Staying motivated

Everyone has days when they just don’t feel like going out to run – days when the sofa, or the pub, seem like a much more tempting option. But you shouldn’t forget the incredible benefits, and joy, of running. The next time you struggle to get out of the door, use these motivation tips to inspire you to pull on your trainers and get going – you won’t regret it…!

Set a goal

Having a target in mind for each run, even if it is just to complete the whole thing without walking, will deliver a great sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s running a bit further or faster than last time, or just reaching a certain point, hitting a goal on every run will help you stay motivated. As legendary running author George Sheehan put it, “The more I run, the more I want to run, and the more certain I am that I am heading for my real goal: to become the person I am.”

Run with friends

You can’t underestimate the social side of running; it is one of the most common reasons people start and carry on doing it. Finding a local running club or gathering some friends or colleagues to run with you can make every session both easier and more enjoyable. As world-record 10,000m and 5000m runner Kenenisa Bekele says, “I am not always comfortable when training alone so I like somebody to help me and train with me. When I run with my brother, he pushes me and helps me.” And if it’s good enough for Bekele, it’s good enough for us.

Look to others for inspiration

Which athletes do you most look up to? Many big-name runners have written books about their amazing exploits and how they pushed themselves to achieve greatness. By reading about someone who has inspired you, you’ll be able to to see what you can apply from their life experience to your own training. Amby Burfoot, the 1968 Boston Marathon winner and editor-at-large of Runner’s World US, takes this idea even further, advising you to collect great running quotes from anywhere and everywhere for your inspiration. “From The Bible to The Iliad and The Odyssey and Mark Will-Weber’s classic book The Quotable Runner,” says Burfoot. “Update your collection regularly with quotes you stumble upon.”

Have something to look forward to

A treat of some kind at the end of your run is a great way to keep yourself focused and ensure you give your best until the end. It could be a good meal, sitting down to watch your favourite TV show or finishing your run somewhere with a great view. Jeff Galloway, a member of the 1972 USA Olympics team, says, “Early in my running career I discovered the power of a reward after exercise – although the ideal reward is often not a food. Try cooling down near some beautiful scenery, or a massage, which relaxes the body and invigorates the muscles.”

Remember the health benefits

Don’t forget that running is good for you. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or improve your fitness, running gives back what you put into it. It’s also a great stress buster thanks to the feel-good endorphins produced during exercise. As Joyce Smith, the first (and oldest) London Marathon winner, says, “While it may not make you into a champion, running will give you the feeling of being fitter and being able to cope better with the problems of every day life.”

You may not always be in the mood to don your trainers and hit the road but, whenever the sofa tempts you instead, keep these words of wisdom in mind and you’ll soon reap the rewards that running can offer.