How to Find Motivation To Run (When You Really Don’t Want To)

What you can do to shake the feeling and get out the door

You are not going to feel great on the majority of your runs.  It’s not feasible to always feel good AND improve and get faster.  Sure, you can run slow enough that running is never tough, but then you’re never getting any faster.  You can also run faster, but then it won’t always feel good.

So when running is tough and you aren’t motivated, what are you to do?  Skip your run?  No way!

In all my years of running, the hardest runs for me to accomplish happen 1-2 days after a long run or a workout.  Especially as I’ve aged, I need more and more time to recover from those longer and harder days.  

On these “easy” runs, I feel the worst: I’m tired, sore, run down and the effort to get through those runs is always exponentially tougher than the hard day that preceded it.

In this post, I’m going to list all the ways I’ve found the motivation to run, even when I didn’t want to.

Regardless of what kind of run it is, this post will help you find the motivation to run!

  • Run a different route

  • Run a familiar route backward

  • Buy new running shoes

  • Sign up for a race

  • Listen to a podcast. These are my favorites:

  • Listen to music

  • Run with a friend

  • Run your errands

  • Run without a watch

  • Start your run somewhere new

  • Get lost on your run

  • Run based on your heart rate

  • Treat yourself

  • Cross train

  • “Only run for a mile”

There are going to be days when you really don’t feel like running. Even the most motivated runner in the world is going to have periods when they don’t feel like lacing up.  

What will work for you might not work for someone else, but the bottom line is not to beat yourself up when it does come - and it will come.  Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and when in doubt, consider what you’ve done over the last 10-21 days and see if you need to make adjustments.

An adjustment that I typically have made in the past includes getting extra sleep, using a foam roller or massage stick to help ease my muscle soreness, or even switched to a cross training day. 

Friday’s Action Plan:

Know that every day is not going to be a feel-good kind of day. Be prepared and have a plan to get your workout done even though you don’t feel good.

What’s Got My Attention:

Article: Shalane runs Boston day after Chicago 

Article: How to stay motivated after completing a fitness challenge or goal

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Interval Training Running Playlist

Social Benefits of Running in a Group

Marathon Running Quotes

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Success is How you See it

Can’t Start, Gotta Stop

Quote of the Day:

Give yourself some credit for the days you made it when you thought you couldn't.

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

Cool Your Jets

Cooling down after a race isn't just necessary, it should be fun!

The most underrated type of run (in my opinion): the cool down.

It is really easy to skip over it or turn it into an absolute joke.  But the reality is, that a cool down is super important to your running.

A cool down - and I’m talking after a workout or race - is vital to helping your body come back down from the intense work you’ve just done.  You can’t go from 100 back to 0 without coming across some side effects.

Here are some major reasons why a cool down HAS to happen for you:

  1. Mileage boost.  The extra mileage is really good for your running.  Even at a slow pace, the added mileage will help your endurance.

  2. Relaxes your muscles. You’ve just done serious work, you have to come back down to normal and a cool-down does that for you.

  3. Heart rate. Your heart can’t go from maximum back to resting without a little help from time.  Spend a few minutes gathering yourself before tacking on some slow mileage to help bring your heart rate down.

  4. Get rid of waste. When you run really hard, you build up lactic acid and other byproducts.  A cool-down helps you rid your body of that.

  5. Cramps.  Cramps are when your muscles lock up and, speaking from experience, it is really, really painful.  These can be super intense and can last for a few minutes up to a few days.  

A post shared by Marc Pelerin | NJ Run Coach (@trainwithmarc_llc)

What can you do for a cool down?

The most ideal thing to do after running a workout or a race is to jog for 10 minutes. I’d say that’s probably the shortest amount of time you can go for.  I know, from experience, that I’ve run 5 or more miles a handful of times after a workout or race to cool down.  Again - this is as a runner who was running 70+ miles every week.

If you have the ability to cross-train as a cool down, sure, go for it. This might include cycling, rowing, or swimming, but remember, the best way to cool down from running is to run.  

Put It Into Practice

Ideally, the shorter the race, the longer the cool down.  I like to make my workout and race days the longest they can possibly be without risking injury.  If I’m racing a 5k, there’s a good chance I’m getting in close to 8 or 9 miles on that day.  (3-mile warmup, ~3-mile race, 3 miles cooldown)

A shorter race - say a mile - I’d prefer to run a few repeats or a tempo run after the effort to make this race day a long day.  A day like this would look something like this: 2-3 mile warmup, 1 mile race, 4 x 800 @ comfortably hard effort, 2 mile cool down.

