15 Top Tips To Stay Motivated For Running - The Running Channel Advertisement

15 Top Tips To Stay Motivated For Running

BY: Mark Dredge
12 June 2024

Are you looking to make running more interesting? Do you want some challenges to keep you motivated? Do you want to have better habits to help you improve as a runner? Are you in between races and want some fun ideas to maintain your fitness before proper training begins again?

Read on to find lots of ways to stay motivated for running!

TAKE ON SOME FUN RUNNING CHALLENGES

We love a good challenge at The Running Channel! Some recent ones we’ve taken on include:

You could take on one of those ideas, or come up with your own idea – and if you do think of something fun then let us know as we might give it a go ourselves! 

SET SOME DIFFERENT PBs

Forget your usual PBs and pick some different routes and distances to try and set some new best times!

  • Do you have a favourite running route near you that you run often as part of your easy runs or daily training? Can you try and ‘race’ that route in a new PB? 
  • Is there a Strava segment near you that you think you can beat?
  • Can you try and set a PB is short distances like 100m (which also helps you work on your strength and your running form!)
  • You could try the ‘Hour Challenge’ to see how far you can run in 60 minutes 
  • This could even be new PBs in the gym – most press-ups or pull-ups, or a new weightlifting PB
  • Maybe you could PB in consistency: stretching or foam rolling every day, always doing drills and warming up before a run, running strides after every easy run

GET CREATIVE ON YOUR RUNS!

Have you ever seen any really good Strava Art? Why not challenge yourself to run a route which draws out an image? It could be anything from a shape like a circle or a heart, to an animal, or even spelling out words. 

If you’re not sure how to do this, then you could just try and run and hope for the best, but that’s like drawing with your eyes closed. An easier way would be to plan your route online using Garmin Connect or Strava maps, then send the course to your running watch, or try and memorise the route. 

What’s the best thing you can draw while running?!

GO ‘BURBING’

Have you heard of ‘Burbing’? It means you run every street in an area. That could mean trying to run on every road within a town or city, or could be running every track and trail within a park. It can be a fun way to explore your local area.

Have you run every road or trail near where you live?

HEAD TO THE TRAILS

We love the trails! You can walk whenever you want. You can have snacks on the way. The views are great. There are no cars or traffic lights (but watch out for sheep and cows!). It adds some adventure to your running. And if you run hilly trails then that’s great for improving your strength. 

You can always start by walking or hiking routes before running them if that makes you feel more comfortable. 

JOIN A RUNNING CLUB OR GO ON SOCIAL GROUP RUNS

Running with others is a great way to stay motivated. You’ll be able to find a local track or athletic club, and while they will have more serious runners, you’ll also find more social runners as well. You can also look for running clubs in your town, where you go on an easy run and talk to others, often finishing somewhere to hang out while not running. It’s a great way to meet new people and run at the same time. 

LOOK FOR LOCAL RACES

It can be easy to focus on big goal races, but most weekends (and even weeknights in the summer) you’ll probably find that there are smaller races happening in your local area. There might be classic distances like 5K and 10K, but you might also find some more unusual distances like 5 miles, 8 miles or 10 miles, and they could be on road, trail or a mix of both. Most have a low entry cost and you can run them for fun and not ‘race’ them for a time. And if you don’t want to run, then races always need volunteers to help out. 

GO TO THE GYM

Yes, we know we should be doing strength and conditioning more often, but it can be hard to do that in the middle of training for a race, especially as we’re already tired from the running. But if we’re between training blocks then now’s a great time to get into a better routine with strength work, which you will hopefully continue as you move into your next training plan. You can do this at home with bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, small dumbbells or kettlebells. 

Think positively about this: every time you go to the gym, or do some strength training, then it’s helping you become a better, more resilient runner. 

TRY CROSS-TRAINING (THE ULTIMATE WAY TO MOTIVATE YOU TO RUN?!)

You can walk, swim, cycle, use the cross-trainer or rowing machine in the gym, and it’s all good as an alternative to running and to maintain your fitness as you’re running less. But there’s an ulterior motive here…

Most runners don’t like cross-training, so every time you go on the bike in the gym, or go for a swim, you’ll wish you were running instead! How’s that for running motivation!? 

WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESSES

Do you feel specific niggles when you train or race? Do you have any muscles which you know get tired sooner than they should, or which always ache after a long run? That recurring sore knee, the tight calf, the pinch in your hip, a slump and lazy posture when you get tired. They’re all small but annoying niggles which can slow us down, so now’s the time to focus on improving those things, whether that means doing strength work, pre-hab exercises, or working on your form.

This stuff might not be as exciting as other things on this list, but it’s the work which will help you improve overall as a runner, and the more we improve, the more we’re motivated to continue. 

LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD!

Are you running in kit which you’ve had for years? Is it fraying and thinning in places? Are your shoes old and worn out?

If you’re able to then consider buying some new kit, and choose things which make you feel good when you put them on. That could be something technical but plain in design, or something bright and bold. If we feel good in what we’re wearing, then it can help us to feel better on our runs and encourage us out the door. 

JOURNALING & WORKING ON YOUR MENTAL STRENGTH

As runs become more challenging, we’re relying on our physical strength but also our mental strength to get us through. Journaling or writing down notes on your run can be a good way to start tracking progress. After each run you can put down a few thoughts about how you felt. This can also help you spot potential problems – if you see that you’ve regularly been tired or running on heavy legs for a few days, then maybe it’s time for a rest. 

Use this as a way of writing down your thoughts, perhaps all those random thoughts that come to us on a run, or perhaps write about what it is that makes you run. If we think about why we run and our personal motivations, whether that’s general health, to set new PBs, or to enjoy social runs, then that can help to keep you motivated as your training intensifies.

START PLANNING AHEAD

Do you know what your next goal will be? Whether it’s a one mile time trial or an ultramarathon, can you begin to plan ahead to what success in that looks like? Are there some things which we can do right now which will help you out in months to come? That might be ordering some new kit, arranging travel, or just thinking about what runs you can begin to start incorporating now so that you’re as prepared as possible.

MAKE NEW HABITS

Many of the tips above relate to starting or improving habits as a runner. Motivation often comes when running feels easy and like we’re making progress. Good habits, or making positive changes to your routines, can really help make running easier. 

  • Can you start adding a warm-up routine, drills, or some recovery exercises to your week
  • If you don’t like holding a water bottle when running then get a small belt and a soft flask to carry fluids, or run loops and stash a bottle in a bush or in front of your house
  • If you keep failing to go to the gym because you have to drive there and that feels like a waste of time, then cancel the gym membership and spend that money on some dumbbells or a kettlebell and do your workout at home.
  • If you often leave later than planned for your runs, meaning you have to cut them short, then prepare your kit the night before. If it helps then take a flat lay picture of your kit every evening because we all love a flat lay pic!
  • Try habit stacking: put your foam roller next to the sofa to remind you to use that when you watch TV, or every time you brush your teeth, do some exercises to help strengthen your feet or calf muscles 

EMBRACE THE REST AND RECOVERY

Or maybe you need to hear that it’s alright to have a lie in, or that it’s fine to skip today’s run? Because that’s also OK! Hard training blocks are physically and mentally challenging, and sometimes all we need is a few weeks off and some time not thinking about running. Hopefully it means that when we’re back running again, we’re extra motivated. 

How do you stay motivated to run? What things do you like to do to keep your running interesting? 

***

Here’s Mo talking all about how to stay motivated and maintain fitness as a runner!

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