Motivating oneself to run


A new runner asked the question on a mail group – “How can I motivate myself to run?”.

Believe me, I passed (and still pass) through many moments of self-doubt and de-motivation. Some things I do –

  • Always run away (not the “never coming back again” sorts!) from home (with some id and initially very little money) till I feel I can run no more. Still have to get back home which means I have to run the return distance after I am ready to give up. The “very little money” meant that no autorickshaw rides home.
  • Stopped running in parks (basically in circles) – it’s the most “run killing” thing that you can do! I made an exception to this rule last year when most Delhi roads were dug up before the commonwealth games. Most real long runs were in a park with a 5.6km loop.
  • The days I feel very low on motivation I tell myself I will do a very short run and somehow get myself out of the door and on the road. I will then say to myself – if I can belt out a few extra kms today that means I won’t have to run more tomorrow. Many a times on my very low motivation days I will end up putting in the maximum kms with this strategy.
  • Buy myself good (and sometimes a little expensive) running gear. Then I will say to myself “are you going to just waste all that money by not using this stuff!”
  • Talk about running to whoever will listen and look at their awestruck expressions when I mention my mileage that day/week/month…!
  • Tell people what I used to weigh earlier and also look at some of my old photos from time to time. Also started buying clothes which were exact fits, which meant even a small weight gain meant I would feel it. Fear is a good motivator!

I am sure there were many more such small things which have kept me going.

Do write in with your comments on what keeps you running.

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About Sandeep

Consultant, Mentor, Headhunter & Leadership Evangelist.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in Running General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. For me it’s the morning that motivates. If I don’t run every day, I start getting hangover symptoms from my nightly drinking.

  2. Geez, we use the same motivating techniques 🙂 I talk to myself, ‘” youve done good so you know what? Cmon, you can do the next km or two. Nice and easy. No rush. ” So far, its worked.

    • I don’t remember the runners name but a very high mileage and famous runner was once asked – what do you talk to yourself about during a run? He famously said something to the effect – “ask me what I haven’t talked to myself about while running, it’s probably going to be a much shorter list !”

      I sometimes use the talking/thinking as a “zoning out” technique – the miles just slide away and the brain/body doesn’t even realise it.

  3. Wow… got answer to question running in mind from somany days

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