfortable 65 degrees.  I just have to tough it out though and I know I can look forward to cooler temps in the Fall for the marathon.  I do have the option of waking up earlier to run alone before it warms up in the mornings, but I’m The Running Mom! I like having Zain’s company for my weekday runs since I generally don’t take him on my long runs.  Lucky for him, he’s nice and cool in the stroller with his sunshade and refreshing breeze I’m creating for him as we run :).

So whether you’re running for a particular weight loss goal…

Running off the weight

…distance goal…

Maybe you just want the bumper sticker

…speed goal…

Track workout!

…to burn off those treats you ate last night…

Those calories aren't going to burn themselves

…or maybe you’re running away from something ?

Couldn't resist including this picture!

Keep going and don’t give up.  You can do it.  You will do it.  And you have to do it because I said so.  Now get off the computer, and get running!

Happy running and happy Friday!

What do you do to stay motivated on days when you don’t feel like running?


  1. says

    To be honest, I’m so happy that it’s not just me that doesn’t “feel” like running every time. It helps to know that others have motivation difficulties at times too. Thanks for posting~

  2. says

    this is an awesome write-up. thanks for sharing!!

    p.s. if you are interested in squeezing a 1/2 marathon into your marathon training, join me at Atlantic City 1/2 Marathon on October 16th! :)

  3. says

    Heat and humidity are my arch rivals! When summer time rolls around here in Texas my water consumption doubles. Last year I invested in a Camel Back that I take running and mountain biking, it was worth the investment for sure. As you mentioned, the summer weather is the most discouraging factor when exercising outdoors. I use most of the techniques that you use to get motivated, particularly telling my self that I can quit if I want once I get started. In addition to those I usually turn on music that gets me pumped up and start moving around. When my stubbornness gets the best of me I refuse to sit down until I have begun my workout. It sounds unusual, but I would rather be running on my worst day than standing all day on my best. Best of luck with your marathon training!

  4. Katie says

    Thank you so much for this post! You don’t sound like a slacker at all, at least not compared to me! I feel like this post EVERY time it’s time for me to run. Well, maybe not every single time, but probably 90% of the time. I never feel like it, but I try to remind myself like you said, that I’ll be glad later. I never regret running but I almost always regret not running!


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