How to motivate yourself when things go wrong

Shona Vertue gives us her top motivational tips for overcoming the five most common running issues.


by Runner's World x New Balance
Shona Vertue New Balance Ambassador

This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.

From shin splints to accidental Thirsty Thursdays, often life gets in the way of our perfect training regimes.

We spoke to PT, yogi and New Balance ambassador Shona Vertue (@shona_vertue) to find out what to do when your mind and motivation start to slip.

1/ When you get an injury

One of the most common and demoralising issues people face during training is picking up an injury. Whether you pull a muscle after upping your mileage or develop a 5-mile-niggle you just can’t shake – knowing when to train and when to rest is crucial.

It’s all about connecting with and listening to your body, says Shona. “You have to see injuries as a sign you may have been pushing too hard, and ask yourself how you can learn from this. In what way can you educate yourself more about what your body needs in order to get more out of it?”

Rather than seeing them as a roadblock to your training, use injuries as an opportunity to vary your regime. Try something lower impact, like meditation, yoga or pilates to keep your fitness level high while you assess the seriousness of the setback.

2/ When it’s cold, rainy and early

Aussie-born Shona has had to learn to deal with the UK’s more temperamental climate. “London taught me all about that!” she says. “It’s so different when you get to wake up and do a coastal run in Sydney.

“When I wake up and its cold and rainy outside I take a moment to close my eyes and take a couple of breaths, feel my body and remember that I’m so lucky to have a functioning body.”

Fitness and training is all about gratitude. Be grateful when your body isn’t injured that you are capable of getting out of bed and pounding the pavement. Remind yourself both of how lucky you are and of how good you will feel after your training. “Exercise should be a celebration of the body we have and the body that works,” says Shona.

3/ When you’re bored of your training

The solution to this one is simple. If you’re bored, make a change.

“I get bored all the time so I change my program every four weeks,” says Shona. Even tiny changes to a workout – like adding more weight, or trying out slight variations of each move – will make all the difference. “Because of the body’s adaptations if you don’t mix things up, you will plateau.”

Try inventing a whole new exercise by combining your favourites together – and aim to completely revamp your regime as soon as things start feeling too easy. 

4/ When you’re on the way to train and end up in the pub

The more your training feels like a chore, the more your motivation will dip.

If you have social events coming up, plan your training around them in advance so you don’t feel like you’re missing out. And don’t beat yourself up if you do end up missing a session here and there.

Shona is adamant on this. “Prioritise social events,” she says. The important thing is to make the decision for yourself on what will make you feel best. If you feel like you need to catch up with friends and have a drink or a big meal, do it. It’s all about balance. Play hard. Work harder.

5/ When you can’t see improvement

“If you’re training because you want to look leaner around your abs then you’re always at the mercy of your self esteem,” says Shona. Your goals should always be about skills and development rather than losing weight. Running faster. Not lighter.

While getting healthier is a fantastic reason to start training, it’s essential that your motivation comes from a desire to be the best version of yourself – rather than aspirations to look like the stunning svelte #fitspiration crowd. Compete only against yourself and you can win every time.

New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before. Find out more at: http://www.newbalance.co.uk/TougestOpponent.

You are your toughest opponent.


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