Written By: Bill Reifsnyder — Superfeet Wellness Panel Member. Bill Reifsnyder is the found of Camp Runabout, the only adult summer camp for runners on the planet, and is committed to helping runners of all ages and abilities achieve their goals and get the most out of their training plans. Bill is a former professional runner and holds the third fastest time ever run by an American for 10 miles (46:32).
One of the more fascinating things about our sport is the story behind the runners. What motivates each and every one of us to get out there and run? And how do we find running motivation day after day?
I love running! I love the people I have met because of it, the places it has taken me, the friendships I have made and the feeling of accomplishment I have garnered. My running career has stretched over 20 years, and I have run about 100,000 miles. Most days, I enjoy running, and I am delighted to slip into my shoes and hit the road. But some days, I need a little extra motivation to complete my daily workout. Here are a few tips that help me understand how to love running.
Find a mantra
Not to be confused with your goal, your mantra is the engine that drives you. It’s your personal slogan. Once you’ve got one, write it down and tape it on your mirror, so you see it every morning. I am an older dad and it is essential for me to stay young for our daughter, so my mantra is “Do it for Stella!” I find myself reciting mine (either in my head or out loud) when I roll out of bed and need a little extra motivation to work out.
Lose the all or nothing mentality
Remember, something is better than nothing. If your training schedule has you running ten miles today, but your life just isn’t going to allow you to be out there that long, then go out and run five miles, or three miles. A few miles will help your fitness better than no miles, and mentally, you will be much happier.
Sometimes, the first step is the hardest
I have had days where I just DO NOT feel like running. It's cold outside and all I want to do is grab a warm cup of coffee and curl up on the couch for a little TV time. There is nothing wrong with me physically; I am just feeling a little lazy and unmotivated. If you have a day like this, the hurdle that you need to get over is not the actual run; it is the mental barrier of wanting to do it at all. Just know, if you use any of the suggested motivational tips in this article, your most likely going to have a great run. In fact, I had some of my best runs when I almost blew off my entire workout. Oh yeah, my coffee and TV were still there when I got back.
Set a goal and keep a training log
The great thing about running is that it offers something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose 10 pounds, run your first 5K, or qualify for the Boston Marathon; running is the self-fulfilling vehicle to get you there. Whatever your reason for running, make it official. Write it down and then keep a daily training log on your route to achievement. This routine will add accountability to your training regimen and make you less likely to slack off. Plus, it is always fun to look back as time goes by to see what you did to win that medal hanging on the doorknob.
Find a running buddy
Running by yourself isn’t always fun. Running with a friend, or running group, will not only put some bounce back into your stride, but it will also make the miles slip by much more effortlessly. Plus, it is much safer to run with someone, especially during the winter months when daylight is at a minimum. If you do not have a running friend, then go to your local running store and ask them if they know of a running group that you could join. Heck, I have even seen a runner in my area that appeared to be running at my pace and flagged them down to see if they would be interested in doing some workouts together.
I like to say that running is the real social media before Facebook came along. When most people head down to the local 5K on the weekend, it is not because they want to see how fast they can get from point A to point B. It is because they want to hang out with like-minded people, folks who share a passion for physical fitness and having a beer at the finish line. Join a running club, enter a race, or volunteer for a race. Whatever your cup of tea, being part of the greater running community will increase your enjoyment for the sport we all love.
Train smart, not hard
While going out and busting your butt day after day may earn the accolades of your peers, it may also cause you to burn out, or get injured. Your body gets stronger when you work out hard and then rests afterward (hard day-easy day). Knowing that your easy days are scheduled for the betterment of your running will allow you to enjoy them and not make you feel guilty because of them. Running is supposed to be fun, and being tired all the time, or hurt, will definitely put a damper on the “fun factor.”
Explore new places
Many people put their running on hiatus when traveling. Personally, I love that I can throw a pair of running shoes, a tee shirt, some shorts and socks in my bag and (literally) hit the ground running. It is my favorite thing about traveling as I get to see (insert city) in a way that would never be possible by car or public transportation. Whether it be the trails of Ashville, NC, or seeing the wild horses on the beach at the Outer Banks, it is only through my running that I have these ever-lasting experiences.
Often we take our running too seriously. We feel like we have to make sacrifices to get better. We adopt the “no pain, no gain” mentality in our running and life, if I am going to train for a marathon, then I have to be on a strict plan, and I can never deviate.” Relax; a happy runner is a motivated runner. Allow yourself to have a beer (or two) after your Sunday long run. Schedule a massage at the end of a hard week. Have a big piece of chocolate cake at your daughter’s birthday party. It is because you run that you can afford yourself these delicacies, not the other way around.