You may have a will of iron and the self-belief of a firewalker, but you'll still have those odd days (or weeks, or months) when your motivation takes a walk.
Is it because the marathon is now over, leaving you nothing to aim for? Is it that you haven't lost the weight you expected to? Or did you just forget where you put your mojo this morning?
Whatever the reason for your motivational mishap, a quick visit to the Runner's World forum is often all it takes to get you revved up again. Kind words from a fellow runner, especially one who's been through their own disenchanted moments and lived to run another day, are worth their weight in finishers' medals.
But with hundreds of threads offering yet another variation on the theme of 'Help I've lost my motivation', it's not easy to find all the best nuggets of wisdom. So we've done it for you. They're in no particular order, because different tips will work for different runners – but you're guaranteed to find something here to get you out the door!
- Look at some of your old forum posts, and remember how exciting it felt when you finished your first 5k. (Dafffy)
- Go for a walk in your running kit with water, and just run when you feel like it. (The Evil Pixie)
To hell with time. Remember why you started running in the first place. We are never going to be Olympic class, so try to enjoy it.
(Dale the Snail)
Joining a club means I'm out with other runners on non-club nights, and my social circle has expanded rapidly! (Kirrie Plodder)
Take a couple of pounds in your pocket and stop at a sweet shop for refuelling on a longer run. All the pleasures of being a ten year old again. (Stickless)
Work out what you like doing. Some people like running a loop, as it's less boring. Other people like running out and back along same route, as they get to turn for home half way through. 'Out and back' is a good one – once you've got to half way there's nothing for it but to do the same to get home!
Reward yourself after a run! If you say you're going to run for 45 minutes, reward yourself with a favourite magazine, DVD, new item of clothing or a bar of chocolate etc if you do it. If you only run for 15 minutes, no reward! (Micksta)
Go somewhere new. Take a map so you have to read it at intersections. (Stickless)
I chose to join the running club with the most good-looking women in the team pictures on their website. Fickle? Yes. Shallow? Yes. But great for motivation! (Coops10)
Enter a race that's in six to eight weeks' time, and a teensy bit further than you can comfortably do at the moment. Nothing like it for focusing the mind – carrot and stick in one! (Snail)
Keep a running log. I write how far I ran, what the weather was like, how much I enjoyed it etc. (Dafffy)
Stick your running shoes on and tell yourself you are going to run to the end of the road, and that if you really don't feel like doing any more, you can run back. I can tell you that once you're out, you'll just keep going and will have done a decent plod before you know it. (Boo)
Just think about what it feels like to cross the finish line. That's enough to keep me going. That, and I dont want to be a fat bloater. (stoxy)
I try never to run the same route twice, so that I can't be depressed if my times are down. (LizzyB)
If I make running such a habit, like cleaning my teeth, then it doesn't actually cross my mind not to run. If I have an off day I'll tell myself I'll just go for 15 mins, then once I'm out the door I'll usually end up doing my full run anyway. (Juliefrazz)
1. Set yourself a medium-term goal, eg a race in October/November. 2. Tell a few people (or us lot on the forum) what your goal is. 3. Post your progress on the daily training thread. If you do miss a session because you can’t be a**sed, come on the training thread and tell us. I promise to tut very loudly! Since I started posting on the training thread, I haven't missed half as many sessions as before. (Two Ton)
Prepare all your kit the night before and leave it by your bed ready for a morning run. (B (Ewok's Mate))
Set milestones along the way to your goal. And don't be hard on yourself if you don't do as much as you planned, or as much as you'd like. It happens to all of us. (Me anyway!) (ed_m)
One thing that keeps me going is the knowledge (learned the hard way) that you lose fitness a hell of a lot quicker than you gain it. So I remember all the times I've been out in the cold/wet/dark, or really pushed myself, and know all that effort will have been wasted if I don't get myself out the door this time. (Humph3)
I run so that I can eat pie and chips. It works! Nothing wobbles anymore. (Kath)
I just recall the days/weeks/months when I've been injured and couldn't run. That gives me the motivation to get out. (DUNC1)
Here are a few ways I liven up evening runs. If people have their curtains open, I give them marks out of 10 for decor. I race oncoming cars to the next lamppost. If I'm having a good run, I allow myself to look in shop windows, stroke cats etc as a reward. I visualise my next race, with nearby pedestrians as my fellow runners... I overtake them and set my sights on the next one. (LizzyB)
Look through the posts on the injury thread. There are lots of peeps there who want to run, but can't, due to some sort of injury. So if I find myself lacking motivation I just think how lucky I am to be injury free. (Michael Keeley)
Sometimes, those days when you can't find the spark are the best days to go for a run, because you end up feeling so much better afterwards. It's easy to lose that spark, but it is wonderful when you get out on the tarmac and find it again. (Lyra O'K)
GIT YO ASS OUT THERE (Plodding Hippo)