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

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Quote of the Day:

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

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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.