Running 102 :: Motivational Tips for New and Not-So-New Runners

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When I first started taking running seriously as an adult, I was thrown into a new world. Without the accountability from coaches, teammates, and a pre-determined calendar of events, I lacked confidence and direction in my training. I got burnt out from running alone without many goals or friends. And mostly, I forgot why I fell in love with running in the first place.

Does this sound like anyone else’s running mood?

The following suggestions are to piggy-back on the “Running 101 :: Must-Haves for New Runners” article, and I hope they resonate with a few of you who may be lacking running or exercise motivation right now in our socially-distanced world. These ideas were inspired by the ever-brilliant Kara Goucher.

Powerful Phrases

I have this thing I say to myself when I’m in a hard spot during a run: One more then one more. I repeat this even when I actually have many more miles to run. I get into a rhythm with my feet and my breathing, saying each word in my head in cadence with my natural beat.

Try creating your own powerful phrase or mantra to say to yourself on a run. The phrase belongs to you, and it’s just fine if doesn’t resonate with anyone else. I have etched my phrase into a bracelet as a reminder. 

Use positive self-talk to help you run.Confident Self-Talk

It is so easy to get wrapped up into the comparison game and allow for negative thoughts to muddy our goals and reality. The point of confident self-talk is to turn around something that we perceive as “bad” to find the good in it. Shifting “this wind and cold weather really stink” to “This wind and cold weather are making me stronger.” Confident self-talk takes a lot of practice, but it has helped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined, especially after returning to running postpartum. This training journal has helped me piece through my feelings.  

Special Uniform

There’s a reason why I save one or two outfits and pairs of shoes for race day. When I put on my “uniform” for a race, I feel powerful. In reality, the clothing may not be much different from what I wear every day to train. But, my special top and special shorts and special shoes add an edge that wouldn’t be achieved if they weren’t kept special. Give it a try – buy a new top for your next race and christen it as your race day uniform. And go for the purple, why not? This is about confidence.

Dress for the occasion when running, and don't feel bad splurging on a "uniform."Create Accountability

Accountability can come in many forms. For some, they need to physically meet up with someone in order for a run to happen. For others, paying a coach for training is the motivation they need to keep up with their goals. Even in our pandemic world, we can still create accountability with ourselves. Some ideas I’ve implemented for myself:

  1. Old fashion star chart (yes, stole this idea from my toddler) – There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your week of stickers.
  2. Online running platform – I have started using Strava as a way to track my mileage. There is a social component to the website, which is not for everyone, but it’s been nice to log my thoughts and pictures to my workouts.
  3. Set small personal goals – These goals can be as small as climbing five flights of stairs each day or as big as running every day for two weeks straight. Vary up these “challenges” and have small celebrations at the end to keep the motivation real.
  4. Be playfully competitive with your family – My kids love “participating” in my strength sessions, even if it’s just climbing on me. Also, my husband has generously agreed to join in a few challenges with me.

About the author :: Elizabeth is a microblogger for FWM and an avid runner. In fact, she competed in the 2016 and 2020 marathon Olympic trials, she and her children set the 10K double stroller Guinness World record in 2019, and she has won each Cowtown Marathon distance – 5K to 50K.

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