As the winter weather drags on here in Halifax, it is not always easy to get out and go for a run. However, as much as getting out in the cold, rain, wind, and/or snow may suck, not running usually feels a whole lot worse. In that spirit, I thought I’d write a blog today about some of the ways I motivate myself to get out and run. They are not 100% guaranteed to work, but they are things that usually work for me and force me to overcome any excuses I may have on any give day.
1. Make a new music playlist, BUT don’t listen to it until you go running. Whenever I do this I usually can’t wait to get out on my next long run to see what goodies are waiting for me in my iPod.
2. Multi-task: combine your run with sending a couple of things off at the post office, picking up/dropping off a library book, or buying an item you have been meaning to get at a store. You’ll feel super accomplished at the end of it, and your run will be complete = double win. (Just ignore the weird looks you get when you enter a store all sweaty and red-faced).
3. Blog, tweet, or Facebook about it. I have found people to be surprisingly supportive and it definitely helps. So you just tweeted that you were going for a long run? Well I guess you better get out there and do it!
4. Sign up for a race. Better yet, sign up for Run Without Borders or the Bluenose (team Love4Gambia). This way, you’ll have a date set in stone that you need to train and be ready for. Plus, you’ll most likely feel amazing after the race! (training-dependent that it…)
5. Buddy up! Whether it is another runner or your dog, having someone count on you to run with is definitely a good motivator. You won’t want to let you running buddy down by cancelling, and plus, once your running, you’ll have someone to talk to (well, you can talk to your dog while running, but they likely won’t respond).
6. Challenge yourself in different ways: distance, time, hills, etc. I find this helps me a lot since I like a good challenge. Last winter, I set out with the goal of running every street in Halifax, as a way to motivate myself to run and to get to know the city. I got a transit map of the city, and after every run I would trace the new streets I had covered. This worked surprisingly well, and I saw a lot of neat stuff that I probably would have missed if I had stuck to the same route…
7. Think of how far ahead of everyone you’ll be this spring … whenever it decides to show up again…
8. Write it down/keep a running log. See how many kilometres you cover or how many minutes you ran in a week or a month. Keep track and then see how much you improve as time goes on. You’ll probably surprise yourself.
9. Exercise doesn’t always mean running. Skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, hiking, etc. are all good workout that help to change it up. Also, tobogganing in the winter makes for a great (and even fun) hill workout. Woohoo!
10. Think about how good you have it. If everything above does not work, just stop for a second and think about how good you have it that you even have the option to decide whether or not you want to run today. For me, realizing this is usually what will ultimately get me out the door.
So lace up your runners and tough it out through this last bit of winter! Good luck to all of you training for various event, and hopefully this list will help you in someway or another. Please post what you do to motivate yourself to get out the door on those tough days. I’d love to hear some new ideas!
Also, please support my running and my campaign as I train to run across The Gambia for peer health education programs this summer. I can run the kilometres, but it is ultimately your support and donations that will make a difference in the lives of so many children and youth in The Gambia. Thank you for supporting a cause that I believe so strongly in that I am going to run across a country for it!