Trust us, a lot of runners can struggle to maintain their motivation when accomplishing a challenge. They stall, hit a wall or simply feel lost on where to go next. But there is a way to prevent this from happening – creating certain habits to make you a stronger, healthier, more focussed runner.
You see, those runners that have added positive habits to their game, and stuck to them, are the ones that have more success when it comes to hitting their goals. They focus on the process and roadmap laid out by their plan instead of the result, celebrating every little milestone moment on their journey. That’s how to keep your momentum going without succumbing to any setbacks on the way, especially those out of your control. It’s about trusting your process and that comes from curating healthy habits.
1. Set yourself a goal
We all run better when we have something to aim for. Choosing a goal will help you have a purpose, get you out the door every day and ultimately give you something to achieve and celebrate at the end of your plan."
To pick your goal, you should make sure it’s SMART. That means it should be:
Specific (e.g., to train for a half-marathon)
Measurable (e.g., booking yourself into a race in 12 weeks time, or planning to time yourself)
Achievable (e.g., not jumping straight from a 5k to training for an ultramarathon)
Relevant (e.g., if you’re looking to build your endurance, do not follow a 5k plan)
Time-based (e.g., set yourself the goal of achieving it in the next 8, 10, 12 or 16 weeks)
2. Book a race
Booking a race will help you have something to aim for - it will be make sure you're accountable to your training by having a fixed date that your training needs to be complete by. In addition to just having something, you'll have also made a financial commitment to attending the race as well as telling your friends and family members what you're aiming for. Looking as good as possible on race day will help you stayed motivated to start training and accountable to your training plan.
3. Follow a plan
Whether you’re chasing a specific goal, training for a race or simply trying to maintain your overall fitness, following a running plan is one of the most effective ways to keep your motivation levels piquing. From keeping you accountable with structured workouts, to committing you psychologically to a consistent schedule, helping you stay injury-free, to making your runs that much more hassle-free and convenient - there’s something incredibly motivating about having a personalised running plan that’s been created by experts specifically for you.
4. Tell your friends
When you set any new goal, we'd recommend shouting from the rooftops about it - tell all your close friends and family how excited you are to be putting yourself first and working towards your health and running goals. This will help keep you accountable to them. You could even look to set up a dedicated page or social media account for your running journey! Strava is also a great way of sharing your runs with your friends and keeping you accountable
5. Make it social
Look to make your training social, from joining a community of runners either online or in your local area such as a running club, to organising to run with people that you know.
That’s the spirit a community adds. The encouragement, the motivation, the chance to meet you people, cheer on each other’s successes, learn about new events and make those tougher runs feel a lot more appealing.
6. Plan ahead
Planning ahead will mean you are less likely to skip sessions. Take a look at your diary and think where best to put your sessions in, from your long runs to your easy and faster sessions. By diarising them and planning ahead, you know you won't let any other commitments get in your way! Plus you can mentally prepare in your head for when each one will be and make sure you're eating and sleeping well ahead of time.
7. Measure your progress
Once in a while, it's important to look how far you've come. Look back at your previous sessions to see all of your improvements and think about what's to come. You can use an app such as Strava for this and motivate yourself to lace up for those harder sessions. It can also really help to incorporate a race into the middle your plan to monitor your progression.
8. Leave your kit out
Another little life hack when doing an early morning session, or a late one after a day's work is to leave your kit out the day before. That way, when you wake up or return from work, the automatic action is to jump into your running kit and you'll be one step closer to getting out the door and nailing your session for the day!
Remember that rest and recovery are just as important as training. Listen to your body and take rest days when needed. This is when your body adapts to all the training you've done. This can help prevent burnout and injury, and keep you motivated in the long run.