I sometimes go through these periods of struggling to get in the desired workout each day. When my schedule is busier than usual, I often have to prioritize and deadlines are higher in importance than a daily run. I respond to the lesser running with trying to eat better and maybe more strength training, but running makes me happy and makes me feel good, so these periods of less running aren’t something I like to go through unless I’m doing it on purpose.
I was texting back and forth with my mom yesterday and she was telling me that her running has kind of fallen by the wayside lately. She’s uber busy at work and so her lunch break runs haven’t been happening. On the weekends, my dad likes to wake up earlyish and go out for the day and by the time they get home, my mom is tired or it’s dinner time and in generally any case, the motivation to run isn’t there for her. I thought that there may be many others in this same boat and I know I’ve been in similar situations as well.
So if your workload has suddenly piled up; if your lunch breaks involve you eating while working instead of getting in your afternoon workout; if you tell yourself that you’ll run in the afternoon and then by the time you get home, you’re completely spent and have no motivation to lace up and go; or any other situation has caused your fitness goals to, in your eyes, slowly fade away into nothingness, then the content below may…may…help.
4 WAYS TO HELP YOU STICK TO YOUR FITNESS GOALS
Have your workout clothes and gear alreay laid out
This is such an easy thing to do and it works so well for me. Ask Val, if you ever see her, and she’ll support my claim that I often have my shorts (yes, even in the winter), top, second top or jacket, socks, thermal headband, gloves, and watch on the coffee table or dresser ready to go for the morning. The only times I don’t do this are for when I have an afternoon run, but even then I try to have everything prepared. I feel like I treat the time I enter my apartment to when I get out of my building as T1 or T2 (Triathlon reference for you triathletes out there!). Basically, I want to get in my apartment, feed the cats, get changed, and be ready to hit start on my Garmin as quickly as possible before the rain or the cold or whatever I’m binging on Netflix has the time to work its full power on me. If you have everything you need ready to go, it could very well be the best reminder or subtle motivator that you could create for yourself.
Find a running buddy
Accountability is something that helps people in all areas of life. Supervisors, deadlines, and check-in meetings can hold people accountable at work just as having a workout partner can hold you accountable in your fitness or exercise life. I advise just finding one partner as you’re less likely to leave him or her to run or workout by themself, but if there are three or more in the group, you may think that it’s okay to skip because they have other company. But if you’re the kind of person that hates to let anyone down or will be there if you say you’ll be there, then by all means join a group for the accountability.
It helps to be completely open with your partner as far as expectations you have of them. Do you want them to text or call you to remind you of your scheduled run? Are you prone to forgetting water or being late? Do you often go out too hard and slow down midway through the run? Having open communication between you and your partner will make the experience better for both of you (or all of you) and will increase the chance that you appreciate the arrangement and keep to your fitness goals. Oh, and you don’t have to have a partner for every run! Twice or even once a week may be enough to help keep you motivated to maintain your fitness on other days. Keeping a strength training log and a nutrition log and comparing notes with each other each time you meet may also help you keep your goals in check.
Sign up for a race…and tell the world!
You read that right. Blast that ish ALL OVER social media! Seriously though, signing up for a race can help keep you accountable for meeting your fitness goals and getting in your daily exercise. If you paid $25-40 for a 5k or even upwards of $100 (maybe me…sheesh!) for a half marathon, you are probably going to make sure your money doesn’t go to waste by you not being able to run the race. And be smart about when the race is. There’s no point in using a race that is 8 or more months away to accomplish this because that’s not close enough in time to light the fire under you or keep it lit. Choose a race or event that is far enough away to properly train for it but also close enough for you to be thinking about it almost daily. THEN, when you have signed up for such a race, announce it to family, friends, and even on your social media accounts. When you do this, again, it may help keep you going to the gym or getting outside to make sure you don’t disappoint yourself by telling everyone that you had to back out of the race due to lack of fitness (and even though it’s likely that an excuse will be made, you’ll know the truth).
Watch really motivating YouTube videos
You probably don’t see this often on lists of motivating habits, but it’s definitely on mine. When I watch running videos or documentaries on YouTube or Netflix–and I do so often–I am quite instantly inspired and motivated to get out and run the greatest workout of my life. There’s something about watching beautiful running and exercising that just makes you want to do it. I think that’s the case with watching anything done beautifully; it makes you want to try it out. So go and search for motivational running videos or documentaries or famous track and field clips or whatever is that you like to do. If watching a clip really works for you, then perhaps it can be a daily habit that you can do during lunch. Use that inspiration and allow the beautiful imagery and scenery that your watching on the screen to become your reality.
These are a few of my favorite video clips to watch and I’m re-inspired each time. What’s great is that they each speak to me in a different way: Nick Symmonds’ 800m clip speaks to my love of track; the Tarawera Ultra speaks to my love of long distance and ultra running; and the first one of just running speaks to my absolute love of running in the general sense.
Are there any habits that you’ve formed that you found works for you or your partner? How do you stay motivated to keep to your fitness goals?