Recently I was talking with a new runner and she shared with me that she aspires to develop a regular running routine, but sometimes she really struggles with motivation. She told me that sometimes the hardest part is just getting out the door.
In every runner’s life, there are plenty of moments when you are pumped, excited, and just can’t wait to get out and run! For every motivated moment, there are also plenty of times when motivation isn’t quite so easy to come by. Sometimes you just don’t feel up for a run. Sometimes you are tired or want to do other things.
I know how this feels because I’ve experienced both sides of the coin! This has been especially difficult for me over the last year because races used to be my primary running motivator. Once races went away, I had to get creative to stay motivated and keep myself accountable.
No matter how much you love something, there will always be moments where you lack motivation. That is why I am sharing these tips with you today for the moments when you are just not quite feeling up to it.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the Disclaimer page.
These 25 motivation tips will help you to rekindle your excitement for running and inspire you to lace up and get out the door!
1. Get Clear About Your “Why”
The most important thing you can do to ramp up your motivation is to get clear on your “why”. Why do you want to run? Why is it important to you?
If you don’t know, it will be easy to quit when times get tough. If you know why you’re running and you stay focused on that, it will be much easier to keep going when you inevitably run into roadblocks.
2. Set Goals
It is much easier to stay motivated to run if you are working toward a goal. Is there something exciting that you want to train for? Maybe it’s a race. Maybe it’s something else.
Regardless of what the goal is, it can be very helpful to have a goal to work toward! Set some running goals that excite you and that you can commit to.
3. Track Your Runs Using a GPS Watch
Using a GPS to track your runs can be really helpful for running motivation. Using a GPS watch makes it really easy to track how long you’ve been running, pace, heart rate, and much more.
It can be really motivating to track your progress using a GPS watch. I highly recommend a Garmin! I’ve been running with mine for years.
4. Join an Online Running Community
When I first started to get serious about running, I created a special running Instagram (separate from my personal account) where I would just post about running. I also followed a lot of other runners who I thought were inspirational to help myself stay motivated. I would scroll through Instagram and see that the other runners were posting their runs, and it always motivated me to run too.
I highly recommend joining some sort of running community on social media. A few popular options are through Instagram or Facebook Groups. Joining these online communities can be very motivating, and you will also make some amazing friends with similar goals through these online forums!
5. Get Some Awesome Running Gear That Excites You
The first time I tried running, I wore a baggy cotton t-shirt and some ill-fitting Soffe shorts (huge mistake). It was uncomfortable and I also felt self-conscience about how I looked. I didn’t believe I was a “real” runner yet, and the awkward clothing choices kind of reinforced that feeling.
Everything changed after I went out and bought some actual running gear. I found bright-colored form-fitting moisture-wicking shirts, running leggings, and athletic shorts that were made specifically for running.
Not only did the clothing feel much better to run in…I also felt much more confident and actually excited to run. I loved my new running clothes and they made me excited to wear them.
6. Listen to Audiobooks or Podcasts
Something that I have been doing on my runs lately is listening to podcasts. I have discovered a few podcasts that love. I always look forward to listening to the latest episodes.
Listening to them on runs is the perfect time to catch up on the latest episodes and also helps to keep me entertained. Listening to an audiobook or podcast is a great way to keep yourself occupied on your runs.
7. Sign Up for a Race
This one is my personal favorite. I love using races as a motivator to get my runs in. Now that races are finally coming back, I highly recommend signing up for a race to motivate you. When you have a race on your calendar, you have something to work towards. It gives you a reason to run because if you don’t do the training, you won’t be able to run the race.
Races are also really exciting. The energy and excitement at races always fuel my motivation and make me want to sign up for more! I highly recommend signing up for a race if you are looking for some extra running motivation.
8. Feel the Endorphins
It’s no secret that running is good for your mental health. There is evidence that suggests that running releases chemicals in your brain that help to elevate your mood.
I discovered these benefits when I first started to run. The mood boost is what really hooked me. I challenge you to go for a run and see if you feel better mentally when you are done. This can be an excellent motivator to keep doing more runs.
9. Use Music to Motivate You
Music can be really powerful for your motivation and mindset. Listening to fast-paced and upbeat music can pump you up and make you want to run longer and faster.
