How To Be a Runner When You Don't Feel Like Running
Even though I consider myself an athlete of the running variety (working towards my first full marathon atm!), sometimes I JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE RUNNING. I know I'm not alone here! When you're not feeling up for a workout, or need a little extra push, here are some things that keep me motivated and actually help me enjoy my workout:
1. Tell yourself it's okay to have a bad day and if you need to, take the day off. BUT, be sure to take note of exactly what could be making you feel this way (there's almost always a reason). Ask yourself, what have you you've eaten today? Was it enough? Was it the right kind of stuff? How much water did you drink? How long did you sleep for last night? Are you stressed about something? Find out what is making you feel low energy or unmotivated, take note and change it for next time. But for now, rest up and don't worry about it!
2. Take it slow. It took me many years to realize that training doesn't always mean going 110% out of the gate and then simply trying to hold that pace as long as you can. Running can be about endurance (mentally and physically). It can be about enjoying the actual workout itself rather than wondering when you're going to stop feeling like you're about to pass out. The day I realized this was the day I fell in love with running even more.
3. Choose the time of day that works best for you. Not everyone is built to hop out of bed at 5am and put in a 10k before the crack of dawn every day! And guess what? That's okay! You know your body, make your schedule something you know works for YOU.
4. Download a favourite podcast or audio book. I've managed to find a few podcasts that actually make me look forward to my run! It's the only time of day where I feel totally non-guilty about zoning out and listening to something for pure entertainment purposes. Better yet, find a podcast that teaches you about a favourite subject so you feel productive both mentally AND physically after your workout. Bonus: it makes your workout go by way faster.
5. Break up your workout into segments. Make your speed run seem a little less daunting by breaking it up into "warm up", "workout" and "cool down". Rather than saying, "I need to do a 40-minute run today", say to yourself, "I need to do a 10-minute warm up, a 20-minute workout and a 10-minute cool down". Seems a bit more manageable, doesn't it?
6. When you're unmotivated, tell you'll go for 10 minutes. No big deal, right? You can always manage 10 minutes. Chances are, once you've warmed up a bit and the endorphins start flowing, sticking it out for another 10 minutes (or 20... or 30!) won't feel so daunting. But, if after those initial 10 minutes you still aren't feeling up to it, be done! It's okay to listen to you body! (See #1 and try again tomorrow.)
7. Focus on how good you'll feel after. After your next good run, take note of how your body and mind are feeling. How does your body feel? What's your stress level at? I almost always have a far better (and more productive) day at work when I make the effort to get up and get a sweat-session in before settling in at my desk for the day. When I'm laying in my bed in and debating whether I should get up or hit snooze, I think about that post-run feeling and it almost always makes a difference.
8. Sign up for an event. There is no better way to keep yourself motivated than by committing to a race. I don't mean just adding the date to your calendar, I'm talking: sign up for it, pay your entry fee and start telling people you're doing it - it keeps you accountable! If you're looking for some affordable options in Toronto, MEC organizes an awesome race series every year with dates from April all the way into October.
Finally, just remember that you don't have to love running 100% of the time to consider yourself a runner. Every effort counts! How do you motivate yourself to get out there?