How to Stay Motivated to Run

How to Stay Motivated to Run

How to Stay Motivated to Run

Last Friday, I was anything but motivated to run.  The amount I wanted to run wasn’t just 0%; it was probably -20%.  My motivation to run was not there.

How to Stay Motivated to Run

As a runner and a running blogger, I am supposed to be motivated to run all of the time, right?  Otherwise, I have failed at my self-created duties! It can be hard to stay motivated to run every single day. In fact, I think it’s impossible — every runner, from the new runner to the professional, struggles with running motivation at some point during their career.

What happened that particular day?

  • I had a meeting in the morning. I’m a morning runner, and the later it gets, the less motivated to run. Some people like to run later, but I’m not one of those people.
  • I was already stressed out from outside life factors. For some people, running is their stress reliever.  For me, I like running, but I enjoy other things to relieve stress.
  • Finally, the weather was the coldest it has been all year. It’s not an excuse, but cold weather can be so demotivating.  Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is freeze in the bitter wind while running.

Ultimately around 1 pm, I found myself with a choice.  Either I was going to run, or I was not going to run.  I had my running clothing in the car, and instead of going straight home to think about running, I went straight to the gym.

I can’t tell you I’ve always decided to go for a run when I’m not motivated, but on Friday, I managed to get a solid treadmill run in.

Many people ask how to stay motivated to keep running.

The short answer is: you just do. Running motivation has to come from you wanting to run, not from a blog post telling you how to.

Here are a Few Tips for How to Stay Motivated to Run:

  • Just get Out There. Just take the simple and basic sport and go for a run.  Doing 20 minutes of running or even a 2-mile run is still a run! You don’t need to do a long run. Running motivation doesn’t mean running faster or doing a long run every day. It just means consistently getting out there.
  • Remember why you fell in love with the sport. Usually, you didn’t fall in love with running for a specific time or pace; it was just moving one foot in front of the other.  It shouldn’t feel like a chore.
  • Think about what you would actually be doing in your running time frame. For me, I know I would just be sitting on the computer and honestly doing minimal work.
  • For some people looking at motivational quotes, pictures, and social media gets them out running. If a running quote or mantra gets you motivated for a run, that’s awesome, and use it.
  • For me, I stay motivated to run seeing my friends and runners getting through it. If they can get through run bad weather, then so can I!
  • Have a Training Plan or Running Coach: Sometimes, having someone holding you accountable is all you need. A training schedule and see what you should do written out is enough for some people to stay motivated to run.
  • Meet a Running Group: There have been many times I haven’t had the running motivation, but meeting a local running club, training group, or running partner has got me out the door.
  • Cross-Train: If you don’t feel motivated to run, do something. Whether it’s cross-training, strength training, or getting a few minutes of movement, often, that is all you need.
  • New Running Shoes: Why does it feel easier to run in new shoes? You can’t buy new running shoes every day but once every few months can help your running motivation.
  • Podcasts: Listening to a podcast is like running with a friend. There are even motivational podcasts that can help you stay motivated to run. I wrote a list with some of my favorites here.
  • Visualize your Running Goals: Remember why you are training. To cross your first finish line? To finish your longest race yet? Sometimes remembering your why is what keeps you motivated to run. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line and reaching your goal.

Remember, at the end of the day; it’s just running.  If you take a day or two off, that’s fine.  Your overall fitness is built on consistently running, not just one day.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:
What are some tips you have to motivated to run? 
What is something you’ve accomplished recently?


  1. I find it difficult to stay motivated sometimes but I always picture myself at the start line of a race and I know I don’t want to get there regretting not putting my miles in! I’ve recently accomplished a sub 30 minute 5K – when I first started running, I would run a 42 minute 5K so I was super proud of this!

  2. Sometimes you just have to get out the door and go…

    We all find ourselves unmotivated, but after I’m always happy I made like Rudolph and put one foot in front of the other.


  3. Good for you for getting it done. I’m a newer runner and I read in Runner’s World magazine in November to try to chase a streak of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I decided to give it a try knowing that I will probably quit the first time it snows here north of Boston. After a week of runs (most barely over a mile), I committed myself to the goal.

