Five Ways To Stay Motivated While Running

If you are stuck in a running rut and miss the excitement of logging the distance, we’ve just what you need to reignite your passion for running. These research-backed running tips are all the incentive you need to lace up for a run

By Debashruti Banerjee
03 September 2021
Five Ways To Stay Motivated While Running

It’s your first run after a long week. You have your gear, you are on the track, you’re starting strong. Yet, as tempting as the finishing line may be, you seem to be losing energy, you’re out of focus, you kind of want to stop. Sound familiar? Running requires a lot of discipline, patience and practice. The movement engages your entire body and mind, so it’s only natural that if you’re not feeling your best, it will reflect on your runs.


Apart from taking care of your physical health (doing warm ups, hydrating, maintaining a nutritious diet, doing strength training etc), steps like listening to music, having company, a change of scenery are few of the many ways you can try to engage your mind to the track as well.


1.Listen to the perfect playlist

Rhythm and beat is an important factor in maintaining consistency while running. The American Council for Exercise (ACE) has found that not only can listening to music aid in that, it can also boost your mood and energy. In fact, a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology concludes that different tempos (beats per minute) of music can impact your heart rate and endurance. While songs around 120 BPM are good for a normal jog, those higher than 140-150 BPM would work well for a high-intensity run. However, keep in mind that music can both energise and relax you, so create a playlist that caters to your personal needs.



2.Run with others

Research suggests that not only can a running buddy provide pleasant company, they can also be a healthy competition. Sharing the experience with a friend or a group of like-minded individuals will put some accountability on you to show up as well as provide you support when you’re not feeling your best. According to a 2018 survey by the fitness platform Strava, 83 percent of their members were more inclined to run due to their online community. This social interaction and sense of a common goal is crucial in a runner’s motivation.


The American Council for Exercise strongly recommends joining running clubs, an avenue that will allow you to meet new people and learn more about the sport itself. Under the pandemic situation, however, it is safer to stick to online forums.



3.Set realistic goals

Like any learning process, it is important to take one step at a time and not overwork yourself. It is crucial that you choose a running plan that is suitable for your fitness level, otherwise the risk of injury and the lack of progress will be sure to demotivate you. In their largest study of runner motivation consisting of 25,000 global respondents, Strava concluded that specific goals and workout plans are better motivators than treating running as a chore or with guilt. Try to run for a certain amount of time each day, perhaps some days more or less than the others, but setting a time-based goal rather than a distance-based goal may be more effective in accommodating runners of all fitness levels. This way, you can run at your own pace and actually enjoy it.


Try mixing up your runs with varied exercises, run during the morning on one day and in the evening on the next?as long as it breaks the monotony and makes you look forward to getting out there.


4.Explore new locations

If you’re bored with your same, old running route, try switching things up. A 2020 study published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that “daily variability in physical location was associated with increased positive effect in humans”. In other words, travelling and a change of scenery can uplift your mental health. We know it’s easier said than done in the middle of a pandemic, however, these changes do not have to be major. You can make little spatial changes from one locality to the other. Or, if you have access, you can try running on a treadmill as well.


5.Track your progress

One of the best incentives of persevering is a positive change. Therefore, make sure to document and keep an eye on your progress?no matter how little you improve, it is still progress. While the National Health Service, UK, recommends keeping a diary with the details of your daily runs, emotions and weather conditions, you can also download a variety of apps like Runkeeper, Runtastic, RunGo etc to document and celebrate your milestones. Not only can taking photos or videos of yourself running keep your running form in check, but sharing your journey online can add to your sense of purpose and connect you with other runners. It is okay to take a break when you don’t feel like running, but looking back at how far you’ve come is likely to encourage you to get back on track.


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