My favorite music to play during runs is EDM music. I noticed that I run faster when I listen to it, and I also feel like I can run for longer.
10. Sleep in Your Running Clothes
Running first thing in the morning can be a great way to establish a running habit. If you want to make it one step easier to get out the door, you can try sleeping in your running clothes. Running clothes are typically soft and comfortable.
If you sleep in your running clothes, you can get up in the morning, put on your shoes, and get out for your run before your mind catches up and realizes what’s going on.
Sleeping in your running clothes will remove one extra step from the process which might be all that is needed to get you outside and running!
11. Run Outside and Focus on Nature
I love running outside much more than running on the treadmill. The thing I really love about it is that I can focus on nature and just be present in the moment. A great way to get motivated to run is to take your runs outside and use it as your time to soak up the beauty of nature.
During runs, I love to look at the flowers, the leaves on the trees, focus on the sounds. I love to just observe them and be present. Taking time to notice these things is so simple and can really help to relax you and give you a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
12. Use a Fitness App
Using a fitness app is another great way to get running motivation. There are tons of different apps out there to try. A few examples are MapMyRun and Strava.
Using a running app can help you to stay motivated and dedicated to running! I recommend that you check out the running apps available in the App Store to see if there is one that is best for you.
13. Lower Your Expectations
Something that could help you with running motivation is lowering your expectations. Sometimes if we set our expectations too high, we get discouraged and give up completely. Sometimes we expect to have a perfect run, and the run doesn’t go as planned. If we go in expecting to finish a race in the first place, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Lowering our expectations can make it easier to keep showing up and getting out there. No matter how fast or slow you go, the fact that you’re showing up and running is the most important thing.
14. Follow a Training Plan
Having a training plan to follow takes the guesswork out of your runs. When you’re following a good training plan, all of your runs are planned out in advance and all you have to do is get out there and run.
If you’re not really sure how often you should be running or how far or fast you should go, I highly recommend getting a training plan because it will help you to be strategic about your running.
15. Sign Up for a Virtual Race
The pandemic made virtual races much more popular. Virtual races are a great way to train for a race and get motivated without having to travel to an in-person race. Virtual races are also much more flexible because you can do them wherever and whenever you want.
When you finish a virtual race, you still get a race medal to add to your medal collection which is an awesome motivator. I love to run for bling!
16. Find a Running Buddy
Running with a buddy is an awesome way to stay motivated and hold each other accountable. Running with a friend also makes it so that your running time is also social time to catch up and talk with your buddy.
It’s much easier to get motivated to run if you have a buddy who is expecting you to run together. Running with a buddy also makes runs more fun!
17. Hire a Running Coach
If you’re looking for some extra motivation, support, accountability, and guidance, hiring a running coach could be the perfect solution for you. A running coach will assess your running history and goals and put a plan together that is customized just for you.
They will also focus on helping to keep you on track to meet your goals. Hiring a running coach can be a great way to stay motivated and reach your goals.
Check out my Run Coaching page to learn more about the run coaching services I offer.
18. Use Running as “Me Time”
I don’t know about you, but my daily life is very busy. I have a full-time job, a family, a toddler, a side-hustle, and like to spend time with my family and friends. I don’t get a lot of time to myself. Running is my favorite way to take a break and give myself some “me time”. It’s a great time to just focus on myself, my thoughts and feelings, and nature.
If you’re interested in adding some extra me-time to your life, running can be a great way to do that!
19. Join an In-Person Running Group
Many cities and towns have in-person running groups that you can join. Similar to running with a buddy, running with a group of fellow runners can be a great way to motivate you and hold you accountable.
The running community is generally very friendly and welcoming, so it can be awesome to meet a group of new friends who are passionate and interested in running. Their passion and motivation can rub off on you when you run with them during group runs!
20. Make Running Part of Your Routine
As humans, we are creatures of habit. We love to have daily routines and stick to them. Adding runs as part of your regular routine can be an excellent way to stay motivated to run. If you do an early morning run every day, it’s much easier to be motivated than if you just throw a run in here and there based on how you are feeling.
Build running into your daily routine and it will make it much easier to stay motivated to run!