    Three days ago, it happened, a major snowstorm was predicted. The night before, my four year old woke up at midnight needing me to change his sheets. I gave him a bath and now I found myself wide awake before the snow started. I really didn’t want to get out there to keep the streak alive, but I knew that running in snow would likely not happen. I went back to bed. LOL! The streak can wait until the plows are done. Six inches fell that day. Around 4pm, I shoveled the driveway, came inside and told my wife that I was going for a run. I shut the door and took off in my hiking boots, snow pants and Gore Tex gloves. I ran on unshoveled sidewalks, crashing though deep snow (think Rocky IV training scene) and thought that the neighbors are going to think that I am certifiably crazy. I wound up finishing the run and felt pretty invincible afterwards. The streak is at 27 days now. I was captain of my cross country team in high school and I never ran that many days straight. With five days to go, I’m fairly certain that I will finish this challenge. After all, if you make a promise to yourself, you have to keep it.

    1. That is such an amazing story and thank you for sharing. Congrats on keeping that streak alive and I look forward to hearing how the rest of the streak goes. Please let me know when you finish!

  4. I’m definitely having a week where I just don’t feel like it – and I’m currently letting it happen. I don’t even have too much going on, and I know that since I have the week off next week, I’ll have the time to run when I really want to : first thing in the morning – and that will likely reinvigorate me. The winter can definitely make me feel unmotivated, with the dark cold evenings, it is dark by the time I leave my office. Definitely doesn’t make me want to lace up!

  5. Meeting friends to run is often my motivation. When the alarm goes off at 4:00am for a 5:00am run, I’m much less likely to roll over if I know someone is out there waiting to meet me. Solo runs are harder, especially long runs.

  6. A big thing for me is remembering why I do it, I always tell myself “you don’t have to do it, but I know you want to so just go do it!” this little line usually gets me up and out the door and into the gym. Reminding myself that no one is forcing me to do it makes it more fun.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas 🙂

  7. Oh man, I’ve been feeling unmotivated to run lately, but I signed up for a running Streak challenge so I’ve pushed myself to just get out there and get it done. I like challenges so it helps a lot.

  8. I definitely have taken a long time off of running, which I’m actually okay with! But on some days, what motivated me was the idea that even one mile was adequate. In the collegiate running days, anything under 3 wasn’t considered a run. Therefore, I still fight that mindset which ends up with me continuing to sit on the couch rather than brave the cold. But on other days, it does motivate me knowing that I can just go out and run whatever mileage I feel like, stop when I want and still enjoy it!

  9. The cold is brutal for me… it makes me so grumpy to wake up to bitter cold temps and have to decide between an outdoor run and a treadmill run… or going back to bed, which is usually most appealing!

  10. Had to lol to a blog not being your motivation, bc that is spot on. I feel like several years later of running consistently, it’s just what I do. The cold weather and dark mornings do put a damper and have me dragging my feet out of bed lately but ultimately I know I WANT to run and eventually that gets me out the door.
    Also I started a new job in September and don’t have to be in the office until 10 – which when I started I was kind of upset about. Now, not having to leave home until 9 has been a TREMENDOUS help with how long it takes me to get out of bed in the morning! I tend to wake at 6 and seriously not get out of bed until 7. But as long as I am in the shower by 8:30 I am good so have a lot of built in procrastination time.

  11. I agree with you on losing track of pace and time- it’s so important, especially when you’re struggling to stay motivated. My other best piece of advice would be to just put your kit on. You feel pretty silly sat around the house watching Netflix in your running kit!

  12. You hit the freakin’ nail on the head with – – > YOU JUST DO IT!!! That is basically what separates the people who love running and/or have success in running, from the people who don’t. When I’m super unmotivated I usually try to make a deal with myself about making a shorter or more enjoyable run or workout. I usually end up having a great workout after about 7 minutes 🙂

  13. It sounds cliche, but 99.9 percent of the time, I never regret going for a run. I’m lucky in the sense that I am very intrinsically motivated, but a lot of folks benefit from scheduling workouts and enlisting friends.

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