Five Secrets to Regaining Motivation to Run

Contributed by Stephanie Laska, a 2017 Ambassador for the Berkeley Half Marathon. 

 So, you’ve had a dry spell – haven’t we all? Oh, and we are talking about running here! Maybe it’s been a few months (or years – gasp!) since you’ve hit the pavement, but I’m here to assure you that all is not lost.

Let me help you rekindle your love affair with running! Here are the top five secrets to regaining your motivation to run:

  1. Looking Forward, Not Back – Our pride interferes with taking action. We all nostalgically look back at “better times” in our running careers which I call the “Budda Usta” syndrome (But-I-Used-To). “Budda Usta run so much faster, weigh less, have more time…” Blah, blah, blah. Stop looking backwards and look forward. Acknowledge and embrace where you are at in your health and ability. Let go of the past so you can move forward.
  2. Goal Setting – What is a realistic goal to get you back on the pavement? Are you passionate about a charity? Can you support that charity with an upcoming race? Or are you looking at improving your health? Maybe reducing your cholesterol levels or losing a few pounds? Setting a very specific and realistic goal within a time frame might be the motivation you need. Take your goal to the next level by sharing it with others on social media. Ask your friends and family to support your efforts. Pledge to check in on regular intervals with updates about your progress.
  3. Start Small – No one is asking you to run a six-minute mile here; in fact, quite the opposite. Slow down, walk, jog, or slog, the point is to just start. There are no paparazzi following you on the trail, so run your own race and don’t try to impress anyone. Slow and steady wins the race.
  4. Make a Plan – Either create your own schedule, or pledge to work with a group. Find a plan that suits your current pace and overall goals. Also, what kind of structure do you prefer? A large group training experience or something more low-key? Are you more likely to succeed with a running partner or going out solo? Make a plan that reflects your needs to set yourself up for success.
  5. Believe! – Believe you are capable of achieving your goal, and prioritize this goal above all else. While there is a comfort in knowing you were a runner in the past, don’t let that ghost haunt you. Believe you are capable of running again, and you will run. There is an athlete inside of all of us. That athlete might be a new age, shape, or speed, but an athlete nonetheless.

Rest assured I have followed these steps myself. A year ago, I faced potentially life-threatening health issues that caused me to stop running. I fought my way back. In addition to volunteering as an Ambassador for the Berkeley Half Marathon and The San Francisco Marathon, I was selected by PowerBar to run the 2017 New York City Marathon as an athlete on the Clean Start Team. There is an athlete inside of all of us, and I can’t wait for you to find yours. Let’s support each other. @140lost

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