How to run even when you don’t want to
The 45th annual Sound to Narrows is coming up June 10. Register today.
Feel like your running shoes haven’t dried out since last October? You’re not imagining it. It was the wettest October-April on record. And somehow May, despite some sun breaks, seems to be bringing the rain too.
Rain can dampen even the most motivated runner’s spirits. And rain or sun, there are just some days you dread lacing up.
First of all, it’s completely normal. Even elite and professional runners aren’t fired up to run every day. And the first mile of every run usually feels like hard work. Motivated yet?
Luckily, there are ways to shake up the monotony and make getting out the door less of a chore and more of a treat.
Just run one mile
You’re tired, you're hungry, it’s raining … so pick a distance or time that seems easy and tell yourself you only have to go that far. When you hit your goal, if you still feel like bagging it, you can. Chances are, your funk will have lifted and you’ll continue on.
Bonus: This is also great mental training for race day. When things get hard, break it up into smaller goals by telling yourself you only have to run to the next light pole or mailbox. Then when you reach it, set another small goal.
Phone a friend
Have days that are always especially hard to get out the door for? Set up accountability and company by inviting a friend.
Fartlek means speed play, and there are infinite ways to implement it into your training. Here are a few ideas for every level. If you’re a beginner feel free to incorporate walking into the “off” segment. And always warm up and cool down 1–3 miles dependent on level.
Mailbox run: Pick up the pace between every other mailbox (or house, street sign, streetlight, etc.). Mix it up by choosing a random number of mailboxes to go hard or easy.
3, 2, 1: Run goal race pace for 3:00, 2:00 and 1:00 with half-time rest. Start with 1 or 2 sets. If you don’t run with a pace watch, just run fast but comfortable for the “on” minutes.
Lead from behind: For this Fartlek you’ll need a group; 4–10 works best. You’ll run single file and the last person in line will speed up to pass the group and become the leader, then the new last person runs to the front, and so on and so on for the allotted time or reps you want.
Pump up the jams
Make a new playlist and save it for a day you’re really dragging your feet. To make music even more potent, don’t run with it every day. Use it on the days you really need extra motivation to go. The benefits of listening to music are real, and study after study has shown that music reduces perceived effort, increases speed and might even help you recover faster.
Podcasts and books on tape are another great way to take your mind off a run you’re not excited for. Plus, you learn something new. It’s a win-win.
Wear your power suit
Have you heard of “enclothed cognition”? Basically it explains that what you wear affects how you think — similar to how a power pose can increase confidence and decrease stress.
If you have a run you’re dreading or a big workout you’re anxious about, save your favorite running apparel for that day. Maybe it’s a shirt from a race you’re proud of, or shorts that make you feel powerful. It’s not superficial to invest in a few apparel pieces that make you feel your best and look forward to running.
Get a shoe warmer
This is just practical. People in the snowy parts of the country invest in YakTrax, so why should we shy away from getting a shoe dryer? No one is motivated by putting on wet stinky shoes day after day, and for just $30 you can have warm dry running shoes instead. Three words: treat yo self.
About The Author
Sarah Robinson is a runner, mom, brand storyteller and writer living and training in Tacoma. She has been running and racing for over 20 years and was a 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon with a PR of 2:42:36. She has raced and won Sound to Narrows once, and remembers it as one of the toughest (and most fun) courses she’s raced.More stories by this author