How to Stay Motivated to Run

Sharyn O’Halloran

Staying motivated to run long distances while juggling constant demands from work and family is very hard. Here are a few tricks that I have found along the way.

1) Compete in Local Races— Join a running club that sponsors local events. I belong to the New York Road Runners, which hosts racing events almost every weekend throughout the year. Competing in a race forces me to stay on my training program.

2) Virtual Coach— When I am training for a long distance event, and even if I am not, I always sign up with a Virtual Coach. Each night I get an email telling me what my workout program is for the next day. I don’t have to think about it. I just do what the coach says (more or less).

3) Cross-Training— Running high volume miles consistently week-after-week can take its toll and, frankly, it can get boring. To mix it up, I weight train, ride bike and participate in body sculpting classes for core strengthening. Over the course of a week, I complete my long runs, while getting a full-body workout.

4) Stretching and Yoga—One of the best ways to ward off injury is to incorporate a stretching routine into your daily workout. This could be done in the morning or night. I usually go through a set of classic runners stretches for hip flexors, hamstring and quads. I also like to include some basic yoga poses to both stretch and strengthen core muscles.

5) Virtual Training Partner—I find it impossible to coordinate my training sessions with another equally busy person. Instead, as a commitment device, I have a friend that I email before and after my long runs and before and after racing events. Being answerable to another human being, even if virtually, pushes me to complete the task, especially when I am tired and hurting.

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