21. Use Motivational Quotes
I love using motivational quotes to inspire myself. There are lots of running motivation quotes out there that will get you in a positive mindset and keep you inspired to keep running. I like to put motivational quotes on post-it notes and keep them in places where I can see them – on my desk, near my treadmill, in my planner, and on my phone.
Seeing the quotes on a regular basis helps me to stay in a positive mindset and reminds me that I can reach my goals even when I have doubts in my mind.
22. Keep a Training Log or Journal
A great way to stay motivated to run is to write your runs down. Track your runs and workouts in a training schedule or training journal. I love to plan my runs in advance in my planner and then I track them as I complete them. This really helps with motivation and accountability.
Here is my favorite workout journal. It’s cute and offers awesome running inspiration!
23. Try a Running Streak
Run streaking has become really popular over the last few years. But you might be asking what is a run streak? A run streak means you run every day for a set period of time. Some people like to run streak for a month or for a season.
Run streaking can be a great way to build running into your schedule. It can also be a great way to motivate you to get out and run. The one thing you need to be careful about when run streaking is that you don’t overdo it. Running every day with no rest days can be risky so you need to be careful not to over-tax your body.
24. Try New Running Routes
Running in a new location can be an awesome way to keep your runs exciting and fun! I love to try new trails and roads and explore new parts of my town. Running a new route helps to keep things interesting.
You can do research to find new trails in your area. Or you can try running in a new neighborhood that you’ve always wanted to check out.
25. Reward Yourself
At the end of the day, the fact that you are running is an amazing accomplishment and deserves to be celebrated! Rewarding yourself for sticking to your running plan is a great way to get some extra running motivation. It’s also a great way to remind yourself that running can be fun!
Treat yourself to something special when you reach your goals and celebrate your accomplishments! You deserve it!
What’s your favorite way to stay motivated to run?
You May Also Be Interested In:
5 Exciting Running Goal Ideas That Aren’t Races
How to Start Running When You’re Out of Shape
Follow This Advice to Crush Your First Half Marathon
Great post! I have used a lot of these ideas to keep myself motivated to run. You offer really great suggestions!
I like your tips. Especially the one with the podcast. I do not know why this idea did not come earlier to me since I actually have a podcast I am listening to while cooking. This especially helps me, when I feel all lazy and tired after work to find the motivation to still take the time and cook something healthy instead of baking a frozen pizza. Anyway, thanks for your tips. Maybe I can get running back on my daily list as well.
I used to run and in my first half marathon I’d ended up hurting myself because I didn’t train like I was supposed to so I tore a muscle in my knee. I love running though and I’m slowly easing back into it. I can’t wait. These are great tips! To stay motivated maybe I should sleep in my running clothes too. Thank you for sharing all of your tips too.
These are great suggestions! I really like the idea of buying gear that excites you and tracking with a running app. Those help motivate me along with a really good playlist. Thanks for sharing these tips!
yes! All of these motivate me to want to run. New clothes and shoes always give me an extra pep in my step. I love the motivation I get from my group and all of my online running friends as well
Numbers 2 and 22: I love to set an annual milage goal and then work towards it by logging my miles. It’s so motivating to see the gradual progress!
There’s definitely something for everyone here! I listen to podcasts and music, and love finding new routes. I’ve heard the tip to sleep in your running clothes before, but that one doesn’t appeal to me- my running clothes aren’t THAT comfortable! Overall great tips.
Great tips! I used to sleep in my running clothes when I first started running in the early morning. Now I get up a few minutes earlier and drink coffee while I get ready. Seeing other runners on instagram is so motivational!
This is really great! I think everyone loses motivation from time to time, and sometimes, we need a big boost to get back to it. Thanks for sharing!
I actually think not training for the last year has in some ways been motivating for me. Weird, huh? But there’s no pressure. Sometimes I push a bit, I actually run a lot less — which leaves time for other pursuits.
I’ve always been a big fun of cute running clothes as motivators, But I would never be comfortable sleeping in them!
Great tips for motivation! As a beginner to start running again I am excited to try some of these that I never have before. I’m also excited to revisit some of the ones that have worked for me. Running is a great confidence and mood booster that builds up inside and flows over to inspire others towards positive thinking and creativity.
Yes to all of these! I think finding a running buddy or joining a running club/group is one of the best things you can do for motivation. And now that races are coming back I find them even more motivational.