How to get motivated to run

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It happens. You start strong, diligently ticking off run after run. But gradually the excitement wears off, you skip a workout here and there, and before you know it, lacing up your running shoes begins to feel like a chore. Don't despair, though: you can find plenty of ways to push through the doldrums, overcome the excuses and restart your running engines.

You feel out of breath

Beat it: If you can't talk in full sentences, you're going too fast. Run one minute, walk one minute for 10 minutes. Shift to a 2:1 run/walk ratio for the next 10 minutes. Do whatever you feel like for the final 10 minutes.

You feel like stopping

Beat it: Starting out too fast can lead to a sudden increase in muscle waste products that can make you feel sluggish. Head out slowly - and remember, no pace is too slow.

You feel bored

Beat it: Establish a mission for every run. Run to get a coffee. Do a few accelerations in the middle of your loop. On measured paths or trails, try to run a few seconds faster every mile. Run your regular loop backward, loop through different areas, or call up a friend to join you.

You feel frustrated

Beat it: Once a week, warm up, then run four laps around a track. Time yourself. Set a goal to beat the time you ran the previous week. Every other week, slow down your longest run and increase the distance by a quarter to a half mile. Watching your mileage add up and your times go down is a great way to gauge your progress.