If motivation for running is an issue for you, this article will help you fix it. This article is designed for beginner or near beginner runners, or those who have taken a significant break from running and want to get back into it.
Find out your running personality by taking the fun quiz below (it doesn’t actually have questions on running!) and get personalized suggestions for how to best motivate yourself to run. Yes, running motivation can actually be fun.
These motivational techniques for the different personalities are not mutually exclusive, so if you wish you can actually implement all of them together. To prevent getting overwhelmed it may be best to start with those which correspond to your personality.
Got your personality type? Now find out how you can motivate yourself for running:
If you are a Fast Mover type…
No surprises here – you like to move fast! You’re not someone who enjoys waiting patiently, whether it be at a traffic light or for dinner to be ready. You’re often a competitive type of person.
Motivating the Fast Mover
The good news is that you will find it easy to motivate yourself to run. Why? Running involves moving fast down the street – which is your specialty. So while you’re running, think of yourself as driving on a highway: look at that walker up ahead… gotta pass that walker! The more practice you do, the better you’ll get and the faster you’ll become! Remind yourself that running is in keeping with your natural personality style, unlike slower sports such as walking or tai chi. You are definitely someone who would benefit from competing in a running race (think of all the people you’ll get to pass!)
The Fast Mover type is somewhat similar to the Measurable Goals type of runner. You may also benefit from some of the strategies listed for the Measurable Goals personality.
Summary for Fast Mover type
- Think of yourself as driving on a highway when running. Look for opportunities to pass people.
- Remind yourself that training allows you to become faster and faster
- Find an upcoming race to in which to compete (e.g. 5K fun run)
- Check out strategies for the Measurable Goals type of runner
Mantra while running: “I like to move fast – that’s just how I move. This is my natural style in life. So it’s good that I’m running and not walking.”
If you are a Reclaim Childhood Fun person…
You’re a fun-loving, not overly serious type of person. You may also have a relaxed, laid-back personality. You are probably not super-competitive. Running sounds daunting to you as an adult, because it seems like a lot of work and too many rules!
Motivating the Reclaim Childhood Fun person
To motivate yourself with this personality type, think back to your childhood. You probably really enjoyed running when it was just a fun mode of getting from A to B, or when it involved games or activities.
Well then, reclaim that childhood fun! Tell yourself you are running because you are doing something fun, not solely because your exercise regime says you Must Run Today. Take a big flying leap over the curb when crossing the road even though an ordinary stride is all that’s needed. Run where it’s fun, or just plain interesting… like in a park, or around a big church building or do a circuit within visual distance of railway tracks so you can have the fun of seeing a train go by during your running training. Do be sure your fun-loving personality doesn’t put you in danger though – keep to safe, well-lit areas. Reclaim your childhood by running!
Summary for the Reclaim Childhood Fun person
- Find fun things to enjoy about the scenery as you run.
- Be a kid at heart! For example, leap up over the curb when crossing.
- Vary your running route as much as possible, making it more like ‘play’ than ‘work’
Mantra while running: “Running around was fun back in my childhood. This minute, I’m running so I can have fun with it and keep myself young.”
If you are the Measurable Goals type…
You like to have distinct aims and goals to achieve. Your personality type tends to be good at quantifying anything and everything, often doing it almost unconsciously (e.g. “nearly halfway there”).
Motivation for the Measurable Goals person
The good news is that because numbers and goals mean a lot to you, you will have an easy time motivating yourself to run.
In this case, you will want to keep track of your route as you run, and wear a watch when running. Note down your total time and your distance after each run (see inset box to determine your distance). You’ll get a lot of satisfaction from seeing yourself go longer distances in less time.
If it’s still hard to motivate yourself, try the same route every time but go just a little bit further each session. This gives you a distinct and straightforward goal to reach and accomplish.
Sign up for an upcoming race, for example a 5K Fun Run; this gives you a medium-term goal for which to aim. When training for a race, be certain to try both flat and hilly terrain.
Summary for a Measurable Goals person
- Keep track of your stats (time and distance) each time you run
- Go the same route but just a little further each time: increase your distance for a sense of on-the-go achievement
- Sign up for an upcoming race (e.g. 5K run run) to keep your training on track
Mantra while running: “I know exactly what goal I want to achieve today on my run and I’m going to do it!”
If you have a Social personality type….
You enjoy hanging out with friends and family. Being around other people energizes you, and you tend to get bored quickly if you’re on your own. Your personality type is typically upbeat and well-liked.
Motivation for the Social person
Your social personality can make it hard to motivate yourself to run if you’re exercising alone. The obvious solution is to involve friends and family.
The most ideal situation for you is to get a running partner and go running together: this may be a friend, your boyfriend/girlfriend, or a family member. However, this is not always practical. If you can’t find anyone whose schedule is similar to yours to run together, there are still ways in which you can involve family and friends in your running. One of these is to inform others about your new hobby of running and encourage them to ask you about it – this motivates you to run by keeping you accountable to people you like.
Another way to involve others socially in your running is by signing up for an upcoming Fun Run (e.g. a 5K) and ask them to be your ‘support crew’ and come watch you do the race, or at least watch you go through the finish line. Knowing that they will be doing this will motivate you to run now so that you do a creditable job on the race which they are coming to watch you finish. As an added bonus, you’ll get to meet other runners in your area at a local 5K run.
Summary for the Social person
- Find someone to train with
- Tell friends and family about your new hobby to help you hold yourself accountable
- Ask friends and family to be your ‘support crew’ in an upcoming Fun Run
Mantra while running: “Running is fun and healthy and gives me something extra to talk about with other people.”
Don’t just generally try to motivate yourself to run; instead get better success when you use these motivational methods targeted especially to your own characteristics. Running is fun when you gear it to your personality!