Okay, so you've taken up running to get in better shape. You enjoy it, it’s great exercise and good for clearing the head, and you’ve even had success putting a dent in those weight loss goals. But now, as you start running long distances, you tend to lose motivation. No problem, that's normal!
Here are 4 ways to motivate yourself while you’re running solo:
Solve a problem
No, not a really big worldly problem, like world hunger or something, but a problem of your own. Maybe you need to come up with a topic and presentation plan for a project at work. Maybe you are getting ready to start a business and need to think of a name and logo. Or maybe you are just trying to figure out how to get the kids to go to bed on time. Whatever it is, have it in you head before you leave the house and ponder on it while you’re gone. It will distract you from your running, and with any luck, you may even be successful at solving it!
Make up stories
Sometimes, when my run is getting really long and arduous, I’ll look at the people I run by and make up a pretend story about them. Something about their job, and their life, and where they live, and why they’re out there on the sidewalk right now. Usually once I finish one, there’s another one that I pass, and after a few, I’m distracted enough making up these elaborate stories that I don’t even realize my run is nearly over!
Make short distance goals
Look ahead and find something in the distance that you can see, and make it your goal to simply get to that point. It may be a pole, a building or a specific business. Once you reach there, look ahead and do the same thing again. Continue to repeat this process until you have finished your run, or become distracted enough that you don't need to. Common in fartlek training runs, where you run at an increased pace between poles, until the next building etc., this method is an easy way o break your run up into small portions so it seems more manageable and less discouraging.
Repeat a mantra
If you’ve heard of the concept of mantras, and have used them at all in your day-to-day life, you may be surprised to know how effective they can be for running. A mantra is a phrase or a word, or a few words, which has motivational meaning to you and which you repeat over and over to yourself. For example, it may be something like “you are strong,” or “you’ve got this.” During your run, repeating your mantra enhances your mental strength, allowing you to push on and push through the pain or feelings of wanting to quit and give up.