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My go-to motivators

I've been running about five days a week consistently for years now. A couple times a year I'll miss a week due to illness or a planned week off after a big race, but generally I don't see too many holes in my training log. This doesn't mean I never struggle with motivation - I definitely have days where negotiating myself out the door is harder than convincing my four year old that we don't need to watch another episode of Bluey. However, I've built up some motivating tips and tricks over the years that help. Here are some of my go-to motivators:

  • “Pre-make” the decision to get out the door

    • When I made the decision to run my first marathon, I knew that I had to do the training properly. I didn’t want to spend time training if I wasn’t going to put in my best effort. So, before the training cycle started, I “pre-made” the decision to commit to every run. I wasn’t going to decide each morning whether to run or not, the decision was already made. Obviously, actual illness or a truly terrible night of sleep would call for adjustments, but for general morning laziness, this worked wonders for me. 

A woman runs on a path through wildflowers, cacti, and grasses.
Picking a scenic route never hurts either!
  • Keep a manual training log

    • Keeping a manual training log and physically writing in my mileage for each day was another key to my first marathon training cycle. Like spending cash versus using a credit card, I feel the impact of that missing entry on paper more than I do in a digital log. 

  • Set out your running clothes, work clothes, and fuel beforehand

    • I have a lot going on in the morning, with getting my run in, my kiddo ready for school, and myself ready for work. To spare myself the decision making, I set out both my running clothes and my work clothes the night before. I also try to set out my pre-run fuel (depending on the day - graham crackers, banana, applesauce) and prep my post-run breakfast as much as possible (measuring out Skratch or oatmeal). 

  • Save music/podcasts for especially hard days

    • I save my headphones for solo long runs or days when I really struggle to get out of bed. Sometimes giving myself permission to listen to music or a podcast on those days is all the extra oomph I need to get out the door. 

  • Run with friends

    • Making plans to run with friends is one of those tried and true methods used by runners everywhere - for a reason. I used to run with a club and the gentle peer pressure on attendance was really helpful. These days I run with a group of neighbor friends each Friday and I look forward to the uninterrupted conversation time with them as much as the run itself!

  • Take a planned break

    • Sometimes, for whatever reason, you get either mentally or physically burned out. In those cases, taking a planned break can be better than making excuses day after day to miss your run. I'll often plan a week off after a goal race - after the dedication and demands of training for such a race, a week to be lazy and do fun cross training (or no training) is the mental reset I need. Last year I actually extended one of these because I could tell my mind just wasn't excited about running again yet. Once I felt the itch to run growing, I got back to it with the right energy and excitement.

  • Build the habit

    • Once you’ve built the habit, it can actually become more jarring to not get out the door than to laze in bed. It can take awhile to build this, but reminding myself of how I’ll feel skipping the run is often motivation enough.

What are your best tricks for getting out the door?

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