Friday’s Action Plan:

After your next workout or race, plan on incorporating a cool-down into your schedule. Shift gears and slowly bring your heart rate back to normal with some easy running of at least 10 minutes.

Big Events Coming Up:

Boston Marathon: Monday, October 11th - 9:00am ET - NBCSN/Peacock

Chicago Marathon: Sunday, October 10th - 7:30am CT - NBCSN/Peacock

What’s Got My Attention: 

Article: Des Linden’s Boston Buildup

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Marathon Running Quotes

Tempo Running 101

Plyometric Routine for Runners

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Faster Running, This Way

Sprints & Surges

Quote of the Day:

When you have a lot of confidence and you feel like nobody can beat you, it's game over for everyone else.

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

Faster Running, This Way

Small tweaks to your pre-run routine can make you faster

If you want to run faster, and I think all of us do, you need to spend less time on the ground. That’s it.

If you’ve ever been a kid and pretended the ground was hot lava, then you know how to run faster.  Light on your feet. Quiet footfalls. High knees. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

If the ground is hot and you want to spend as little time as possible on the ground, you need to be efficient.  Part of being efficient is not having your whole foot hit the gorund.  When your heels strike, then you roll to your ball of your foot, you’re spending too much time on the ground!

Instead, land midfoot to forefoot and pop right back off the ground.  Pretending the ground is hot lava is a really good way to improve your running form and become more efficient.

A post shared by Marc Pelerin | NJ Run Coach (@trainwithmarc_llc)

Here are a few ways you can practice your hot lava dance:

  1. Running drills.  Do drills to activate and loosen up muscles before you run, but also to work on running form.

If I only have time for a few drills, these are the drills I do:

A-skip (watch this TikTok vid for a-skips)

High knees

Glute kicks (watch my TikTok video on glute kicks)

They help reinforce the form I want to have, get me moving (before I run), and loosen up my major muscles.

Again, I try and do many more drills than just these three, but if I had to boil it down for you so you can work on this specific aspect of your running, these are the three drills I’d have you do. 

  1. Run hills.  If you can run up hills and land on your heels, you’re amazing because I have not figured out how to do it!

Corny jokes aside. The only real way to get up a hill is to be on the balls of your feet with some good forward lean. Pump your arms, drive your knees.  IF you can do it on the hills, you can replicate it on the flats (with practice).

  1. Run striders.

Stridres are great after easy runs.  I run 4-6 strides after a run the day before workouts and long runs.  They help remind my legs that fast running is coming.  I also do striders before a workout and before a race.

Again, your goal is to get your foot off the ground as fast as possible.  The more often you practice, the better you’ll become at doing it.

Friday’s Action Plan:

Practice running with a forward lean, being quiet with your footfalls, and getting your foot off the ground as quickly as possible.

What’s Got My Attention:

Article: 25 Biggest mistakes runners made as beginners 

Article: 5 Things you should consider before bailing on a long run

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

What Running Shoe Is Right For You?

How to Taper for Your Peak Race

The Benefits of Adding Striders

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Effective Post-Race Recovery Tips

Success Is How You See It

Quote of the Day:

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

Effective Post-Race Recovery Tips

These tips will get you back on your feet in no time

Are you coming off a long race and need to keep training so you can nail your big race?

Yeah, I’ve been there too. You’ve done the training and gotten some good data out of this race, but it’s not the peak race, so you can’t slack off and take significant time off. You’ve got bigger goals this season!

What do you do and how do you recover so you can keep training at a high level? That’s what we’re digging into today!

Right after the race - and I mean right after - is the best time to start the recovery process. I like getting in fluids like Nuun and water to help rehydrate. Even me as a person who doesn’t really sweat a ton, you do lose a significant amount of water due to the hard effort, so get some fluids back in as soon as possible.

The next thing you should be doing is a cool down. Depending on your mileage goals for the day, your long run can and should be anywhere from a 10-minute shuffle to 3-5 miles. Again, if you’re in marathon mode and you just ran a 10 miler or half marathon, and you’re trying to run a significant distance on your long run, you might have to do a hefty cooldown. Sometimes, that’s just the way it is.

Post-cool down, I like to treat myself to some good food. Usually, it’s some kind of bar or fruit until I can get to something more fulfilling, but then I like to get all the breakfast foods I can handle!

