Hopefully, most days running is a source of joy, something that makes your day better, and that you look forward to doing. But what about those days when running is a grind? When you don’t want to run, when mojo runs low? How do you get yourself out the door and out into the cold rain? What Jedi mind tricks do you employ to stay consistent and log those miles?
Team RunRun athletes and coaches share their tricks and tips to winning the battle for running consistency – how do they get out the door when motivation runs low?
Mantras – those short but sweet, power-packed statements that you repeat to yourself to get you through tough times, either in training or in a race. Whatever you can tell yourself that helps with motivation.
Runner Mark Droge has two personal favorites that he tells himself:
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
“No matter what it takes, once I am running I am happier.”
Coach Julie Urbanski has two favorites as well, “5k a Day,” meaning that she aims for 5k a day of movement, whether it’s walking or running. It sets a goal mileage for each day and oftentimes she can fit in 5k of running within 30 minutes, so even if the rest of the day is crazy, she can carve out 30 minutes for a “sanity run” as she calls it. Her other favorite? Nike’s “Just Do It.” She says, “It’s so basic, yet brilliant because it takes all the emotional baggage out of the decision and is like a little kick in the pants to push you out the door and get started.”
Just 5 Minutes
Coach Dakotah Lindwurm, a 2:32 marathoner, has a handy jedi mind trick that you can tailor to apply to your own running. In short: Just run 5 minutes. She says, “If I’m not feeling like running I always tell myself I only have to run for 5 minutes. And if after 5 minutes I’m still not not enjoying it, I can be done and turn around. But I always find that getting out the door and getting started is the hardest part, so I’ve never turned back around!”
This is a great motivational tip because you can change it however you want, whether it’s “Just 5 minutes” or “Just 1 mile.” What’s the magic number in terms of time/mileage/etc that will get you out the door and get you started without feeling overwhelmed or like you “have to” get in X amount of running?
Runner Jeff Urbanski knows this one well and he’s employed a run streak for YEARS to help him stay consistent while training for marathons up to 100 milers, through the birth of his daughter, through traveling, moving cross country, changing jobs…all the stuff that life throws at us. His minimum is 27 minutes and 3 miles, both of which have to be in the books. We even have a name for his streak, the #JUM, or #jeffurbanskminimum. Next time you’re thinking about skipping a run, just channel the power of the JUM.
Runner Wendy Foster has a run streak with an extra twist for even more motivation. She did the GVRAT (Laz’s Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee) this summer so she started an unintentional run streak, which means she knows she’ll at least get out to do one mile, which oftentimes leads to more. Now she’s participating in the Bend to Whistler virtual run. To finish, she will need to run or walk at least four miles a day for six months, which gets her out the door during the upcoming dark winter months. #smartmove
Run streaks are simple yet so effective and can easily be applied to your running however you’d like. You set the minimum for each day and that’s it! No question whether you’re running each day and you’re more likely to schedule time to fit it in, rather than wondering if it’s going to happen and when. Life will still inevitably happen and plans will change (ehem, covid anyone?), but a run streak takes the unknown out of the equation and you find a way to make it happen.
Got the motivation blues? Add some color! Literally!
Coach Alicia Jenkins enjoys running in fun, bright outfits, so on those low motivation days, she gets excited by picking out a sparkly/colorful outfit to help with her motivation. She considers her run her own personal fashion show! See all of Alicia’s awesome outfits on the gram.
Next time you’re low on motivation in trying to get out the door, think back on these jedi mind tricks and see if you can apply any to get started and get it done! A special thanks to all the runners and coaches on the team who helped contribute to this article. Onward!
Team RunRun is all about connecting runners with coaches. We’re a growing team of over 600 runners and over 90 coaches, all supporting the goal of being better runners and therefore better people, and a better world. We embrace that journey with passion, grit, focus, and care.