When I’m back home, I focus on what I love most: napping and a massage. I’ll use a foam roller or my massage gun to help alleviate soreness and there is nothing better in the world than a post-race nap.

I know that a post-race beverage is probably one of the things you’ll want to do to celebrate, and I can’t say you shouldn’t, but if you can, limit the number of beverages you consume. Alcohol plays a significant role in decreasing your ability to recover.

Friday’s Action Plan:

By planning ahead - and taking care of yourself, you can reduce the amount of time you need to recover from a longer race.

What’s Got My Attention:

Article: Shalane Flanagan will run 6 Major Marathons this fall

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Tips to Increase your Stride Rate

Active Warmup Routine

Shin splints: recovery and pain management

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Training in the Right (Heart Rate) Zones

Find Your VO2 Max

Quote of the Day:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

Session 114: Plan Your Way to a PR

9 tips to help you run your next PR

Fall marathons are right around the corner!  If you are running one - and a handful of you are - you'll want to have done everything you can to have your best day on race day.  It's a very long way to run to have something go wrong.

Knowing that you want your best on race day, regardless of if it's a marathon or a 5k, you want to run your best when it counts.  To do that, you need to plan and test out what you think will work best for you.

That might be what you eat the night before or the exact running clothes to wear (or not wear) on race day.

In today's post, I'm going to turn over all the stones that you may or might not have thought about.  Again, even if you have no intentions of running a marathon, this is still the post for you.  You want your best on race day and you'll want to have thought about all of this so you can run fast when it counts.

Knowing what works for you and what doesn't is the name of the game. I know that If I eat right before I run, it's going to be a bad, bad run.  So I plan accordingly.  This post is set up so that you can plan and execute.  You may not get it right on the first try, but that's why you're practicing it now and not on race day.

  • How fresh do your legs need to be to race well?

Fresh legs help you run well, but having too fresh of legs isn’t good either. There’s a balance between being fully rested and rested enough. Trial and error is your best friend.

  • Get your in-race nutrition (if necessary) nailed down

If you’re running a half or full marathon, you’ll have practiced taking on fluids and nutrition during long runs and workouts. Anything shorter and you probably don’t need to, except maybe some water. Practice makes execution easier, so practice during workouts.

  • Pick your race gear by wearing in workouts and long runs

I know what shorts to wear when I want a banger of a workout. I also know which shorts are always left in my drawer right before I need to do laundry. Those will never be race day shorts.

  • Don't race in new shoes or "dead" shoes

You don’t want brand new shoes on race day and you also don’t want to be in shoes that are long past their prime. 1 month until race day is a good time frame to be thinking about replacing your shoes if you need to.

  • Know what you can keep down prior to a run

Food is tricky to talk about because everyone is different. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. I can’t eat before a run and maybe you have to eat before you run.

  • Plan a race strategy (negative split, pacing, competing)

Talk with your coach, advisor, or mentor on how best to cover your race distance. It might be by running at a specific pace for a distance, then kicking it up a notch for the finish. Whatever it is, practice that feeling during training.

  • Find a dinner meal that won't leave you feeling yucky

  • Practice your warmup routine and tweak as necessary

Your warmup is the bridge between not running and running fast. You NEED to have a warmup routine. You can find mine here.

  • Do you need to run the day before your race? If so, how far?  

Some heavy-duty mileage people need to keep their mileage up to feel good. Others, like me, don’t need to do much prior to race day. As the saying goes, “the hay’s in the barn” definitely applies to me. That being said, I still want and need to run the day before a race.


You need to have a plan for your racing - whether it’s your peak race or not. The bullets above will help get you to your start line firing on all cylinders. Be smart with your training and take into account everything you can and your race will go well.

Friday’s Action Plan:

Racing is more than showing up. Plan for what will go right, but also what will go wrong.

What’s Got My Attention:

Article: How to race a marathon like Olympic Bronze Medal-Winner Molly Seidel 

Article: How to taper right to be fit and ready for your marathon

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Fueling Your Long Run

Make Workouts Easily on your Garmin Watch

LifePro Massage Gun Review

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Prioritizing Health & Wellness - Sept 2020

Active vs Passive - Sept 2019

Quote of the Day:

If the same mistakes keep repeating themselves, then you have to re-evaluate the role you played and change it.

Connect with me:

Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

What Marc's Up To

Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

If this resonates with you, I would love it if you could share it.

Share TrainwithMarc


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

Loading more posts…